Wednesday, 18 November 2015 10:11

Veritas backs up enterprise – for 32 years

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Paul Simos, Veritas Australia’s Managing Director, Sales, spoke to iTWire about Veritas’s interesting 32-year journey, especially the last 8 months where rapid changes to people and partners were part of envisioning the ‘new’ Veritas.

There have been three drivers for the separation from Symantec according to Simos.

Go back 10 years and there was a vision that security and storage backup/retrieval had major synergies. Over that period there has been a massive shift in focus to security issues and naturally it became Symantec’s priority.

As the company realised that this vision would not be achieved the focus became on how to return value to its shareholders e.g. a sale of this now non-core business

Innovation suffered as a result of shift in focus – an issue that new Veritas CEO Bill Coleman referred to in the Partner Link opening address.

Looking forward it has moved to agile development – cloud is the great, scalable enabler. It can develop in the cloud first and then adapt for on premise and hybrid use. Most of its services can either be delivered from the cloud (software as a service – SaaS), or on premise – the cloud eventually will enable more services.

That begins a discussion about data – unstructured, structured, usefulness, storage, retrieval and actually knowing what data an enterprise has, who creates or owns it, and why it should be keep or discarded.

Veritas has product in the back up and retrieval arena that includes x86 Windows devices (Backup Exec); scalable enterprise data protection (NetBackup); system recovery; and much more.

While speed of backup and retrieval of data is critical (and Veritas holds many records there) these days it is more about information management. This is the insight into what data an enterprise has, where it comes from, who owns it, and how relevant/useful is it to the business.

Before an enterprise contemplates a backup solution or moving to the cloud (or hybrid) it needs to maximise operational efficiency – sort out what data is needed; what data to archive; what data is old, orphaned or duplicated; and what is plain junk. Enterprises find a large percentage of the masses of data they collect – as much as 60% - is not required.

According to Hitachi Data Systems – a global Veritas partner - 90% of data held is unstructured, it is growing 50 fold and will by 2020, reach 44 Zettabytes (that is 1000 to the seventh power – a Terabyte is 1000 to the fourth power). It is estimated that total storage now is around 4 Zettabytes.

Veritas Data Insight can help enterprise from storing too much data and paying dearly to keep the junk. Older, important data and infrequently accessed data can go into Veritas Enterprise Vault. Junk data can be deleted with confidence.

The remainder of the interview is paraphrased.

What has the feedback from the channel and distributors been to the change?

Great – Veritas is now solely focused in information management and insights. It is not tied to any hardware or software vendor (in reference to Symantec and some of its competitors) – its agnostic. It can come as SaaS, hybrid, or an appliance – it is about capabilities, not hardware or where it runs.

There has been a consolidation of distributors to those who have a focus on storage and Veritas products. We also have Veritas managed partners like IBM, Hitachi and HP amongst others. The remainder are managed by distributors.

Some partners still have loyalty to Symantec and some use other security solutions. In the end our strength it that the new Veritas supplies software and tools that are agnostic.

What is your market share in Australia?

In the enterprise backup and retrieval space we now have a 20% market share placing us at the number one position. Most of our products are either number one or two in this market.

Australian is a mature market that likes to keep up with new technology – early adopters. In APJ we are number two in sales volume behind Japan.

But success in our market relies on delivering what the customer wants. Veritas in well known in large, complex storage environments and our focus is firmly on adding value to customer needs.

The reporting structure is similar to Symantec. I still have great autonomy about how Australia is run. There have been some structural changes like a centralised 24x7 technical support group and a complete focus on partners instead of direct selling.

What is your attitude to partners?

In Australia over 95% of our sales come from partners. Veritas knows what it does very well and the partners that have high levels of expertise across its product range do very well.

Our partners are driving innovation and features in our new product. The Next Generation along with a refreshed cloud ready suite of our baseline products will be released in 2016.

Really successful partners take Veritas and build an offering around that in their own clouds – infrastructure as a service, backup as a service, information management as a service …

They are the ones facilitating the move from CAPEX to OPEX – pay for what you use when you use it – and Veritas has flexible licensing to match that need.

Partners can use our software and tools to go into enterprise and say “I can help you reduce storage costs by eliminating non-essential data, show you how to better manage its data life cycle, help you set policies for data retention, determine who owns the data, who can access it and organise your existing data along the same lines – and if you want to its ready to migrate to the cloud for someone to do analytics to help your business. It is a winning pitch.

We liken data to a ‘hoarder’ that keeps everything. We come along with the skip [bin] and provide the means to clean everything up, and keep the valuable stuff.

Big Data and Analytics?

Let me be clear – Veritas is not a big data analytical company – we are an enabler for efficient use of big data. We handle data, turn it into structured data and significantly reduce storage used, and backup/retrieval time. We can tell you all about that data but its over to business intelligence specialists and data scientists to use it. We can duplicate clean, usable big data very quickly for analysis.

Remember that unchecked – big data will grow from 4 Zettabytes to 44 Zettabytes by 2020. That presents huge storage issues and costs. Veritas can significantly reduce the quantum of data without affecting its usefulness or integrity – 60-70% of data does not have legal, regulatory, or personally identifiable information that needs to be backed up or retrieved.

Cloud and enterprise

Enterprise customers have mostly settled for a hybrid of on premise and either private cloud or public cloud solution. Because of regulatory and data sovereignty issues hybrid private cloud is the first step.

The cloud is a misunderstood and undefined term. It basically means renting someone else’s computing power, storage, software, backup, services and maintenance for a fee that is usually based on flexible monthly usage – OPEX. Australians are becoming more concerned with data sovereignty issues (laws of the country where it is stored), who can see it, and having local storage for speed of access – that is why many data centres have selected Canberra to service the federal government.

But Australian cloud infrastructure is – data transmission and data centres - have a way to go before these are mature and fully accepted.

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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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