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Symantec, Citrix take on VMware with block storage management product

On Monday, June 9, Symantec Corp. of Cupterino, Calif., announced the release of Veritas Virtual Infrastructure (VxVI), a server and storage virtualization product built on Citrix Systems Inc.’s XenServer technology. By exploiting Veritas’ block storage management model, VxVI hopes to compete with VMware-Infrastructure-3-in-production environments by offering increased capabilities for storage and availability-critical systems.

The new Xen-based virtual infrastructure platform from Symantec provides storage management and high availability with cross-platform connectivity for the virtual data center. It’s essentially XenServer with the Veritas storage management layer on top — all wrapped in a Symantec management console.

According to Symantec Senior Vice President of Storage and Availability Management Rob Soderbery, the time is right for a product that addresses the needs of testing and development, needs that have been underserved by VMware. “Users understand the storage management challenges with VMware,” he said. Symantec has delivered something “fundamentally new” in how server virtualization works with storage management, he noted.

The key difference between VMware and Veritas is in how each handles virtual machines (VMs). Soderbery argues that the Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) file-based system that VMware uses can’t compete with the block storage system of Veritas VxVI.

As enterprises build out the x86 data center, Symantec’s product seeks to serve those who want to bring physical capabilities into the virtual environment. Veritas Virtual Infrastructure brings dynamic storage layouts, enclosure and array mirroring and storage-area network (SAN) multipathing/load balancing to server virtualization, adding features such as shared VM boot images with which Symantec hopes to lure VMware customers that are not satisfied with the storage capabilities of the leading server virtualization platform.

Soderbery says that VxVI will work well with Microsoft’s forthcoming Xen-inspired hypervisor, Hyper-V. “Microsoft has done something pretty interesting here in being open to the Xen community and encouraging the Xen community to be open with Microsoft,” says Soderbery. “Veritas Virtual Infrastructure is technology that we can apply across the Xen ecosystem and Hyper-V as well.”

With another Xen-based virtualization product on the market engineered to be more compatible with the forthcoming Hyper-V, VMware may feel the pinch as users see more options with the other big players in the server virtualization market. But will the $4,595 per two-socket server for Veritas discourage VMware users from even running a demo?

What do you think? If you plan on deploying Veritas VxVI, we want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts via email.

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