Veritas to roll out utility computing platform

Computerworld (US online)

Integrating software from two recent acquitions into its product line, Veritas Software Corp. announced yesterday that it will be introducing a combined suite that will allow administrators to treat storage more as a utility through virtualization and automated provisioning.

Veritas made the announcement at its Vision 2003 users conference here. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said the acquisition of performance management company Precise Software Solutions Ltd., expected to close next month, will give it new performance management tools for load balancing the data flow between application servers and storage arrays.

The software works by finding the cause of performance degradation and then suggests a solution to the network administrator even before the end-user notices the slow down in service, said Jeremy Burton, Veritas’ chief marketing officer.

While Veritas has offered some provisioning of storage among disparate disk arrays through its Volume Manager and SANpoint Control products, it didn’t have that function tied into application servers, which is necessary for that function to be automated. As applications servers run out of disk space, they can automatically request more.

To that end, Veritas said it will release server and storage provisioning software that it recently acquired from startup Jareva Technologies Inc. Veritas said that along with its Volume Manager, the OpForce and Cluster Server application from Jareva will allow storage and server resources to be shared across vendor platforms, boosting utilization rates and lowering hardware costs.

For example, if a Web server is running out of CPU cycles, the software notifies the Jareva application that a new Web server is needed and it automatically provisions the machine, handing it off to Cluster Server to manage it.

Rich Guetzloff, senior director of enterprise operations at R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co. in Chicago, the nation’s second largest distributor of catalogs, magazines, books and direct mail, said he’s been talking with Veritas about his use of the new integrated suite since December because he’s wants to manage about 30 SAN islands more effectively.

The SANs, which serve about 800 application servers attached by 300 to 400 switches, comprise about 150TB of of total storage. Guetzloff said while it’s not difficult to provision storage from a single SAN, the function still requires a senior engineer to log in and use Veritas’ Volume Manager tool.

The goal, he said, is a central console for provisioning across the whole corporation. “I’m really looking at how to make it simpler so that with a day of training anyone can do this from an operating perspective,” Guetzloff said.

Several leading vendors, including Hewlett-Packard Co., Sun Microsystems Inc., EMC Corp. and IBM, are already selling or have announced plans in the past year to use provisioning technology to pool disk capacity across arrays and serve it up like a utility to application servers on an as-needed basis.

Guetzloff said what he likes so far about Veritas’ technology is that it’s more “vendor agnostic,” because the company’s software has always had to operate across industry platforms

“All the storage vendors are saying they’re vendor agnostic, but my guess is they’re developing [the applications] on their own platform first,” Guetzloff said.

Veritas also said it will be introducing by the end of the year its Service Manager product, which will define service levels and perform chargeback for internal customers.

The application, currently in beta, will allow IT it administrators to define services for business applications and then track the actual service delivered, calculating the IT expense, which is then provided to the business unit through a portal.