Veritas has upgraded its Foundation Suite SW and ported it to Cisco's MDS 9000 SAN switch.

This builds on Veritas' existing storage utility computing products - NetBackup, Data Lifecycle Manager and CommandCentral Service - by providing what Veritas calls "a complete tool for online storage management".

Jose Iglesias, VP of product management at Veritas, said the upgrade "brings our customers one step closer to adopting a utility computing environment, maximising utilisation and reducing overall costs."

Storage Foundation 4.0 offers information lifecyle management (ILM), provisioning and heterogeneous server file sharing services. It also increases storage network load balancing and disk utilisation.

The key products within the renamed Foundation Suite are Veritas' Volume Manager and its File System. Volume Manager groups physical disks into logical pools. Veritas' File System shares files between Windows, Linux and Unix servers using a technology called Portable Data Containers. These products compete with IBM's SAN File System and SAN Volume Controller, from its Storage Tank group, which have also been ported to Cisco's MDS9000.

The new suite can move files between different tiers of storage based on settable usage policies, for example, from Fibre Channel disk to SATA arrays. This is similar to aspects of StorageTek's ILM SW (see here and here.)

Administrators can provision new storage for applications using templates. Storage controllers can be made to spread storage network demands across multiple paths. Volume and file snapshots can be taken. The SW can also backup and restore volume layouts as well as files.

Storage mapping can locate and correct for storage hotspots thus increasing performance. There is specific support for Oracle, Oracle RAC, Sybase, DB2 and VEritas' Cluster File System.

Veritas is preparing the ground for storage utility computing, either from a server or from an intelligent switch such as the MDS9000 or, we expect, Brocade's Fabric AP7420. The company is reportedly buying Ejasent to provide policy-based utility computing technology.

The storage utility field is getting busier with EMC, HP, IBM, NetApp, StorageTek and Veritas all providing software capabilities. Switch vendors such as Brocade, Cisco and McData are providing intelligent switch platforms as an alternative to server-based ones.

Having a storage utility provide both SAN services and file sharing between heterogeneous servers requires a file system layered on top of native O/S file systems. IBM and Veritas appear in the lead here.

Veritas Storage Foundation 4.0 is available now with prices starting at $2,495. UK Prices were unavailable at the time of posting.