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VERITAS Continues Linux Push

Rolling Out the Product Line

  • March 1, 2004
  • By Dee-Ann LeBlanc

At the January LinuxWorld Expo 2004, VERITAS made a number of announcements that demonstrate this company's commitment to the Linux space, and the new products have kept coming steadily since then.

One of the major changes is that, while before, VERITAS Linux solutions were only available for Red Hat Linux, support for SUSE has also been added for its core Linux product line--except for NetBackup, which has supported SUSE and Red Hat since v4.5 in April 2002.

When asked whether the initial decision to make this happen was made before or after Novell's initial mentions of potentially purchasing SUSE, Ranajit Nevatia (VERITAS director of Linux Strategy) pointed out that this move actually began two years ago and took this long to implement´┐Żwith the Novell and SUSE news coming merely at an opportune time, perhaps reinforcing the wisdom of this strategy.

Along with expanded Linux distribution support, VERITAS has added enterprise-strength functionality that was missing from their previous Linux offerings. According to Nevatia, a full set of enterprise storage features falls into three major categories: data protection (backup, recovery, and high availability of data in particular), high availability in the broader sense (clustering for failover and better server utilization), and storage management (storage virtualization, filesystems, and volume management). Without support for these three classes, says Nevatia, most enterprise institutions will hesitate to migrate their data fully toward a particular platform. Under the VERITAS banner, at the very least, Linux is now covered.

New additions to the VERITAS line of Linux products include SUSE Linux versions of the VERITAS Foundation Suite, the VERITAS Cluster Server, and VERITAS OpForce. The Foundation Suite is a combination of the VERITAS Volume Manager (VM) and the VERITAS File System. With the VM in place, you can use a single server and interface to handle disparate storage locations across a heterogeneous network, allowing you to spread data amongst machines regardless of what they are running. Alongside it in the Foundation Suite, the File System offers journaling to minimize downtime after a system crash, along with the ability to resize components on the fly and make backup snapshots.

In addition to adding SUSE support, VERITAS OpForce further extends server and blade provisioning tools into the Linux space with its latest update. VERITAS OpForce 3.2 can now be integrated with both SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3. In addition to these new capabilities, OpForce has also added the ability to provision Intel 64-bit Itanium servers; the ability to find machines capable of PXE boot and netboot, and then use a set of customized rules to provision and pool resources on the fly; rules for associating particular blade server chassis with particular installation images; and even more automated provisioning features. Those who spend a lot of time in installation and setup or need to ready similar machines on the fly will love this point and click shortcut approach.

The other major update is the VERITAS Cluster Server. This product's main addition, aside from the expanded operating system support, is the ability to cluster VMware instances. When asked why someone might want to cluster VMware, Nevatia explained that VMware is used in the server room as well as on desktops. On desktops, it is typically used for running multiple operating system instances for technical support, or by technical writers needing screenshots of otherwise difficult to access areas, such as the BIOS. In the server room, on the other hand, VMware might be used to run applications in a sandboxed environment so that someone who hacks into them is trapped within that VM without being able to attack the rest of the programs and logins on the main server. Also, a popular use of VMware in the server room is when you might need to run a suite of applications on different operating systems, but conveniently on the same hardware at the same time.

Another interesting use of VMware technology is to take advantage of traditionally slow times on powerful servers. You can launch a VM to run an entirely different program and operating system if necessary, and then close it before the peak time approaches.

Finally, VMware is often used for server consolidation, which can be risky if administrators need to consolidate down to several or a single server. Clustering VMware allows for adding failover capabilities to your virtual machines, immediately swapping over to a different VM instance when one dies. It's also useful for planned downtime for management purposes, and moving VMs from one physical machine to another.

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