Symantec combines backup with open-source virtualization

Combined with Citrix's XenServer, Symantec's Veritas NetBackup software offers a single server/storage interface

Symantec's storage arm, Veritas, announced Tuesday that it has combined its online storage management software with Citrix Systems Xen Hypervisor to develop an x86 server virtualization platform. The product is expected to be available this fall, according to Aaron Aubrecht, senior director of product management and engineering for Veritas' Storage Foundation group.

Symantec also announced several upgrades to its enterprise-class backup software, NetBackup, including a block-level continuous data protection feature.

Symantec's storage/virtualized server product, Veritas Virtual Infrastructure, includes storage management capabilities from Veritas Storage Foundation with Citrix XenServer virtualization technology.

According to Aubrecht, Veritas Virtual Infrastructure preserves all of the key storage management features used today by enterprise users for their physical environments, but are not available in current file-system based virtualization approaches, including direct control of block storage from guest virtual servers, block-based mirroring across heterogeneous arrays, and storage area network multi-pathing.

Combined with Citrix XenServer, Veritas Virtual Infrastructure could reduce storage costs by using common, shared boot images across multiple virtual servers and increased storage utilization rates by allowing administrators to allocate from a single storage pool, or on an as-needed basis, Aubrecht said.

"One console can manage all virtual machines and the storage associated with the virtual machines," he said. "The integration happened at the critical layer within XenServer. We're controlling all the application I/O and the storage in the machine."

Because Citrix has Windows optimized drivers, Veritas Virtual Infrastructure can also take advantage of Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to take snapshots of applications running on a virtual machine for backup and recovery.

Symantec also announced Veritas NetBackup RealTime, which ads continuous data protection to its enterprise backup product, eliminating the need for backup windows, according to Martin Ward, director of product marketing for Symantec's Data Protection Group.

Ward said the new enhancements to NetBackup will offer an alternative to array-based snapshots and allow recovery from any point in time.

NetBackup Storage Lifecycle Policies can also automate the movement of incremental backups to longer term storage media, reducing administrative overhead, Ward said.

Eddy Navarro, a storage computer system manager for J. Craig Venter Institute, a non-profit genome research firm, said he's rolling out the new NetBackup software this week in order to perform backup from disk using snapshots.

The J. Craig Venter Institute has about 150TB of storage capacity on network-attached storage arrays from NetApp Inc. Navarro said his shop has a fairly large contingent of virtual machines but in the previous version of NetBackup he was limited on the number of snapshots he could take for backup purposes.

"It was a serial process. One at a time," he said. "We've got 100s of virtual machines [on four servers] and that delayed backups. While VMware allows multiple snapshots, NetBackup put artificial limits in there."

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