Veritas to port software to Cisco, Brocade switches

Veritas Software yesterday said it will put its virtualization software and storage resource management (SRM) software onto network storage switches from Cisco Systems by the end of the year and on switches from Brocade Communications Systems sometime after that.

Veritas also announced at its users conference in the US a road map for its flagship NetBackup and Backup Exec software, which it plans to expand to desktops and laptops across enterprise networks using existing file servers. The technology, which Veritas is calling Project Shadow, will be available in the second half of the year.

Porting the software to Cisco's MDS 9000 director and Brocade's Silkworm switches will give the software a more integrated and consolidated view for managing storage-area networks (SAN), according to Bob Maness, worldwide director of marketing at Veritas. But Maness added that Veritas isn't religious about where the software should reside -- on the switch or in the host server -- saying that decision is up to the user.

"It's difficult for us to project what the market acceptance will look like," Maness said.

Today, Veritas' virtualization or disk-pooling software, Volume Manager, and its SRM software for monitoring and reporting on SANs, resides on the server, where it can still work across multivendor storage arrays. Analysts have criticized putting virtualization software on the server because it eats up CPU cycles. But Maness said Veritas' software takes up only 2 percent to 4 percent of a CPU's cycles.

John Webster, an analyst at Data Mobility Group, said putting the software on the switch will ultimately remove barriers to data movement between servers and arrays.

Some users at the conference wondered why they would need virtualization in the first place, preferring instead to manage applications specific to certain storage arrays. "I just don't know what it would buy me," said one systems administrator at a large brokerage firm who asked not to be identified.

Tim Rabbit, a specialist infrastructure systems analyst for the South Florida Water Management District, said virtualization in the network would help him more centrally manage his 17TB SAN and give him freedom to choose the disk behind it based on price and not brand.

"It removes a layer of management," he said.

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