Article

Veritas moves virtualization into the fabric for SAN and NAS appliances

Kevin Komiega

Veritas Software Corp., Mountain View, Calif., launched the latest addition to its storage management arsenal called ServPoint Appliance software for SAN and NAS.

A three-way split

Deciding where virtualization best fits in a storage network has sparked a running debate among vendors and analysts in the industry.

Even though the definition of storage virtualization is just now taking shape, there are products on the market that represent all three approaches to virtualization. Different vendors are pushing products that achieve virtualization through software, hardware and as an appliance in the storage fabric.

"One of the original tenets of virtualization was that it is supposed to make managing storage easier, but it turns out that there are more benefits like better asset utilization," said Augie Gonzalez, director of product marketing for DataCore Software Inc. DataCore?s SANsymphony is an example of software-based virtualization

He said virtualized storage can serve more users; requires less people for management;

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achieves better disk utilization; and eliminates downtime caused by upgrades, adding systems or other planned procedures.

SANsymphony resides in the network and not in the storage or the host.

SANsymphony lets users mix and match storage devices into a network storage pool. Open systems application servers running Windows, Unix, NetWare and Linux are allocated virtual volumes from the pool on demand, without the hardware reconfiguration and rebooting.

Arun Taneja, senior analyst for Milford, Mass-based analyst firm the Enterprise Storage Group, sees this as the best way to implement virtualization.

"In my opinion, it should definitely be implemented in the "cloud", i.e. the network," he said.

This approach, according to Taneja, is what has brought on vendors like DataCore, StorageApps (now HP), FalconStor and many others.

Ottawa-based StorageQuest Inc., designed a storage appliance that sits between a server platform and the storage devices called Multiservices Storage Manager. A product that the company's chief technology officer, Rob Oakley, calls an "interoperability box."

"If you really want to virtualize you need to do it outside of the [array]. You need to be an appliance," said Oakley.

While the industry is heralding virtualization as beneficial for any size storage network, the real value, according to Gonzalez, is in the large enterprise storage environments.

Compaq's StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array and XIOtech's Magnitude SAN are examples of virtualization inside the storage array.

Kevin Komiega

This article originally appeared on Nov. 20, 2001

The company said ServPoint software transforms Sun servers and Sun or third party storage into dedicated storage appliances for UNIX and Windows/NT clients.

Roland Schmidt, senior director of product management for Veritas said ServPoint is built on top of the Veritas Volume Manager and takes industry standard components and turns them into a storage appliance to provide shared file serving or shared disk capabilities.

ServPoint also consolidates backup operations across multiple storage appliances.

This represents a new tack toward storage virtualization for Veritas by utilizing an in-band, or in-the-network, approach. Storage appliances provide a dedicated solution for provisioning, managing and serving storage throughout the network.

Randy Kerns, partner and analyst for the Evaluator Group Inc., Boulder, Colo., said companies like FalconStor Software Inc., and DataCore Software Inc., take a similar approach to Veritas.

But the company is not abandoning host-based virtualization. Veritas has plans to run the virtual gamut by providing virtualization in software, hardware and in an appliance on the network.

"Vendors who try to convince you that any one way to do virtualization is better are doing a disservice," said Kerns. "One size does not fit all."

Kerns said the way you tackle virtualization is dependent upon your infrastructure and storage requirements. He said Veritas recognizes this and is hedging its bets by covering the entire spectrum.

Kerns said ServPoint NAS software is similar to Microsoft's Server Appliance Kit, which enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to create server appliance products based on the Microsoft Windows operating system..

ServPoint software is available now in pre-integrated or software-only versions. ServPoint NAS, which serves storage at the file level, beings at $3000. ServPoint SAN serves block-level storage and starts at $25,000.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

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