Veritas Re-Lays 'Foundation'

Software company refines the basics, adding some intriguing features

February 24, 2004

3 Min Read
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Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) is pushing a new version of its storage management and virtualization series, one that puts Veritas in closer competition with at least one big SAN vendor (see Veritas Intros Storage Foundation).

Dubbed Veritas Storage Foundation 4.0, Veritas's new release is a rebranded version of the vendor's Foundation Suite storage networking application software. Included are several new features, such as simplified ways to move storage applications and data from one operating system to another; the ability to set up automatic transfers of files from expensive to inexpensive arrays as they age or meet other conditions; and so-called provisioning templates for speeding up the assignment of storage volumes in big networks.

Veritas is also polishing up some existing features. One of these is called Dynamic Multi-Pathing (DMP), which lets customers use the extra I/O paths on storage controllers that are typically used only for failover to load-balance SAN traffic.

Customers get a choice of algorithms to achieve the load balancing: For instance, according to Jose Iglesias, VP of product management at Veritas, ADMP effectively "fools" storage controllers from the likes of EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) into using their alternate or second I/O paths to servers on a regular basis instead of just during failover. Iglesias says Veritas has achieved a 30 percent performance improvement in lab tests with the new DMP.

This isn't a new capability; Veritas has offered DMP for a while and appears to be taking this chance to tout it again. Meantime, EMC also offers a product called PowerPath that performs load-balancing on Clariion and Symmetrix gear.Given that EMC has a competing product, will it continue to support its controllers equipped with Veritas software? An EMC spokesman says it shouldn't be a problem. In the past, when it's come to other software products, EMC has typically supported equipment running third-party software, he maintains.

Ditto IBM. But a spokeswoman there is careful to say any certifications Veritas has obtained from IBM in the past for interoperability will have to be redone to reflect tweaks or upgrades.

Competing with the hardware players its software supports is nothing new for Veritas. "Veritas and EMC very much live in the same account space," says analyst Bill North of IDC. "They live in what might be called a state of dtente."

Load balancing and performance improvement in SANs has become a hot button among suppliers, one that's become the focus of a lot of publicity. Besides its DMP, Veritas is working on porting its load-balancing capabilities to work inside Fibre Channel switches, mimicking similar undertakings by EMC and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (see V-Switch Alliances Take Shape).

Veritas has ported its software to Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) MDS 9000, though the market remains a question (see Veritas Finally Delivers on Cisco). A port to switches from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) could follow later this year or early next, Veritas's Iglesias says.Veritas could use a boost. Its latest earnings report (see Veritas Sees No Problem) disppointed some analysts, who felt it showed a lag in new software license revenues (see Storage Returns a Mixed Bag).

— Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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