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Veritas tackles concurrent file sharing for the SAN

Customers can have as much storage as they'd like nowadays, but manageable storage? Therein lies the problem.

The increasing complexity of managing storage area networks (SANs) has driven the development of new software applications that offer aggregation of storage into virtualized storage pools, all of which is handled through one centralized point of management. The latest offering from Veritas Software Corp., Mountain View, Calif., is designed to accomplish just that - and then some.

The Veritas SANPoint Foundation Suite HA solution allows shared data access between servers across a SAN by combining the features of a trio of Veritas' existing products: the Veritas File System, Veritas Volume Manager, and the Veritas Cluster Server to support data sharing in a SAN environment. The end result allows multiple servers to access shared storage and files, transparently to the applications and concurrently with each other.

"Essentially the SANpoint Foundation Suite is a stack of three Veritas technologies," said Robert Soderbery, senior director of product management for Veritas. "You need to access the storage, but you also need to make sure there are no conflicts to that access. We're putting the complexity in the software to simplify the end-user's life."

Using SANPoint Foundation Suite HA, multiple servers can mount and access the same file system on shared media without having to make modifications to existing applications. The solution controls access to the file system structure using the global lock manager and also manages cache coherence and locking, so that systems accessing shared file systems always see the same information.

The Foundation Suite also boasts the application-level failover capabilities of Veritas Cluster Server, which reduces failover time is because another server needs only to restart the failed server's application and does not need to export and mount file systems and logical volumes. It tackles management of the shared data, with cluster-wide logical device naming and volume and file system operations. In the event of a server failure, applications can redistribute load by reassigning network addresses.

The Foundation Suite supports Solaris 8 and Sun: E220/250, E420/450, E3x00, E4x00, E5x00, and E6x00 platforms.

Pricing for the Veritas Foundation Suite HA starts at $15,300 per node and ranges higher depending on the chosen configuration.

"The whole point here is to aggregate storage so that there is a central point that lets lots of users access the same data without having to go over the LAN," said Mike Karp, director of storage management for the Boston-based Hurwitz Group.

Karp said that some of the least obvious benefits of the Veritas product are some of the most important. He said that the Foundation Suite could contribute to storage management with real time monitoring, making asset management a simple task. "You don't need to walk over to the device to find out system information," he said.

Similar management solutions are beginning to appear in the storage space, the most notable of which, according to Karp, is IBM's upcoming suite of storage virtualization software and policy-based management tools called Storage Tank.

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

Veritas Software Corp.

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