Veritas Throws Hat into On-Demand Ring

Veritas Software
embraced the red-hot trend of utility computing Monday when it announced a
number of new on-demand software initiatives and programs.


Utility computing, an approach in which companies call up computing
properties as a metered service, is becoming a major force on the IT scene,
as leading vendors such as IBM, HP, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, and
Computer Associates have all adopted some sort of utility computing strategy
at a time when businesses are financially constrained. Mountain View, Calif.
Veritas made the announcement at its Veritas Vision 2003 conference in Las
Vegas, less than a week after rival EMC was stationed in the same city for
its own technology summit.


Mark Bregman, executive vice president of product operations at Veritas,
said the fruits of its utility computing push come from two acquisitions the
firms announced
last December, Precise Software and Jareva Technologies, for a combined $599
million. With those plays, Veritas looked to transform from a provider of
storage management software power to a maker of systems with application
performance and availability management products.


Bregman said his firm is looking to attack a market where there is currently
a tug of war with CIOs looking for better performance and availability from
applications while the CEO and CFO want lower IT costs. That’s why firms
have been rushing to roll out utility services.


Bregman told internetnews.com Veritas came to compare the demand for
infrastructure to a water company pipe. “People using the water aren’t
interested in the pipes and plumbing, or infrastructure, but they would like
to control the water, or content. That’s what we’re giving them. People
don’t want four-hour showers, they want to be able to turn off the water
they don’t need.”


Bill North, research director for storage software at IDC, said the move
shouldn’t come as a surprise to astute followers of Veritas, which he said
over the last few years has quietly asserted itself as a leader in cluster
server management. He said the firm is using that hammer, one also wielded
by Microsoft, IBM, HP and Sun, to join the utility computing fray.


“They’ve always clustered Windows, Unix and multiple platforms with the
message that ‘we can do it everywhere,'” North said. “With Precise, they
stuff that you’ll find in storage resource management such as reporting
tools and quota enforcement. The other piece is complementary and helps them
tap into new markets. Precise has excellent application performance
management tools. Veritas has been in the application-centric storage
management business for awhile but this link s the top level applications
from SAP. It’s a great extension to the offerings they’ve add, to be able to
link storage management capabilities to application service- level
requirements.”


North said startup Jareva automates the provisioning of servers, which is
itself a market that is changing.


“Historically, we’ve seen moves from mainframes to open systems distributed
platforms with almost mainframe like capabilities. Now, we’re seeing
emergence of blade computing, coming into play somehow, and they are
aggregated and turned into large systems. Not many people have the tools to
provide application performance management, server provisioning, clustering
on their own, along with all of the storage and SAN management product. I
expect to see them integrate so you get a simple, single pane of glass
management.”


As for the specifics, Veritas has integrated its software with Precise and
Jareva software to create systems that can heal themselves, a practice known
as autonomic computing in some circles. Precise’ software tracks
degradation, diagnoses the issue and notifies Jareva software that a new Web
server machine is required. Jareva provisions the machine and hands it to
Veritas Cluster Server to manage. This relationship keeps the system from
bogging down.


To address hardware costs, Veritas has paired its Volume Manager and Veritas
OpForce, which it picked up from Jareva, together with Cluster Server, so
that storage and server resources can be shared. Bregman said new storage
and server virtualization software tackles the issue of the lack of
utilization. Previously, a new disk or server was purchased when they were
maxed. The company also addressed labor costs of managing storage and server
hardware with SANPoint Control, which performs zoning, masking and
provisioning, and OpForce, which provisions servers when required.


The firm also introduced Service Manager to let IT staff define services
they will provide to business applications. The software tracks a delivered
service and calculates how much IT cost was incurred, which is then provided
through a portal back to the business. Currently in beta, Service Manager is
expected to be generally available in Q4 2003.


As for its competition with rival EMC, North expects it to stay heated, with
the same “cooptition” gloss they’ve always shown. But whereas EMC is focused
in storage utility with AutoIS, Veritas can now extend computing utility
outside the storage space.

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