Storage ISVs, IHVs Ready Apps For Windows Server 2003

Among those features are Virtual Disk Service (VDS), which gives Windows its first native LUN masking capability; Volume ShadowCopy Service (VSS), which allows point-in-time copy capabilities to be integrated between the operating system and applications; volume monitoring, which keeps Windows from grabbing all the disks in a SAN; Multi-path I/O (MPIO), which allows failover and load balancing for 32 data paths; and, due out this coming June, native iSCSI drivers.

Some vendors were actually ahead of the game. Both Veritas Software and CommVault Systems certified some of their storage management applications to be ready for Thursday's Windows Server 2003 launch.

Veritas' Backup Exec and Net Backup applications already is certified for use with the new OS, said Marty Ward, director of product marketing for the software vendor.

Other Veritas applications, including storage management, replication and disaster recovery applications, are in a program the vendor is offering to early adopters, which Ward described as customers looking to implement the new operating system this year. "We will help them test their implementations," he said. "They can sign up for early availability of Veritas' software."

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CommVault's QiNetix software, which includes Galaxy--its Windows-centric enterprise data and storage management solution for heterogeneous environments--is also certified for Windows Server 2003, CommVault officials said.

Certification for other storage management applications is on the horizon.

A new version of Legato Systems' NetWorker software was recently introduced. The next version, which includes the Windows Server 2003 certification, is planned in late second quarter or early third quarter, said Derek Sanders, vice president of the company's Microsoft Business Unit.

The company plans to make Windows Server 2003 versions of its AlphaStor, DiskXtender, RepliStor, Co-StandbyServer AAdvanced, EmailXtender and ApplicationXtender product suites later this year, Sanders said.

IBM Tivoli, which in April unveiled the latest version of its Tivoli Storage Manager, plans to release a new version with support for the new Windows OS in June, said Paul Ellis, program director for Tivoli Storage.

The company also plans to introduce a new version of its Tivoli Storage Resource Manager in November with Windows Server 2003 support, Ellis said.

Ellis said that the fact that third-party software vendors such as his do not have Windows Server 2003-certified software available at this point is not a problem. "June is just around the corner," he said. "By the time customers start migrating to the new operating system, we'll be there."

While the new storage features in Windows Server 2003 are often already implemented in hardware and software applications from third-party vendors, those vendors said they welcome the features in the new OS as they can use related APIs from Microsoft to build their own value-add.

Mike O'Neill, senior director of strategic alliances for Network Appliance, said the new operating system will mean enhanced reliability and performance for storage in Windows environments.

"Our value-add continues to lie in our enhanced data management products," O'Neill said. "One thing Microsoft added is enhanced DFS (Distributed File System) support. We use DFS. But on top of that, we add VFM (Virtual File Manager), which provides automation and more meaningful views of the storage environment."

Veritas' Ward said that the new storage APIs makes it easier for vendors to do their job.

"It standardizes storage services for ISVs like us," Ward said. "For example, VSS provides a common vehicle between copy services and our backup appliances. That services allows snapshot service providers like us to provide snapshot capabilities to partners like ASPs."