Symantec Corp. today unveiled two products positioned to push server virtualization further up the stack in the data center into the enterprise by providing high availability for applications such as Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft Exchange and SQL.
In a joint partnership with VMware Inc., Symantec launched ApplicationHA for high availability in virtual environments, and VirtualStore, a software-based network-attached storage (NAS) product that aims to help customers quickly provision servers and virtual desktops. Both applications can be managed through VMware vCenter Server.
Server virtualization is widely adopted for most non-critical applications such as file, print and Web Servers, but the technology still has its adoption challenges for business-critical applications primarily because customers want better assurance of virtualization high availability and improved ways to manage virtual sprawl.
"The low-hanging fruit is saturated," said Niraj Zaveri, a senior manager for Symantec's storage and high availability group. "File, print and Web servers typically don't have SLAs [service-level agreements] attached to them, so they are heavily virtualized."
Symantec and VMware haven't always had a cozy relationship. The vendors have battled over VMware's addition of storage features and VMware's file systems. But there is clearly a thaw in that relationship with today's releases.
Zaveri said customers "are really scared about the tradeoff of virtualization without absolute high availability. VMware actively recognizes this is a challenge. But it's the last mile, and they needed us and we needed them to solve it."
According to an October 2009 IDC study, 51% of respondents said ensuring application availability was a key challenge in managing virtualized servers. This has been mainly due to the lack of high-availability solutions to protect the application inside the VMware virtual machine.
Symantec ApplicationHA automates data recovery and application high availability by providing visibility, control and integration with vCenter and VMware HA. It also monitors applications' health status and detects failures in the virtual machine, restarts failed application and coordinates with VMware HA to restart the virtual machine. ApplicationHA is built on Symantec Corp. Veritas Cluster Server technology, and can be managed through vCenter. It supports Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange, IIS, Oracle and SAP, and is with VMware's vMotion and Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS).
Symantec ApplicationHA will be available in September with a list price of $350 per virtual machine.
VirtualStore targets provisioning, boot storms
VirtualStore is based on Veritas Storage Foundation technology, and can help companies scale their server and storage independently. File performance scales linearly with each VirtualStore head. Symantec claims its page caching eliminates boot storms created when many users boot up virtual machines simultaneously.
Daniel Lamorena, senior manager for Symantec's storage and high-availability group, said the product is a virtual storage layer for virtual environments, designed especially for VMware and virtual desktops.
"We target two environments," he said. "One is the VMware server environment for large enterprises and two the emerging desktop. The product has capabilities for both."
Lamorena said Symantec plans to eventually add data deduplication capabilities and end-point security to VirtualStore.