Symantec Envisions Dominance

Hodge-podge of resource management products aimed at heading off systems vendors

May 11, 2006

4 Min Read
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Storage product news at Symantec's Vision user conference this week was mostly about rebranding and repositioning, though Symantec claims it's ahead of competitors in management tools.

Symantec/Veritas launched Data Center Foundation, which is more a packaging project than a product. (See Symantec Intros Veritas Foundation.) Peter McKellar, group product manager of Symantec's data center management group, says Data Center Foundation is "an overall strategy of how we help customers manage their data center."

OK. So, Data Center Foundation is now the bucket that includes Veritas NetBackup, Veritas Storage Foundation, Veritas i3 application performance management, and a new suite called Symantec Server Foundation.

But even Server Foundation isn't really new. It consists of two rebranded products, Veritas Provisioning Manager (formerly Veritas OpForce) and Veritas Configuration Manager (formerly Relicore Clarity), as well as an upgraded Veritas Cluster Server.

There are two really new developments amidst all these name changes. The latest version of Cluster Server lets administrators manage Windows, Linux, and UNIX servers from one console. And there's Storage Foundation Basic, a free version of Storage Foundation that runs on systems with no more than two processors and four storage volumes.Perhaps Symantec hears footsteps from storage systems vendors looking to move deeper into device management. Prior to its merger with Symantec, Veritas positioned itself as a hardware-independent storage software company best suited for management of heterogeneous systems. But that position can be compromised if EMC, HP, and IBM offer tools to manage and virtualize devices from other vendors.

And the hardware vendors are moving in that direction. In the past year, EMC has acquired network management startup Smarts and file virtualization outfit Rainfinity, and it has launched its Invista block virtualization product. EMC also unveiled two systems resource management products at its user conference three weeks ago. (See EMC Stays Smart and EMC Smartens Its NAS.)

HP is using features of the SRM it acquired from AppIQ in both its storage and server management families. (See HP Plans HW/SW Upgrades.) IBM also acquired a network resource management company, Micromuse, and it is making headway with its SAN Volume Controller (SVC) storage virtualization appliance.

Considering these moves, it's no surprise that Symantec is rebranding its management and virtualization products.

"Veritas occupies a spot that a lot of system vendors want to be in," analyst William Hurley of Data Mobility Group says. "Veritas provides visibility across the SAN fabric, provisioning, [insight] into the host...and how that all affects storage. The system vendors are now putting those pieces together."Bradley Bishop, senior software engineer with the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), knows the challenges of managing hardware from multiple vendors. His shop has more than 600 Tbytes of data on storage from EMC, Hitachi, and Sun, and hundreds of servers running AIX, HP-UX, and Linux operating systems. Bishop, a Server Foundation beta user, says it helps him and his colleagues use a common interface to manage everything.

"IT camps are becoming one unified front, although individuals may have specialization in one sector," he says. "So while UNIX administrators use UNIX tools, Linux administrators use Linux tools, and storage managers use storage management tools, we can see everything through one pane of glass. That helps us collaborate more effectively."

If Data Center Foundation is successful, it will help Symantec achieve on the software side what it accuses hardware vendors of shooting for -- vendor lock-in.

"Replacing dozens of vendor-specific tools with a standard set will enable you to create repeatable processes," Symantec CEO John Thompson said during the Symantec Vision keynote earlier this week. "Simply put, we offer the industry's only comprehensive set of data center solutions that enable you to standardize on a common software infrastructure layer, to protect and optimize your IT environment."

Of course, no one single vendor can provide a standard -- although just about all of the big ones would like to."SMI [Storage Management Initiative] and CIM [Common Internface Model] were talked about by vendors, but seriously driven by end user interest, with up and down results," Hurley says. "We live in times now where systems agenda is upon is -- IBM, HP, EMC, Cisco, all would like you to buy as much of their stuff as possible."

Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • Data Mobility Group

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Symantec Corp.

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