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Maximizing your Linux investment

Created: 20 Apr 2010 • Updated: 12 May 2010
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Linux continues to become a mainstream solution, often at the expense of Unix. Many of the implementations of Linux have come in organizations that are classic Unix shops. The success of Linux in these organizations has come from both replacing some or all of the existing Unix servers, and equally importantly, capturing growth opportunities for installed systems.  Migrations of applications that were once running on a Unix platform are happening more frequently as organizations look to reduce costs.

While a move to Linux helps reduce server and software costs, other challenges are introduced into this environment. Linux’s native operating system tools are not ready to handle many mission critical tasks.  In order to perform many complex storage management and high availability tasks, applications must be taken down.  Migrations to Linux from Unix are difficult as well and may require long periods of down time.

Symantec offers a wide range of solutions for Linux server operating environments including storage management, and high availability and disaster recovery, that provide protection and management for physical and virtual Linux infrastructure. These products support all major enterprise operating systems including Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Linux and Windows with excellent performance characteristics across all platforms. When migrating from applications from Unix, they can improve data mobility and minimize the down time needed for the migration.

Symantec's approach is to enable enterprises to achieve the following goals:

  • Infrastructure agility — Organizations can standardize on a single storage management and high availability software infrastructure.  This reduces complexity and increases visibility and management across physical and virtual platforms thus reducing total operating expenditures.  This is especially important for organizations introducing Linux into their environments.  By standardizing on infrastructure software, migrations to another operating system platform such as Linux can be simplified significantly.  Data can be migrated much faster by not having to copy it to other storage.  The high availability software remains the same and can be implemented faster as the concepts are the same regardless of operating system.
  • Operational efficiency — Operational processes can be greatly streamlined and automated thereby reducing operational complexity and costs.  With Symantec’s centralized storage and high availability management tools, tasks that affect multiple servers can be done from one central interface.  All servers using Symantec’s software can be viewed and managed from one view.  It can also alert the administrator of potential problems before they occur.
  • Higher storage utilization — Storage utilization rates can be significantly increased thereby reducing capital expenditures and operational costs.  With Symantec’s storage management products, organizations can optimally take advantage of thin provisioning storage arrays.  These products provide the smartest way to move to thin provisioning arrays.  They also provide the industry’s only way to reclaim wasted storage and return it to the array’s free storage pool while keeping applications online.  In addition,  business value can be placed on data and thus be stored on the appropriate tier of storage dynamically, based on criteria established by the organization. 
  • High availability and disaster recovery — Planned and unplanned downtime can be dramatically reduced allowing mission-critical IT servers to stay up and running.  This is done by automating the failover of applications for both local availability and disaster recovery to a site any distance away.  Faster failover can be accomplished by allowing multiple servers the ability to concurrently share the same storage pool.  Data recovery can be made simpler by using Symantec’s data management solutions such as host-based mirroring and replication.  Integrated into these is the ability to do proactive and non-disruptive DR testing without having to take a running application down for testing.

The Symantec products that accomplish these goals are:

Veritas Storage Foundation which offers an integrated storage management platform that virtualizes storage across heterogeneous server and storage infrastructure. 

Veritas Cluster Server provides high-availability server and application clustering and is designed to provide a cross-platform solution for minimizing application downtime.

Veritas Cluster File System enables multiple servers to concurrently share the same storage pool. It helps organizations achieve fast application failover, improve the performance of applications that work in parallel across multiple servers, and reduce storage costs.

All of these products can be managed from one central interface called the Veritas Operations Manager.  All servers, regardless of operating system, can be viewed and managed from this interface.  By using these products, organizations can achieve the performance, scalability and reliability of Unix for the price of Linux.