RealTime IT News

Veritas Shifts into Next Utility Computing Gear

NEW YORK -- Veritas Software embarked on the next leg of its utility computing sojourn Tuesday when it announced its CommandCentral Service 3.5 for enterprises who desire data protection, backup and recovery on a pay-for-use basis.

Members of the Mountain View, Calif. executive management team were on hand in New York City to announce the news an hour after President and CEO Gary Bloom opened NASDAQ market trading in celebration of the software vendor's ten-year anniversary. Veritas also unveiled compliance solutions to meet the stringent demands of government regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA and unveiled a refresh of its flagship backup software, NetBackup.

Veritas is one of many vendors that is dipping its ladle in the utility computing well, joining rivals such as IBM, HP Sun Microsystems, Computer Associates and EDS when it purchased server provisioning specialist Jareva Technologies and application performance management vendor Precise Software Solutions earlier this year.

Bloom provided an introduction to his company's latest progress before Executive Vice President Mark Bregman provided demonstrations of how the company's new lifecycle management software and speedier NetBackup product work and tie into the company's broader utility computing software focus.

Bloom kicked off the event by detailing the handful of disruptive events that occurred glboally over the summer, including the August blackouts in New York City and London, as well as the decimating earthquakes in Asia .His point was that Veritas' job is to provide the backup software to make sure computer nextworks remain availabe despite catastrophes.

While data backup is nothing new, Bloom pointed out that a new challenge has come to the fore for the chief information officers at organizations: federal regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA, which companies must mind to avoid legal issues. If the Securities Exchange Commission requests to view documents, a company must supply them.

"Compliance is not just a legal issue; it has become an IT problem," Bloom told the audience. Veritas' new software, Bloom explained, aims to help companies backup information, manage it and retrieve it efficiently and cost-effectively at a time when the CIO has the unenviable task of "doing more with less" to accommodate contricted IT budgets and raise return-on-investment.

Bloom also indicated that Veritas would push forward with its strategy to both build technologies to advance its utility computing strategy and make acquisitions where they are warranted.

"While tech companies were running to the hills [after the dot-com bust] we kept investing in and building new technologies," Bloom said. "But our appetite is to do more acquisitions."

Though he wouldn't hint what areas Veritas is looking at in terms of acquisitions, Bloom said the company's $2.3 billion cash balance gives the outfit the "financial strength tio satisfy that appetite."

Enterprise Storage Group Analyst Steve Kenniston said Veritas has made a strong showing in its latest utility computing bid, noting that the big message is strong data protection coupled with management and services to compete with other heavy hitters like IBM, HP and EMC.

Up close

Bob Maness, senior director of product marketing at Veritas, said the concern has spent that last several months finding ways to augment its NetBackup and Backup Exec backup and recovery software with products from Jareva and Precise. Tuesday's news is the raw evidence the company has been successful as Veritas now has a way to deliver backup/recovery and storage as a service.

Maness told internetnews.com in a recent interview that CommandCentral will be integrated with NetBackup and Backup Exec to allow administrators to discover backup and recovery jobs, policy, error and media information from Veritas data protection software across distributed enterprise environments.

Maness said CommandCentral Service 3.5, the evolution of a product the company once called Global Operations Manager, provides IT administrators with additional insight into what resources are being consumed, to what degree and what cost to an organization. The service employs measures service levels and usage and allocates costs based upon usage, all of which are managed through a dashboard portal view of IT services.

"The portal allows you to manage service levels, for two parts of infrastructure; one for back-up and recovery utility and the second for storage management utilization," Maness said. "CommandCentral Service 3.5 allows you to use portal to request back-up services, which may be retrieved in a high-speed way."

Maness said the companies next two phases of utility computing, including the availability of utility services for clustering and utility services for servers, will be available next year as the company continues to milk Jareva's Opforce technology for server management and provisioning. In the second half of next year, Veritas will more tightly integrate application performance management technology from Precise.

Boarding the ILM train

CommandCentral Service software will also play a pivotal role in Veritas' compliance solution, Data Lifecycle Manager 5.0, because it allows reporting in real time by allowing IT managers to define and measure service levels based on compliance objectives.

Maness said Data Lifecycle Manager 5.0 helps companies solve their problems of data growth, compliance, data security, data organization and resource utilization by automating the management of data from cradle to grave according to defined policies. This is analogous to recent information lifecycle management (ILM) offerings from IBM, EMC and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) in which records retention and rendering data for easy auditing is key.

The product also provides powerful, high-speed search and index technology that reduces the cost and time of electronic records discovery. All of these characteristics are important in helping corporations meet regulatory requirements, which have been moved front and center in the wake of accounting improprieties. Document shredding at places such as Enron have paved the way for record retention periods stretching out to 20 years or more, which will make data pile up.

Data Lifecycle Manager, Maness said, is designed to handle e-mail and file archiving in Microsoft Exchange and NTFS (Windows NT file system) formats and employs its existing backup and restore capabilities to retain and retrieve files. This media management layer, Maness said, will save customers money by reducing duplicate copies of data and obviating support issues by not requiring a new storage infrastructure or IT skill set for different products.

The product has its roots in an older Veritas product, NetBackup Storage Migrator for Windows, which provided a lot of the hierarchical systems management functions, but did not have high-speed search, or the policy-driven look and feel of NetBackup.

Refreshing the flagship warhorse

Veritas ties the Data Lifecycle Manager and CommandCentral Service with the latest version of its enterprise-level backup and recovery software, NetBackup 5.0, a product that backs up and restores files 78 percent faster than the previous version, 4.5.

Enhancements to this popular product include synthetic backup, which boosts restore times without the need to take a full backup by combining together smaller backups into one.

For example, said Maness, synthetic backup allows an IT manager to make a full copy of data while only making incremental backups Monday through Wednesday without interruption, all the while creating a new, full back-up in the background. An administrator could bring that backup to play without the background.

In addition to supporting AIX, HP-UX, Linux, Solaris and Windows, it also now supports a variety of mid-range and high-end disk hardware platforms to enable faster backups and instant recovery from disk.

In a demonstration at the product launch, Bregman backed up 1.7 million files in a tad over 10 minutes.

Other improvements include:

  • Simplified snapshots: brings a variety of powerful snapshot techniques to help organizations select the best snapshot backup and recovery method for their business needs; the FlashBackup snapshot feature is now available for the first time on Windows, enabling the rapid backup and recovery of millions of files
  • Desktop and laptop data protection: a major new component of NetBackup 5.0 is the new Desktop and Laptop Option, which enables the protection of corporate data that resides on laptops and desktops outside the data center
  • Disk-to-disk copy and disk staging: allows a backup to stream copies to as many as three backup targets simultaneously, saving time and costs when copies of data are needed for off-site archiving or processing

CommandCentral Service 3.5 is available now at an entry-level price of $22,000. NetBackup 5.0 - including the new Desktop and Laptop Option - will be generally available in December 2003. NetBackup 5.0 pricing starts at $5,000. The NetBackup 5.0 Desktop and Laptop Option starts at $2,500. Data Lifecycle Manager is scheduled for general availability during the first quarter of 2004.