Veritas Unveils Utility Computing Model, Draws On Heterogeneous Experience

Veritas, the leading platform-independent storage software vendor, unveiled plans to enable the provisioning of both storage and servers and is using its Veritas Vision user and partner conference, held here this week, to spread the word.

Veritas has always had high-availability software for storage, servers and applications, as well as software to increase storage performance and automation, said Mark Bregman, executive vice president of product operations.

However, with the acquisition of Precise Software Solutions last December, it gained technology to monitor and adjust server and application performance, Bregman said. Another December acquisition, Jareva Technologies, gave the company server provisioning capabilities, he said.

As a result, Veritas by year-end plans to offer software to move the entire data center to a utility computing model similar to that envisioned by Sun Microsystems, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, said Bregman. Veritas is unique in that as a software-only vendor it is not tied to any hardware platform or operating system, he said.

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Because Veritas works in heterogeneous environments, it is able to build partnerships with platform vendors that would not otherwise work with each other, Bregman said.

"We are platform-independent," he said. "It's in our DNA. The big difference with platform vendors moving toward auto provisioning is that we let customers use what they already have."

With technology from Precise, Veritas is able to automate the performance and availability of the utility computing environment, said Bregman. The Precise technology allows the entire IT infrastructure to be automated, thereby reducing human error. It can also detect, diagnose and fix problems before they mushroom into unavailability or other customer problems, he said.

From Jareva comes the ability to automate the provisioning of servers, Bregman said. "Servers sitting in a pool can be automatically deployed when needed," he said. "Just push a button. Jareva knows, if you need an Oracle server, how to make you an Oracle server."

If anyone can pull off the utility computing vision, it's Veritas, said Scott Pelletier, storage practice manager at Lewan & Associates, a Denver-based solution provider.

"Since Veritas is a pure software company, they are vendor-agnostic, as opposed to the other vendors who act vendor-agnostic," Pelletier said. "But there are hurdles. Other vendors will resist Veritas because they have their own programs. Open storage APIs are coming, but it will take a long time."

Customers are talking about the need for utility computing, even if they call it by other names, said Pelletier. "This is especially true for storage," he said. "They say they want managed storage, but they don't want to outsource it. And they need to upgrade every three years, but don't want to swap out their older equipment."

Carl Wolfston, director of Headlands Associates, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based solution provider, said he is watching the utility computing model closely, but there is much work to be done before it becomes a reality.

For all the talk about heterogeneous storage, customers are still not pooling storage resources across multiple operating systems, Wolfston said. "If they set up a storage network, they still use one vendor for their Windows side, and another for the Unix side," he said.

Bregman said most parts for Veritas' utility computing model are available now and are being integrated with Veritas software. The Jareva acquisition closed in January, and some parts of the technology have been integrated into Veritas software currently in beta testing, he said. The Precise acquisition has not yet closed, but Bregman said he expects technology from that company to be integrated by year-end.