Symantec aims to connect islands of storage

New versions of Symantec Corp.’s Veritas Storage Foundation and Veritas Cluster Server, released Tuesday, aim to cut the cost and labour of data storage management, the company said.

The enhancements, overall, are designed to improve data centre storage utilization and counter the mounting cost of storage by reducing the expense of managing it, said Steve Wilkins, senior manager product marketing with Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec.

The enhancements are also aimed at helping an organization perform potential recovery or e-discovery. “Enabling IT organizations to use a single software solution to manage their storage infrastructure and recover applications in the event of a local failure or disaster can significantly reduce both capital and operational costs,” said Aaron Aubrecht, senior director of product management with Symantec.

Wilkins said version 5.1’s support for the new Windows Server 2008 reflects the fact that an organization’s mission critical applications are increasingly being run on the Windows Server platform.

Storage Foundation for Windows allows data centre admins to manage “the islands of storage” across a variety of vendors, given the heterogeneity of most data centres. “We are trying provide a standard set of tools” so admins aren’t restricted to working only on those familiar products, said Wilkins.

Server Foundation High Availability integrates the Veritas Cluster Server, protecting the application as well as the data across local, metropolitan and wide-area distances, be it for a cross-country or globally-based organization. In the event of a fault, said Wilkins, the application is moved to another available server, physical or virtual.

“As far as the user is concerned, the application just keeps running,” he said.

Besides support for Windows Server 2008, version 5.1 also extends support to the Vista client, Exchange 2007 Service Pack 1, SharePoint Portal Server 2007, Blackberry Enterprise Server, as well as compatibility with new storage arrays from third-party vendors.

Among the feature enhancements, Wilkins said the most significant to the user is probably SmartMove, which “dramatically reduces the time it takes to bring the new array online.” The feature speeds up the process of moving a volume of data from one storage array to another, or when replacing an old array with a newer one, by copying only those relevant data blocks, and not the “white space.”

Other feature enhancements include the ability to recover individual mailboxes or individual items by taking a snapshot of Exchange data to an Exchange Recovery Storage Group “offline without needed to restore the entire environment,” said Wilkins.

Storage Foundation for Windows also provides support for the “high-end stuff” in the data centre – given Windows increasing push into mission critical applications – like for EMC SRDF/STAR, used for multi-site disaster recovery.

To improve performance, enhancements have been made to the multi-threading capabilities in Veritas Volume Replicator.

The new Fire Drill feature was included to reflect the attention given to disaster recovery and the fact that complex data centres make disaster recovery testing tricky, said Wilkins. He added that organizations test their disaster recovery processes infrequently, if at all. Fire Drill allows admins to take a snapshot of the environment, anytime configuration is changed, without affecting the actual application, and therefore admins “don’t need to wait for a holiday weekend,” said Wilkins.

From ComputerWorld Canada

Test for the worst

The secure volume shred capability has been enhanced with three-pass and seven-pass erasure for added security against decoding the data, as part of the existing arsenal that allows admins to create, grow and shrink data volumes while applications are running. “That puts us in line with the latest security demands from the Department of Defence, for example.”

Admins will also benefit from the enhanced user experience, said Wilkins that aim to “remove the complexity that these guys are facing with many different vendors and all kinds of different technologies.” For instance, the Configuration Checker allows admins to eliminate errors at the outset with an automatic pre and post installation compatibility comparison.

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