Veritas Vision: Partners Praise Veritas' New Information Management Focus, Glad To See It Split From Symantec

Veritas Technologies' unveiling of a new software-defined information management platform building on the company's large installed enterprise data protection and management base was welcomed by many of Veritas' key channel partners.

Those partners praised Veritas for the degree of simplicity the company is planning to bring to the new information management platform.

Veritas Tuesday used its first Veritas Vision conference since the company was acquired by Symantec in 2005 to introduce its information management platform, which the company said will help businesses use the cloud as part of a comprehensive enterprise data management solution.

[Related: Veritas Criticizes Competitors--Including Dell/EMC, Nutanix and SimpliVity--As Unfit To Help Customers With Digital Transformation]

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The platform features software-defined storage technology to free customers from hardware lock-in, automated policy and workflow control, and a metadata repository to help customers easily tie information management to existing on-premise and cloud infrastructures, the company said.

The new Veritas platform is important as a way to help both application developers and storage administrators focus on their part of the data center without having to be concerned about their opposites' tasks, said Mike Palmer, Veritas' senior vice president and general manager of solutions for data insight and orchestration.

Developers would rather throw workloads to the cloud than wait days or weeks for storage administrators to provision storage, the performance of which may be an unknown to developers, Palmer said during his keynote presentation.

Storage administrators, on the other hand, are asked to provision storage without an understanding of the applications, leading to a focus on storage capacity efficiency over performance, he said.

Veritas' upcoming information management solution instead automates the processes so that developers can get storage provisioned according to their own requirements while storage administrators focus on building the policies developers can use, he said.

As an example, Palmer demonstrated Veritas Access, a new application he said makes the connection between developers and storage administrators easy while providing full compliance with corporate requirements.

In the demonstration, he showed how an administrator can click on the type of application for which storage is to be configured, and then drag and drop icons representing pre-defined policies and performance levels as set up by the administrators.

Decisions about what happens on the back end, behind the icons, are handled by the storage experts, Palmer said. "Developers don't need to know the details," he said.

Palmer also demonstrated the new Veritas Information Map, which shows in an easy-to-read map where all of a company's data is located. If some data is out of compliance with corporate policies, an administrator can click on the specific location of the data, see the issue, and drag-and-drop the data elsewhere to solve the issue, he said.

As an example, he cited rogue email PST files that may be located on expensive storage instead of less expensive media. By clicking on a data center with such PST files, an administrator can look at the cost of storing that data compared to moving it to a lower tier of storage, and then drag and drop the data to move it.

"These are things that can only be done in software solutions," he said. "They cannot be done in hardware."

What Veritas is doing with its product line is very much in line with customers' changing requirements, said David Mayer, vice president of software product management at Insight, a Tempe, Ariz.-based solution provider and Veritas channel partner.

Many solution providers are looking at how to help clients better manage their information, Mayer told CRN.

"I fundamentally believe that the background and experience that Veritas has a company to this point combined with the strategy of where the company is going -- we have confidence that what we saw at [Veritas Vision] is really smart and is really going to help us deliver something of value to customers," he said. "And it's going to help them solve some business problems."

Insight has a hybrid cloud offering and how Veritas complements that strategy from a storage perspective is important, Mayer said.

Hybrid cloud management has not received the attention it deserves because of the level of complexity in managing those types of environments and having a single pane of glass, he said.

"[The] data that Veritas addresses is an area of opportunity that customers know they need. … I think Veritas is addressing a part of the market relevant to that hybrid cloud strategy that needs to be addressed, and I think the solution they're bringing to market is spot on for what's needed by customers," he said.

It is a great time to be a customer given the number of options becoming available from Veritas and many other vendors for addressing information management, Insight's Mayer said. And while Veritas is not unique in addressing the market, the company has the kind of deep experience needed to help it be a leader, he said.

"I think they have a tremendous opportunity in front of them to capitalize on," he said. "They are so well-known for being a data and storage company, and they have so much expertise from the on-prem world, that the application of that in a multi-cloud environment provides a lot of upside for them."

Matthew Edwards, president of Grapevine, Texas-based managed services provider Bluesource, told CRN that customers have to manage a wide range of solutions and are seeing their in-house applications moving to the cloud.

"They want to push stuff to the cloud, but what they don't know is what they need to push," Edwards said. "[But] they want to make sure they move the right things to the cloud. A lot of companies want to take the cloud as an opportunity to do a greenfield approach to things. The new Veritas solutions allow them to know what they should be moving to those environments."

There is a cost to moving things to the cloud and maintaining them there, and Veritas' new offerings help find and eliminate information that should not be in the cloud, Edwards said.

"The other added benefit to this is ongoing," he said. "It allows you to monitor those environments. This is not an overnight affair. Many corporations are going to take many years to move that data. They'll get a single pane of glass into the process. I think that's important to get a complete view of data management as it's going on."

Expanding Veritas' traditional data protection and management focus to information management is absolutely the right thing for the company to do, said Jim Propps, vice president of enterprise platforms and enterprise data management at DLT, a Herndon, Va.-based solution provider with a large government and education focus.

"There's really so much data being collected," Propps told CRN. "It's really now about helping customers find the data needed to make good decisions. [Veritas gave] several examples about how that much data puts a lot of noise into that decision-making process."

Propps said clients like the federal government collect so much data and are tasked with making decisions based on that data. "How are they going to find the data points that are really meaningful for them and lead to good decisions, even about our economy? … These new tools are going to become valuable to them," he said.

Solution providers at Veritas Vision were glad to see how well Veritas has done since its split from Symantec.

The split gave Veritas the opportunity to focus on the storage and data expertise it is best known for, Insight's Mayer said.

"Getting to a return on that focus has been nothing but a positive," he said. "With its combination with Symantec, they got some visibility with channel programs and partner programs that maybe they didn't have before. They kind of borrowed some of that stuff and took it with them. … There were some really good things about the channel program Symantec had."

Edwards said Veritas has succeeded in its split from Symantec..

"In Symantec, the information governance products were lost under the security products," he said. "For example, if you went on to Symantec's website at any given time of the day, you'd have to do two or three clicks to get to NetBackup. And yet NetBackup is Veritas' largest cash cow product."

Veritas has done well to focus the message on what it is good at, Edwards said. "Their current strategy is probably the most sensible strategy they've had in a long time," he said.

DLT, which has partnered with Veritas for 15 years, is now much more focused on data and information management than it was under Symantec, Propps said. Symantec's dream of merging its security solutions with Veritas' storage solutions never happened, he said.

"So now by splitting off from Symantec, it's giving Veritas a chance to focus on what it does really well, and innovate," he said.