If we haven't mentioned Linux very often in this column, it's because not much was happening there in relationship to storage. Although a Linux server could always be attached to a variety of storage devices, the Linux platform was not keeping pace with the frequent announcements of new management software for Unix or Windows.
Well, that's changing. A sudden paso double from Veritas Software Corp. has added support for Linux -- namely, Red Hat Inc. Advanced Server -- to its multiplatform Cluster Server software. For customers, this means being able to create resilient Linux clusters based on Intel machines and to control multiple clusters, regardless of their OS, from the same management console.
Interestingly, this announcement, made last month by Veritas, also brings to Linux Veritas' ServPoint NAS software, which essentially lets anyone create their own NAS appliance. Cluster Server and ServPoint NAS complement Veritas' backup and file/volume management software that were already offered for Linux.
Installing ServPoint NAS on a Linux server, you can create your own custom file-serving appliance for Linux, Unix, and Windows, using whatever mix of storage devices is available and supported. In addition, the software can handle clusters and planned snapshots. Does this bring to mind solutions from EMC Corp. and Network Appliance Inc.?
The announcement is obviously good news for the increasing number of companies that value the low cost/performance ratio of Linux. And it's a reassuring nod to the open-source community, which can mark another significant step toward enterprise acceptance.
Of course, the announcement may not be such good news for startup PolyServe Inc. Already in the picture with its Matrix Server, a cluster file system product that runs on Linux, the company now has a heavy-hitting competitor to sell against.
Considering the general agreement among analysts and industry leaders that Linux servers will continue to sell like hot cakes for the foreseeable future, it would be easy to conclude that Veritas is jumping on future revenue opportunities, given that the Unix and Windows platforms don't look so promising.
Veritas is also considering nothing less than porting its management software to the mainframe, at least for Linux clusters on xSeries, and with the cooperation of IBM Corp. Furthermore, the company is in partnership with other big names such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Computer Corp., and Intel Corp., and it plans to support Oracle Corp.'s 9i Real Application Cluster by next year.
So where does all this bring us? If -- and we should probably say when -- Linux becomes the OS du jour, Veritas software will be in an excellent position to become the de facto, cross-platform storage management standard. And we know from experience that whoever owns the de facto standard solution dominates the market.