Veritas adds Win2K support to SAN manager

Storage software company Veritas announced the imminent release of the new version of its storage area network (SAN) management application as well as two storage virtualization technologies in development during last month’s SAN Vision Summit held at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Veritas’ SANPoint Control (SPC) Version 2.0 builds on last June’s initial SPC release by adding support for Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000 platforms to its existing Sun Solaris platform support.

The company also said it hopes to demonstrate a new Intelligent Provisioning Service (IPS) and a new volume manager at its users’ conference later this year in Dallas. Both products are currently in beta testing, the company said.

The IPS is designed to automate the provisioning of storage-to-storage accounts via a rules-based engine, while the new volume manager is supposed to allow SAN administrators to more flexibly provision storage at a more logical level.

Despite adding Windows support to its SPC product, Veritas failed to meet earlier reported targets to provide support for HP-UX and AIX platforms by the beginning of this year. The company now plans to provide support for Unix platforms by the end of this year.

Carolyn DiCenzo, a chief analyst of storage management software for Gartner Group in Burlingame, Calif., said SPC’s slow embrace of Unix could provide an opportunity for Hewlett Packard to capture some of the Unix market.

“There’s a nice fat window and shame on (HP) if they don’t take that,” she said.

HP, headquartered near Veritas in Palo Alto, Calif., announced its own storage management software suite in late February. The HP OpenView Storage Area Manager combines HP OpenView Storage Node Manager (formerly SAN Manager DM), HP OpenView Storage Allocater (formerly SAN Manager LM or Lun Manager), HP OpenView Storage Optimizer and HP OpenView Storage Builder.

Currently, the suite is comprised of only Windows-based software but Veritas is resigned to the possibility that HP will beat them to the market with a storage management suite that supports Unix, said Robin Purohit, director of product management, SAN and Clustering, Veritas Software.

Purohit said the delay in providing Unix support is because Veritas is still trying to “know all the nuances of how the (operating system) works.”

He added that Veritas believes Solaris is “more robust” and that even Windows 2000 operates in a more sensible way than Unix.

“The biggest business opportunities for us…are on Solaris and Windows,” Purohit said. “We had to be ruthlessly prioritizing our work.”

DiCenzo said Veritas’s SPC has also been slow to realize its potential because the company has had to help grow the infrastructure vendors’ ability to communicate.

“You can’t manage something unless it will let you,” she explained. “Most of these devices just weren’t set up with the idea that another piece of software was going to reach down into them and control things.”

DiCenzo pointed out that Veritas has expanded the range of products SPC 2.0 supports to include devices and solutions by Brocade, Inrange, QLogic, JNI, Emulex and McData. It also supports disk and tape arrays from Hitachi, EMC, Compaq, STK, ADIC, IBM and Sun Microsystems.

Despite accommodating this wide range of heterogeneous SAN environments, Veritas’ Purohit said large enterprises deploying a SAN still face installation times of days or weeks.

One of the barriers to large-scale deployments, or reducing the complexity of SANs, is the way that host bus adapter (HBA) drivers adapt to each other, he suggested.

“An all Emulex SAN, or all QLogic SAN, it can do that,” he said. But “when you start getting two or three adapters together, especially on the same server, (there) is unpredictable behaviour.”

Purohit said Veritas has told HBA vendors that they need better co-existence in their drivers, and there has been some co-operation. However, the HBA market is still channel-driven, he said, and HBA vendors usually do what the OEM asks of them.

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