Symantec Enhances High-Availability Software, Offers Free Version

The application, released Tuesday, combines Symantec's Storage Foundation for Windows and Veritas Cluster Server software, and is designed for delivering data and application high availability in Windows environments.

The software includes new features under a single set of tools to increase storage availability across a wide range of arrays from different vendors, said Sean Derrington, director of storage management and continuous data protection and replication at Symantec, Cupertino, Calif.

New features include track-aligned volumes, which ensures that as data is written to storage, it's optimized for the storage device that receives it. The dynamic multipathing function uses Windows' Multipathing I/O capability for dynamic load balancing, even if a cluster node goes down. Also included are new wizards for configuring storage and clustering, flash copies and disaster-recovery testing.

"This cuts the setup time by about 50 percent by reducing the number of steps needed," Derrington said. "It masks the complexity to the user."

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Also new is the ability to clone a configuration that can be used for multiple servers. "So if a customer has 50 Exchange servers, they can set up a server once and then clone it 49 times," Derrington said. "They don't need to configure the server 50 times."

Disaster recovery has been enhanced with a function called Fire Drill. "This walks customers through a GUI-based process to ensure that a cluster can failover without bringing the application down," Derrington said. "It's non-disruptive and reduces risk."

Symantec also is releasing a free version of the software, Veritas Storage Foundation Basic for Windows, Derrington said. It has all the functionality of the full version, except that it works only on servers with one or two processor sockets and a maximum of four data volumes.

"It has all the performance, capabilities, non-disruptive operations and configuration wizards of the full software," Derrington said. "It lets customers run Storage Foundation Basic for Windows on their edge servers so they aren't concerned about the cost to deploy for servers not as important to their data center operation."

Dan Carson, vice president of marketing and business development at Open Systems Solutions, a Willow Grove, Pa.-based solution provider, said making Veritas Storage Foundation Basic for Windows free is a good move for Symantec.

"It's very different from what Symantec has done in the past," Carson said. "They usually charge a premium for everything they sell. It's interesting that they are using a loss-leader."

Solution providers can use the new software to show the value of the technology as part of a move to "up-level" their conversations with customers, Derrington said.

"Now you're talking to the CEO or CIO," he said. "Now you're in the position of talking about being the standard provider of management solutions. You can show them about tiered storage structures and how it will reduce the cost of operations in multivendor environments."