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Symantec molds Veritas products into same old stuff

Security giant Symantec has repackaged and rebranded a bunch of Veritas products, but that's the extent of the "vision" at this year's conference.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Symantec Corp. issued half a dozen press releases on Tuesday announcing "new" product suites to enable standardization of data center software. Wading through the wad of paper, it quickly became clear that the new stuff was actually the same old stuff but with a different brand name, bundled under a new umbrella, with a Symantec logo slapped on it.

Symantec Data Center Foundation bundles Veritas NetBackup, Veritas Storage Foundation, Veritas Server Foundation and Veritas i3 application performance management.

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Symantec Server Foundation includes Veritas Configuration Manager (formerly Relicore Clarity), Veritas Provisioning Manager (formerly Veritas OpForce) and Veritas Cluster Server.

Storage Foundation 5.0 was the only noteworthy announcement. This suite of products and all future versions will be released simultaneously across all operating systems so that users are not managing different versions of the software across different platforms. Version 5.0 also includes Storage Foundation Management Server, a new product that centralizes the management of Unix, Linux and Windows servers from a single console.

Symantec also announced Veritas Storage Foundation Basic, a free version of Storage Foundation for system configurations that do not exceed four volumes, four file systems and two processors in a single physical system. Customers looking for support of this "free" version have to pay an annual subscription of $98 per CPU.

Analysts were underwhelmed by the news. "They've done some rationalizing of the product line, getting away from the utility of the week problem," said Rick Villars, storage systems analyst at IDC.

Another analyst, who requested not to be named, said the news was that "everything was painted yellow now," including a series of minibooks or guides to configuring Veritas products dubbed, Symantec Yellow Books. "The idea rips off IBM's 'red books' that are written more in a book style than documentation and are not tied to specific releases, so they can be updated anytime," he said. "It'll be interesting to see if they keep the name."

Earl Hartsell, senior IT analyst with Solvay Pharmaceuticals, wasn't blown off his feet by the improvements in Storage Foundation 5.0. "The folks that manage the NT systems are separate to the Unix admins that deal with storage -- so seeing across multiple operating systems doesn't do a whole lot for us," he said.

Symantec's answer? Buy two copies: one for the NT servers and another for the Unix machines. "At least you are using the same tool across both disciplines," said Sean Derrington, senior group manager, product management at Symantec.

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