Symantec merges storage management with Xen virtualization

Symantec's Veritas Virtual Infrastructure lets administrators manage both server and storage virtualization through one Web-based console

Symantec is updating its line of backup products and releasing a virtualization package combining the vendor's own storage management software with Citrix's Xen hypervisor.    

Symantec's Veritas Virtual Infrastructure integrates the vendor's storage management with Citrix XenServer, letting administrators manage both server and storage virtualization through a single Web-based console, Symantec officials say.

Virtualization of servers and storage are complementary technologies but can sometimes be difficult for IT shops to coordinate, the vendor says. (Compare storage products.)  

Symantec is announcing the new virtualization tool on Tuesday in conjunction with the Symantec Vision 2008 conference.

"Server virtualization makes storage management more complex and in many cases does not support capabilities available today in physical environments," Symantec states in a press release. "Current x86 virtualization solutions have tried to solve this problem using a file system-based approach, but this architecture forces users to give up many of the advanced storage management capabilities they rely on today."

It can be difficult to manage the storage available to virtual machines when administrators lack failover capabilities and mirroring of application data across separate storage arrays, says Sean Derrington, Symantec's senior director of storage management.

"There are a number of core capabilities that most organizations take for granted in the physical world," but aren't able to do with virtual servers, he says.

Features of Veritas Virtual Infrastructure include direct control of block storage from guest virtual servers, sharing of boot images across multiple virtual servers to reduce storage costs, and load-balancing capabilities.

Rather than build its own server virtualization software, Symantec is relying on Citrix, which began challenging VMware with the purchase of XenSource last year. Veritas Virtual Infrastructure will be available this fall at prices starting at $4,595 for each two-socket server.

Backup updates
Symantec also described several updates to its Netbackup suite of backup software. NetBackup RealTime was updated with a continuous data protection feature which helps recover from failure by recording data at all times.

RealTime is best suited for mission-critical applications in which loss of data or downtime cannot be tolerated, says Marty Ward, marketing director for Symantec's data protection product group. The idea is to record data as it changes in real time, and save those images for a few days or a couple weeks. "The good thing about recording continuously is you can recover at any second of time," Ward says.

Symantec also added what it calls Granular Recovery Technology to NetBackup, allowing "quick recovery of an entire system of individual files, e-mails, documents and virtual machines from single-pass image backups of Microsoft Windows, Exchange, SharePoint and VMware servers."

NetBackup pricing starts at $3,995 for five servers.

This story, "Symantec merges storage management with Xen virtualization" was originally published by Network World.