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Symantec launches SaaS-based installation compatibility software tools

Some Veritas users can now get a free SaaS tool to collect configuration data from their servers and alert them if anything is amiss before they start an installation or upgrade.

Symantec Corp. today launched two Storage as a Service (Saas) offerings that can check for possible installation problems and help customers comply with best practices for Veritas Storage Foundation (VSF) and Veritas Cluster Server (VCS).

The new SaaS programs, which are bundled under the name Veritas Operations Services, are based on Symantec's Prep Utility software. Prep Utility checks server hardware, Unix and Linux versions and patches, and other software running on a server for compatibility and alignment with best practices when installing VSF or VCS.

The Installation Assessment Service sends a script out to all servers in the customer's environment to collect configuration information and notifies the user of gaps before they start massive installation or upgrade processes. The second service, called Health Check, provides ongoing assessment of compatibility and compliance with best practices in the environment to prevent "configuration drift."

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The offerings are free to current VSF and VCS customers; other users will pay $500 per server per year. Prep Utility has been available since last summer on DVD in Windows and Linux versions, but Symantec is taking the Linux version online to better keep up with product updates.

"This will allow us to proactively update and notify customers of changes or new issues that arise with different configurations," said Sean Derrington, director of storage management at Symantec. The service can also proactively identify servers affected by any new compatibility issues in a user's environment. Customers can choose whether or not to sign on for those notifications.

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Bob Laliberte said that the operations services could solve a big problem for customers trying to use software to manage growing environments. "There's nothing worse than being in the midst of an installation or upgrade at 2 a.m. on a Saturday," he said, "and figuring out that you should've downloaded a different driver."

Such large environments are more likely to use Linux, so pushing Windows compatibility off makes sense, acording to Laliberte. "Usually the one trails the other with Storage Foundation, which is probably a legacy effect of more mission-critical applications being run on Unix and Linux," he said, but added that's rapidly changing with Windows applications like Exchange and SharePoint.

Laliberte called Symantec's offering a free tool to help manage its software a sign of the times. "In a weak economy," he said, "everyone is trying to do what they can to show value and value-add to customers and partners in the channel."

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