VARs See Some Risk But Much Reward Partnering With The New, Independent Veritas

Solution providers are hailing the return of Veritas Technologies as an independent provider of data protection and data management software and appliances, saying the company's innovation suffered while Veritas was part of Symantec.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Veritas, for its part, last week celebrated its independence, which officially happened Jan. 29, with the introduction of new versions of its Enterprise Vault and Data Insight solutions.

Veritas Enterprise Vault 12, which provides a centralized system for identifying meaningful or regulated information, is a significant upgrade from version 11, which was introduced in 2014, said Shawn Aquino, senior product manager for the product line.

[Related: Partners Cheer The Official Closing Date Of Symantec Split]

Sponsored post

New to Enterprise Vault 12 are new classification tools that extend to data across any content; an easy way to reclassify information to keep or delete it when its relevance changes; and global deletion of data that checks the data against the latest policies before it's actually deleted, Aquino told CRN.

Veritas also unveiled Data Insight 5.1, a file analytics solution that looks across on-premises and cloud storage services to build a profile of data, including the metadata, permissions, and user behaviors for use in risk management, compliance, and storage management, said Christopher Talbott, senior product marketing manager for the company's file analysis products.

Data Insight 5.1 allows automation of compliance permissions to bring out-of-compliance information back into compliance, and extends analytics capabilities to Redwood City, Calif.-based online content collaboration developer Box, with expansion to more cloud-based applications coming, Talbott told CRN.

According to channel partners, Veritas' independence from Symantec means not only increased investment in new solutions, but the chance for Veritas to regain some of its former glory as a channel-focused data protection and data management company.

Symantec's 2005 acquisition of Veritas was a mismatch from the start, said Brian Blake, a storage architect at XIOSS, an Atlanta-based solution provider and Veritas partner who actually worked at Veritas at the time of the acquisition.

"We didn't really understand the acquisition at the time," Blake told CRN. "We had an enterprise sales model that was extremely channel-focused at Veritas vs. Symantec's direct focus. After the acquisition, Symantec for a while had too many SKUs. The regional systems engineers had trouble keeping all the products in their heads."

Veritas, as an independent company, will bring the focus back to Veritas, Blake said. "Before the acquisition, Veritas was focused on data and data management," he said. "That focus is back. Under Symantec, Veritas was just a part of a product portfolio."

Under Symantec, Veritas lost its way and gave ground to new competitors and upstarts such as Palo Alto, Calif.-based Rubrik; Santa Clara, Calif.-based Cohesity; and Baar, Switzerland-based Veeam, as well as to upstart hyper-converged infrastructure technology developers that also offer data protection, Blake said.

"Even Commvault increased its market share," he said. "Veritas, from a data-protection perspective, is still a strong story. But it's now in a very competitive market. Now we're even seeing Hewlett Packard Enterprise's Data Protector. We never saw it before."

Veritas' data protection technologies, including Backup Exec and Net Backup, are based on code that has been around for years, Blake said. Promises to unite them have been unfulfilled, and would likely still take at least two more years during which smaller companies will continue to refine their solutions.

"But Veritas has a lot of smart people and great engineering talent," he said. "In 2014, they switched to agile software development that will help. Veritas is doing more integration with the cloud and other capabilities."

In the end, Blake said he remains optimistic about Veritas' future.

"I knew a lot of their core engineers," he said. "They have good opportunities if they plan right and stay agile to get in front of the competition. Maybe Veritas needs an acquisition. Now that they're independent, they don't have to deal with Symantec management."

However, Blake said, the future depends on how Veritas' new private equity owners treat their new company. "Private equity firms are usually only interested in making money," he said. "I don't know if they will make the investment needed in R&D."

Veritas' future prospects have improved since the company was split from Symantec, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and Veritas channel partner.

"Symantec never figured out how to get the right play from two separate lines," Woodall told CRN. "Veritas' data protection, storage management, and availability products are very good and very mature, and the company can build on those. But they will need a lot of messaging and have to move fast to build the channel."

While large storage vendors like HPE and EMC offer competitive technologies, no single vendor is able to match the technology of Veritas, Woodall said. Meanwhile, the smaller vendors have difficulty differentiating their solutions.

"Veeam and the others have good products," Woodall said. "We partner with Veeam. These companies had some tech advantages in the past. But these features now are more of a checkbox item from all the vendors."

Veritas' Net Backup is still the leading data protection technology, and Veritas' storage management technology is doing very well, Woodall said.

"We're seeing more interest in Veritas products in higher-end Oracle and SAP deployments," he said. "We're not surprised. And, as a private company, Veritas has a lot of flexibility it didn't have before."

An independent Veritas is great news for the channel, said Kurt Klein, CEO of CMT, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based solution provider and Veritas channel partner.

"We recently had Veritas' new CTO Steve Vranyes speak at our sales kickoff," Klein told CRN. "He's a very smart person. I'm seeing a more product-focused look from the company. I'm liking what we are seeing in their software and appliances."

Veritas is already making the kind of changes that bring smiles to Klein.

"We're seeing Veritas be more channel-friendly on its own," he said. "One of our senior guys just recertified on Veritas' data protection appliances, and he loved the certification portal. It offered a 3D look inside the box."

Klein said he has also seen Veritas employees' morale climb and a renewed push by the company to differentiate its offerings from those of its competitors since the split from Symantec.

However, Klein said, Veritas has to understand that it's facing a much more competitive environment than when it was acquired, and change accordingly.

"The prognosis for Veritas vs. its startup or legacy competitors is positive, but the company's executives have to realize that living off NetBackup will not work," he said. "And they have to realize that companies like ours need to look at partnering with other vendors like Veeam to meet customer requirements. But I'm sure they understand."

Klein also said Veritas really should consider making an acquisition or two to quickly rebuild its business.

"I want them to be aggressive, to after new technology," he said. "I hope the executive team invests in technology to let us leverage Veritas for our enterprise sales, and build on the company's success."

The independence of Veritas is causing Ron Kramer, vice president and COO of All Computer Solutions, a Portland, Maine-based solution provider, to look past the challenges the storage vendor has experienced.

"Veritas has a great brand," Kramer told CRN. "I told them I'll take another look at Backup Exec."

However, Kramer said, a good brand in itself is not enough for a successful relationship.

"Remember Kodak?" Kramer told CRN. "Xerox? Wang? They all had great brands. Now where are they? Why wasn't Veritas the first data protection vendor into the cloud? Why didn't they see the opportunities? When you think of the resources Veritas had with its snapshot technology, with its Microsoft relationship, you'd have thought Veritas could have moved to the cloud quickly."