Veritas Finally Delivers on Cisco

Pair ship their first virtualization switch, but expect virtually nobody to buy it - for now

November 25, 2003

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Fifteen months after declaring its intentions to do so, Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) today announced the shipment of its virtualization software on Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) MDS 9000 series of SAN switches.

The Veritas Storage Foundation for Network (VSFN) will run over the Cisco family of multilayer directors and fabric switches to take advantage of Cisco's so-called smart switching technology (see Veritas, Cisco Ship Switch App).

The announcement has been long anticipated, not only because of the benefits the technology will supposedly provide but also because of how long we've been waiting for it. Veritas first said it would develop virtualization software for Cisco's switches on Aug. 20, 2002 -- the same day Cisco "bought" its in-house startup, Andiamo Systems, and entered the SAN switching market (see Veritas Supports Cisco MDS 9000, Cisco Announces Andiamo Switches, Veritas Puckers Up for Cisco, Sprint Puts Cisco to Test, and Veritas Demos With Cisco).

Cisco executives, in an interview with Byte and Switch this spring, acknowledged that the process of getting the Veritas code to run on its platform was more difficult than they'd originally anticipated (see V-Switch Alliances Take Shape).

But in spite of taking so long, Cisco got the jump on other switching vendors in shipping with management software built into its switches, analysts say."This gives Cisco first-mover advantage in getting it into the market faster than its competitors," says Yankee Group senior analyst Jaime Gruener. "It raises a question about what the other storage [switch] vendors are doing."

Those other storage switch vendors include Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD), Computer Network Technology Corp. (CNT) (Nasdaq: CMNT), and McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA). Veritas plans to ship VSFN with Brocade switches, but that probably won't happen until late 2004, according to Veritas.

Cisco also has another dance partner on this front: IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) last month announced it will ship its SAN Volume Controller on Cisco switches next month. However, IBM's software runs on Cisco's Caching Service Module and doesn't take advantage of port-level processing as does Veritas's software, which runs on the Application Service Module (see IBM, Cisco Team on Storage Virtualization).

Veritas says the new software is designed to work with its Veritas SANPoint Control to help users manage multivendor storage networks. Pricing for the VSFN enterprise version starts at $1,000 per host bus adapter (HBA) and Storage Controller port.

"This was designed from the ground up with Cisco -- we're writing right on the data path," says Jose Iglesias, VP of integrated platforms at Veritas. "We took the Volume Manager from the host and brought it to the switch."But it might take another 15 months -- or longer -- before Veritas sees significant sales. Iglesias admits the product's early adopters will be select firms in the financial, telecommunications, and government sectors that are looking for leading-edge technology. Veritas has not yet announced any customers that have bought and deployed its switch-based software for the MDS.

"I'm not expecting to go out and sell oodles," Iglesias says. "I'm expecting a more measured approach to how it gets sold. It will appeal to the guys who live and die with technology."

Gruener says the new Veritas solution represents two of the best known storage vendors "testing the waters" with new technology.

"I think it's going to be significant, but down the road. You have two fairly strong vendors trying to see if customers will take advantage of this architecture."

But when -- or, indeed, whether -- this market will hit the "oodles" mark is still very much an open question.Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights