Volume 4, Number 23 -- June 21, 2007

Symantec Aims to Solve Storage Problems with New Initiative, Product

Published: June 21, 2007

by Alex Woodie

During its annual user conference in Las Vegas last week, storage management software vendor Symantec announced the creation of a new business unit, called Storage United, that will seek to find out why storage is becoming so complex and costly these days. The software giant also announced Veritas NetBackup 6.5, a new release of its popular backup software for Windows, Linux, and Unix servers that will put some of the Storage United plans into action.

Storage United is Symantec's new initiative to simplify and reduce the cost of storage. And because Symantec is a software vendor, its Storage United initiative takes a software-based approach to solving storage problems, as opposed to the approaches that SAN makers like EMC or Hitachi might espouse to solve storage problems.

And problems there are. According to Symantec, the amount of data stored by companies is doubling every two years. However, while this is happening, storage utilization rates remain at about 30 to 35 percent, which exacerbates power and cooling issues. Three root causes are responsible for these problems, Symantec says: the platform problem, the administration problem, and the business problem.

Symantec says it will solve the platform problem by supporting every major server and storage system in the data center (this is good news for IBM's System i and System z customers, who have long been shunned by cross-platform storage products, but whose storage utilization rates are better than the industry's as a whole).

The administration problem is related to the platform problem, and rears its ugly head when organizations start using multiple tools to manage separate islands of data. Symantec pledges that it will provide storage management capabilities that work across the entire data center, and Veritas NetBackup 6.5 is a good example of the efforts Symantec has made in this area. The company says it's also making a "significant internal effort" to take its products "to the next level."

Symantec's vision of storage as a service really comes into play when organizations can solve what the vendor sees as the business problems of storage. Steps organizations can take to solve the storage problem include gaining visibility across the entire storage environment, improving the storage utilization rate, creating a storage operations practice, and aligning the delivery of storage as a service to business requirements.

"Through our comprehensive, cross-platform storage software offerings, Symantec enables IT organizations to unite their disparate storage hardware environments, unite their isolated islands of storage, and unite storage operations with the business by delivering storage as a service," says Kris Hagerman, group president of the data center management group at Symantec.

The changes Symantec has made with NetBackup version 6.5 are along the same vein as the company's Storage United initiative. With this release, Symantec is seeking to turn NetBackup into a flagship product where many different backup and archiving technologies and techniques--including those from Symantec and from other vendors-- can live can live in peace and harmony, thereby simplifying the life of the computer operator or IT administrator.

Symantec has made several changes with NetBackup version 6.5, including the introduction of native disk-based backup, data de-duplication, integration with backup appliances and virtual tape libraries (VTLs), snapshot management, and a more "granular" recovery process for applications and virtual machines. The company also introduced a new licensing and pricing program for Veritas.

Symantec says these changes provide customers with an "unprecedented" level of choice and flexibility in their product decisions relating to replication, snapshots, CDP, data de-duplication, encryption, VTL, and traditional tape. By turning NetBackup into the hub for all these technologies and techniques, Symantec says users can streamline their approach to agents, policy management, recovery processes, security, backup reporting, and management of the data catalog.


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