Symantec calls for more unity

Symantec believes storage managers should dump point data protection and archiving products and turn to a new line of software it’s about to roll out.

Under a strategy dubbed Storage United, the firm says it will release new products and services allowing users to control storage across different arrays from one platform.

Its first offering, NetBackup 6.5, will include some of the capabilities, with new storage management and archiving wares coming this fall and early next year.

“Storage United is going to let [managers] unite their storage platform, their storage administration and unite storage with their businesses,” said Matt Fairbanks, senior director of product marketing for Symantec’s data centre marketing group.

The strategy seems to be a merging of backup-related capabilities Symantec has gained by acquiring Veritas Software.

It’s a new move by Symantec, said Lauren Whitehouse, an analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group who specializes in data protection, but others have made it first.

IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager, for example, has integrated backup and archiving for some time, she said, while CommVault has merged backup, archiving and continuous data protection. “In some respects, Symantec is just now catching up,” she said.

On the other hand, she was struck by Symantec’s promise that users of its platform will eventually be able to search for information across all stored data. The company didn’t give her a time when that capability will be available, she said.

Fairbanks said a number of hardware vendors have software that includes intelligent agents to monitor and schedule the operation of their devices. What Symantec aims to do is allow those agents to run under its software through a common interface.

Symantec, he said, doesn’t sell hardware — it has nothing to gain from the strategy. It’s hard for organizations to standardize on a storage vendor, he said, because their software offerings are limited. “It’s very difficult for a large enterprise to trust EMC to manage their HP environment, or to trust IBM to manage their NetApp environment and so forth,” he said.

Storage managers will gain through efficiencies by standardizing on one software company’s platform, he said, which will also give them more leverage with storage hardware vendors.



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