Symantec Scales Up SRM

Unveils the latest version of its CommandCentral software in attempt to map virtual maze

August 2, 2007

3 Min Read
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Symantec is the latest vendor to tout its wares as a way for users to tie server and storage virtualization together. (See Symantec Intros CommandCentral 5.0, Storage Virtualization Edges On, Virtual HBAs Hitch Servers & Storage, Virtual Iron Dangles iSCSI Savings, and XenSource Reveals Upgrade.)

The vendor unveiled the latest piece of its grandiose "Storage United" strategy on Wednesday with CommandCentral 5.0. This is a storage resource management (SRM) software package Symantec claims will boost the ability of users to control virtualized applications. (See Symantec Launches Storage United, Symantec Unveils NetBackup 6.5, and Symantec Bolsters Backup.)

The vendor has enhanced its support for VMware's server virtualization offerings and for storage virtualization products such as IBM's SanVolumeController and Tagmastore from HDS. (See How to Shop for a SAN, IBM Upgrades SVC, and HDS: Users Pick TagmaStore.) "Before, we could not tell you what resources each virtual machine was using," says Robert Soderbery, senior vice president of Symantec's data center management group.

With the software upgrade, Symantec claims that users can now see how their storage resources work with virtualized applications. Example: How many Gbytes have been allocated to a specific application and how much storage has been allocated to a specific port.

At least one analyst believes this plugs a crucial gap in users' SRM armories. "Virtualization is pretty difficult for SRM tools to see accurately -- it kind of creates a weird situation where you have multiple servers seeing the same LUN," says Andrew Reichman of Forrester Research. "It's tricky to do, so it's important that Symantec is putting energy into making it work."Symantec has also added support for 3Par's clustering technology, and it's expanded CommandCentral to cover more storage devices. (See 3Par Touts Energy Savings, 3PAR, NetApp Join Ranks, and 3Par Announces Benchmark Results.) Whereas the earlier version of the software, CommandCentral 4.3, could manage up to 1,000 devices and 2 Pbytes of storage, version 5.0 covers 3,000 devices and up to 6 Pbytes.

Another addition to CommandCentral 5.0 is a feature called Enterprise Reporter, which lets users produce customized reports on the performance of virtualized applications. This enables CIOs to track specific applications to ensure they meet service level agreements. Chargeback capabilities are also featured, according to Soderbery.

Reporting has often been seen as something of an Achilles heel for Symantec, though Forrester's Reichman believes that CommandCentral 5.0 is now ahead of rival offerings such as HP's Storage Essentials and EMC's Control Center. (See Symantec Adds Reporting, Symantec Files Backup Report, and HP Reshuffles More Software.) "EMC has historically not been so good with reporting," he said, adding that, despite some enhancements to Control Center 6.0, Symantec now has the reporting edge over its rivals. (See EMC Intros ControlCenter 6.0, EMC Tackles Control Issues, and SRM Tests Willingness to Spend.)

Symantec says that it has over a dozen early adopters using CommandCentral 5.0, although only one of these, Detroit, Mich.-based Health Alliance Plan, has been made public.

CommandCentral 5.0 is available now, priced at around $1,000 per server or storage device. Enterprise Reporter will be available within the next 60 days, although Symantec has not yet released pricing for this feature.James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Forrester Research Inc.

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • VMware Inc.

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