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Monday, 19 September 2016 16:41

Veritas – what is data?

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More specifically what is metadata? It is a set of data that describes and gives information about other data, and it is what Veritas use to ensure “information is everything.”

I was a guest at Veritas Vision 2016, and while I thought I knew just enough about data, especially back-up and retrieval, I learned a lot about information management, protection, and unlocking the hidden secrets — connections — in that data.

First, you need to get your head around metadata – because it is the key to almost everything. Wikipedia says there are two types of metadata – structured and descriptive. Think of structured like an old library card that has basic information about a book (data) that includes author, title, date, an ISBN number and perhaps a brief keyword description.

Now relate that to data and you can start to see how metadata can also include:

  • Creator or author
  • Means of creation
  • Purpose of the data
  • Time and date of creation
  • Location on a computer network
  • Standards used and type of data
  • File size
  • Number of times accessed
  • Copy protection or who has copied it
  • Relationships to other data
  • Lifespan – when can it be considered dead or is it archival quality
  • And so much more.

For images, size, resolution, colour depth, GPS location, temporal or spatial data might be included. For text, author, creation date, edit time, keywords, pages, external links, copy protection, and more. For Web pages, it may use meta tags to help search engines. For audio/telecoms, it may include times, origins, destinations, phone numbers used and received, call duration, billing information, routing information, etc.

So data — all those ones and zeros have a “personality” — is called metadata. Veritas says that this diversity has created a world where we can think of different forms of data having different "personalities" rather than just different values.

No single piece of data means very much unless it is put in context (metadata). It’s the secret sauce that allows Veritas to graduate from a back-up and restore company to an information management company that offer three pillars – data protection, availability, and insight.

As Ana Pinczuk, chief product officer at Veritas, said, “Data is growing exponentially, and you can’t solve that with hardware [more hard disks and storage].  A software-driven approach, which completely abstracts information from infrastructure, is the only path forward.”

“Organisations can achieve cost savings by moving unused data to lower cost storage tiers or the cloud without manual intervention. An automated policy engine based on metadata, such as file type or age, can move data to [lower storage cost] public clouds. Data can be brought back quickly when required, so only ‘hot’ data uses more expensive storage. Veritas Access can be installed in any commodity x86 hardware and is available in the controlled release,” said Pinczuk.

Pretty well everything Veritas is doing follows this “software defined” path, creating a 360° data-centric platform covering back-up/recovery, business continuity/always on, software defined storage and information governance.

Veritas 360

Another vital tool is the Veritas Information Map that uses metadata to provide a single pane of glass approach to show where data resides and what state it is in. It is a great tool and one that can have policies and governance built in to ensure data sovereignty and other rules are complied with. Now extrapolate that further and it can see on-premise, private and public cloud as well. A very powerful tool for finding and managing all data.

Pinczuk explains, “The opportunity to leverage data is hindered by the fact that it’s stored in many places, making it difficult for organizations to manage and govern. Veritas’ data management solutions help organisations achieve data protection, business resiliency and regulatory readiness across heterogeneous environments, whether on-premises or in the cloud.”

Veritas is aligning with the open source community to help OpenStack users reap the benefits of a software-defined future. The new Veritas HyperScale for OpenStack software defined storage solution will allow organizations to confidently deploy their OLTP tier one and tier two applications on OpenStack environments and ensure storage quality of service and application resiliency.

The company announced that NetBackup 7.7 will integrate with Veritas Resiliency Platform 2.1 so IT can orchestrate complex recoveries for thousands of virtual machines with single-click automation. Resiliency Platform allows organisations to implement a unified resiliency strategy for complex, multi-platform and multi-vendor hybrid cloud environments.

In all, it was a very interesting event that completely changed my perceptions of the company I had known under Symantec’s ownership – in less than a year it has become an information management company without peer. Veritas is mainly for enterprise use but will scale down to SME.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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