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Not licensing to VMware? Purely technical, says Symantec

Quoting Computer Business Review

Symantec says the reason why it has not struck a deal with VMware to match the one it has inked with VMware's rival XenSource is merely technical - and nothing to do with the fact that VMware is owned by EMC.

Symantec very recently announced that it has licensed its Storage Foundation software to XenSource, which is to embed the Symantec storage management software into its processor virtualization platform. The integration is promised to improve the manageability of XenSource's virtual servers.

But XenSource is very small fry compared to the goliath of the processor virtualization market, VMware, with whom Symantec has struck no such deal.

VMware just happens to be owned by Symantec's near arch-rival EMC. Is that the reason why there is no corresponding deal with VMware?

"Not at all. Our business is to support heterogeneous platforms. We'd be shooting ourselves in the foot if we didn't support the platforms that our customers are using," said Rob Soderbery, marketing vice president at Symantec.

Soderbery pointed out that Symantec has already modified its CommandCentral, NetBackup, Cluster Server and Storage Foundation tools to work better with VMware virtual machines.

But support from those products is not the same as building Symantec software into a virtual processor platform, which would be a very tough to do, Soderbery said.

"The VWware platform is very open, but architecturally it's a challenging platform for us to integrate our tools into," he said.

Gartner vice president Tom Bitman backed that technical claim.

"VMware is in the business of creating an entire platform. They've provided APIs, but they've also got their own file system, and they're pushing customers towards their own backup methods," Bitman said.

"That makes it harder for companies like Symantec to integrate their software into the VMware platform. XenSource is a more natural platform," he said.

But Bitman added: "A lot of companies are starting to see VMware as a competitor in the long term, and I expect that Symantec is one of those companies. In the long term VMware is going to become not just a virtualization system, but a management platform."

The Storage Foundation suite includes Symantec's Veritas-originated volume management, file system and multi-pathing software.

According to Soderbery, the integration of Storage Foundation into the XenSource hypervisor will make XenSource virtual machines much more suitable for SQL and Exchange workloads than VMware virtual machines are.

"VMware runs Volume Manager in guests, and it takes all of the guests' data and puts it into one bucket. That's why you don't put databases onto VMware guests," Soderbery said.

"We're doing a lot to support VMware, but we think there's an opportunity to go the next level with XenSource," he said.

Read or comment on the original, here.

Published Friday, July 27, 2007 6:19 AM by David Marshall
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