Veritas, Altiris Battle to Provision Your Server

Taking the next step in its new utility computing plan, Veritas Software
Monday introduced new server provisioning software using the
technology of one of its acquisitions from last year.

The Mountain View, Calif. company said Veritas OpForce 3.0 differs from
traditional utilities in that it makes sure resources such as servers,
switches and load balancers are applied across computer networks as they are
needed to reduce the time and costs spent to set up and use
servers in data centers.

This type of approach, dubbed utility computing in many circles, is also
being taken by HP, Computer Associates and IBM to a degree, as these companies are all aiming to lure customers with the promise of lowering total cost of
ownership and raising return-on-investment in this cost-conscious IT era.
Competition among the vendors is growing in this high stakes game to win
more business at a time when there is arguably less business to be had, and
less IT dollars being spent. To boost its own server provisioning offerings, IBM purchased Think Dynamics last month.

According to Marty Ward, director of product marketing for storage and
application performance management at Veritas, most companies needing IT
infrastructure for networks buy a big machine and let it sit there without
getting enough use to compensate for the cost of purchasing it.

Often IT administrators would configure and provision servers in data
centers to handle peak loads during certain times, but during off-peak times
these same servers are sometimes sitting idle. How big a problem has this
been to date?

Ward cited Forrester Research figures that claim server use often fails to
go higher than 20 percent. Given the fact that enterprises generally spend
hundreds of thousands, or even as much a million dollars for servers, a
twenty percent rate of use is hardly cost effective.

Ward said OpForce now lets administrators move tasks from under-utilized
servers to “hotspots,” or areas of heavy activity in the network. Moreover,
OpForce is also now integrated with the company’s Volume Manager and File
System virtualization products to allow resources to be pooled together.

Ward told Veritas, through its new utility computing
strategy, is seeking to eliminate the degradation and misuse of server
products by taking technology from its purchase
of Jareva Technologies and applying it to its OpForce line, which was
originally a storage software product. Veritas concurrently moved to acquire
performance management software company Precise Software to round out its
bid for utility computing technologies.

Specifically, OpForce 3.0 automatically determines the make up of all
resources in an IT environment. The product may then be managed locally or
remotely through a Web-based graphical user interface. The enhanced software
allows role-based administration and authentication to let IT staffs divide
the tasks of system and network management among various system
administrators. It also features the ability to let administrators
automatically back up and restore server, load balancer and network switch

Priced at $7,500 per host server and $500 per managed server, Veritas
OpForce 3.0 supports Solaris, IBM AIX, Red Hat Linux and Windows, and will
be available July 7.

Though hardly new, server provisioning is gaining in popularity. Altiris Monday unveiled a Server Provisioning Suite to automate manual management tasks and promote consistent server systems. The suite includes new capabilities for patch management,
operational state backup and recovery, and performance and availability monitoring for
dynamic provisioning from a centralized Web console.

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