These questions include how to manage growing data across an equally growing and diverse IT infrastructure, how to keep pace with compliance in a world of GDPR and improve resiliency in a world of ransomware.
“Today’s digital world runs on data. It is a critical asset for any organisation or business. With the exponential growth of data, it is a digital imperative for organisations to make strategic choices around data management and protection strategies – no matter where that data is located.” said Howard Fyffe, managing director, Australia and New Zealand, Veritas. “Our customers will want to extract insights from the data that are so rich and predictive in nature, to make more informed business decisions – all while cutting costs and risks.”
These insights come against the backdrop of major trends in technology.
“A lot of the big changes have happened in the last decade. For instance, if you think about the advent of the cloud, it has really changed the way customers are doing business or managing their data. To add to the complexity, almost every organisation is gravitating towards not just one cloud, but multiple clouds. As a result, many customers are also grappling with the day to day operations in the multi-cloud environment,” said Harish Venkat, vice president for global sales enablement and marketing, Veritas.
“Predictive analytics is another major trend. With the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning, everyone is looking for an environment with an always-on business model – with minimum outages. The notion of predictive analytics is in full gear, as more and more solutions utilise artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect potential issues, such as giving advance notice that something is going to break down,” he said.
Products announced at Veritas Vision Solution Day include:
Veritas NetBackup 8.1.2
“For fifteen years in a row, we are a leader in Gartner’s magic quadrant. Veritas NBU 8.1.2 is one of the biggest releases and I am really excited about the ease of usage made possible by the radically improved user interface,” Venkat said.
Extending the alliance with Pure Storage and Nutanix
“This a new partnership that builds on the integration between Veritas and Pure Storage on multiple fronts,” Fyffe said. “I think this is tremendous news for our customers in Australia and New Zealand, primarily based on three key areas.
"First, we’re setting up Pure Storage All-Flash’s environment as a backup target for Veritas, to enable rapid restores when necessary. As you may understand, this is super important, especially for customers who have large data sets but small windows for restore. Backing data is just one part of the equation. The key differentiator lies in having the ability to retrieve data quickly in the shortest time period. This is where Veritas has always been a leader in the market. Our partnership with Pure Storage – with the consolidation of technologies – will further help to strengthen our leadership position.
“Secondly, the collaboration offers improved data recovery with more reliable point-in-time copies with Veritas NetBackup and Veritas CloudPoint integration with Pure Storage. This could be done without lengthy snapshot windows and application time-outs. Managing data, understanding where it is located, whether it is bimodal — on-premises or in the cloud — is critical to our customers. Veritas can deliver solutions for both.
“The last key area will be long-term retention where Veritas plays a complementary role by protecting workloads – in particular, those that are the mission-critical in nature. For instance, while production workloads can be run on Pure Storage, the long-term retention will require a more economical solution. This is where Veritas NetBackup Access Appliances serve the purpose of providing cost-effective long-term retention."
“One of the key advantages of this partnership is that organisation of any size can reap benefits from our technologies – given the ease and simplicity of integration. I do not foresee any limits as to where we will be focusing. I think there will be organisations that will be able to further leverage this but anybody can benefit from this relationship,” said Mark Jobbins, vice-president, Technical Services, Asia Pacific and Japan, Pure Storage.
Predictive analytics infusion
Veritas Predictive Insights utilises artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to deliver always-on proactive support.
“The scale of the Veritas telemetry data is enormous, with millions of data points collected from thousands of Veritas appliances, across our entire universe of customer installations. We have begun our journey by sending back phone-owned data from our products, including our flagship Veritas NetBackup," said David Noy, vice-president and general manager (Product Management and Alliances), Veritas
"We will be adding the telemetry capabilities across a broader set of appliances over time. Currently, not every customer has been sending data back, but approximately more than half actually do. In fact, these customers have been doing so for many years. Hence, we have been gathering hundreds of millions of data points over the course of the years."
The ability to review telemetry data — harnessing the power of AI and continuous ML techniques to provide predictive analytics and suggestions to customers on how to fine-tune and optimise their environments — is a key feature of Predictive Insights. This enables IT staff to proactively support and remediate a wide range of potential issues before they occur, react much quicker and allow for less costly resolution.
“If something is going to fail in terms of a backup job because one of the drives can potentially fail in the next thirty days, we are able to actually tell the customers they need to replace this drive because we can foresee a high chance of that drive failing,” Venkat said.
Veritas is currently in the first phase focusing on two key areas. First, to look at how much capacity the customers are using and the rate of utilisation. Not explained during conversations with customers, they also expressed interest to understand how to manage an inflexion in capacity. For instance, what is the cause of higher capacity usage or sudden uptake in capacity growth? Predictive insights will allow the review and pinpointing of specific causes.
The second key component is providing a health score for the product, based on the telemetry coming back. Looking at historical data and signals Veritas can start to predict whether a hardware failure is likely to occur, for example, within the next thirty days there’s an 80% chance the customer is going to have some sort of a failure.
Initially, this functionality is available in Veritas NetBackup appliances. Thereafter, it will be available on Veritas Access and Flex appliances in coming quarters. In addition, Noy advises, Veritas is looking at including the solution in some of our legacy products such as InfoScale Enterprise because it will provide us with a lot of information about the health state of that product.
“Currently, Predictive Insights is available to customers as part of their Veritas support agreements. From our perspective, this reduces our cost of support in the long run as it is actually far more expensive to resolve any product issues than providing proactive remediation before problems can occur. If you look at your insurance I’m sure you pay almost nothing to go to the doctor for preventive visits and I’m sure you pay a lot if you go after the illness has actually occurred. Hence, a preventive stance is always better,” Noy said.
Extending the partner ecosystem
“We have over forty cloud connectors. We have built great alliances with our cloud service providers such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google and Oracle. We have just announced our Pure Storage alliance which will allow us to protect the All-Flash storage from Pure Storage. I have talked about cloud and how the advent of cloud has created benefits but also complexities at the same time. Now, we have a solution to ensure that the journey to the cloud is simplified. If you want to perform disaster recovery from on-premises to the cloud, there is a solution that allows you to do that. As customers are thinking about moving data and applications from on-premises to the cloud, we have a resiliency platform that helps with that journey. We are super excited about all these major trends,” Venkat said.
While not a product, any discussion on data in this day will eventually come around to GDPR and mandatory data breach reporting. Yet, while these legislations have brought data breaches into the open, the problem is age-old, explained Noy.
“Even before GDPR is in place, we can see from the newspapers that data breaches are almost happening on a monthly-basis affair. From time to time, I would get letters from my credit card companies or different retailers informing that somebody took a tape or some disc, or some data had been leaked. I am sure almost everyone I know has had some form of data leakage. It's a real problem. Some of them have been very public – as they involved credit card numbers … GDPR is just putting increased focus on data compliance and security. It is no longer a case of financial institutions losing their customers’ credit card information that got them mad. It is the harsh penalties from the government that is making an impact,
“I don't think that we have to tell boards data management is a priority. In fact, the boards are actually telling us that this is a priority. It is clear that data management is a top priority as many large organisations that we have engaged would bring up the topic immediately and flag out that they need to solve the issues at hand.
“Veritas has the solutions to address the data management challenges faced by the business decision makers. We are equally focused on improving our solutions over time. Most importantly, we understand the severity of the issues and will be there for our customers as they navigate in today’s digital economy.”