The last mile can be the longest on the path towards virtualizing the data center. Strewn with storage provisioning problems, I/O bottlenecks and a leap of faith when it comes to application availability, the virtualization process often stops short of business critical applications.
In an effort to solve those problems by protecting against application failures and optimizing storage in virtual machine (VM) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments, Symantec’s (NASDAQ: SYMC) engineers have teamed up with VMware (NYSE: VMW) to develop two new products – Symantec ApplicationHA and Symantec VirtualStore.
Symantec ApplicationHA, which is based on Symantec’s Veritas Cluster Server technology, offers high availability (HA) for business critical applications by providing visibility, control and integration with VMware vCenter Server and VMware HA, according to Niraj Zaveri, senior manager in Symantec’s Storage and Availability Management Group.
Symantec ApplicationHA leverages VMware HA’s APIs to peer into VMware environments. Symantec ApplicationHA and VMware HA together protect against application failures, VM and physical host failures.
The low-hanging fruit has been the target of the first wave of data center virtualization projects as users have been consolidating file and print servers and the like. But, as they start to move critical applications like SAP and MS SQL Server databases to virtual platforms, they are beginning to realize they need high availability of the applications inside VMware VMs.
“Today’s VMs lack application awareness. If an application fails or hangs, it’s not known until someone who uses that application calls and complains,” said Zaveri. “Administrators worry about keeping VMs up and running when they should really worry about keeping applications up and running.”
Zaveri said ApplicationHA monitors applications’ health status and detects VM failures, restarts failed applications and coordinates with VMware HA to restart a VM, if necessary.
Symantec ApplicationHA can be managed through VMware vCenter Server and supports a range of applications including MS SQL Server, Exchange, IIS, Oracle and SAP. It functions across both Windows and Linux operating systems and is compatible with VMware vMotion and VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS).
Symantec ApplicationHA is scheduled to be available worldwide in September with a list price of $350 per VM.
VirtualStore is a software-based clustered NAS system for VMware VMs built on Symantec’s Veritas Storage Foundation Cluster File System.
According to Dan Lamorena, senior manager of product marketing, Symantec, VirtualStore scales servers and storage independently, efficiently provisions virtual machines, and delivers storage optimization capabilities for VMware environments.
The VirtualStore NAS cluster runs on Solaris, Solaris x86 or RHEL 5 and scales linearly with each additional VirtualStore head (server). The system also includes snapshots and, like ApplicationHA, is centrally managed through vCenter.
Lamorena said VirtualStore also include cache optimization technology that allows more VMs to be packed into a single NAS head to improve boot times.
VirtualStore can scale to 32 nodes, but Lamorena said most customers initially deploy two-to-four nodes.
He claims that VirtualStore can cut the cost of VDI deployments down to about $60 per desktop. Pricing information has yet to be disclosed, but VirtualStore is planned to be available in the fourth quarter of 2010 with a per server pricing model.
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