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Symantec Adds Thin Provisioning Storage Options

With surveys showing that less than 25 percent of storage in data centers actually has data written to it, there's a lot of capacity sitting idle and unused. That fact helps to explain the appeal of thin provisioning, the tactic of allocating smaller chunks of storage to applications and increasing that amount only when more is needed.

Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) is adding new thin provisioning capabilities to its Veritas Storage Foundation storage management software to make it more "thin-aware" and easier to do online migration of storage capacity in a thin environment.

The company's cross-platform Veritas File System permits storage to be allocated on an as-needed basis and its new SmartMove capability can automate and reclaim storage as applications are migrated into a thin environment. It includes a thin reclamation API to permit communications with storage arrays so the management software knows what has been deleted over time and what capacity is available for reuse, according to Sean Derrington, director of storage management and high-availability management at Symantec. The enhanced file system "is a way for customers to maximize their storage. You can get thin and stay thin," he said.

The new software is hardware independent and will work with Windows, Unix, and Linux. Veritas Storage Foundation runs around $695 per CPU.

Storage vendor 3PAR Inc. , which introduced thin arrays in 2003, worked with Symantec on the thin provisioning technology. "The key development is the fact that freeing up capacity is done by the file system and array together," said Craig Nunes, vice president of marketing for 3PAR. "Now, thanks to the Thin API and SmartMove the file system knows that storage that looks like it is full is in fact empty."

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