Is Veritas Getting Its Groove Back?

At the Veritas Vision Executive Forum, we heard one interesting comment from Chris Lin, Veritas Senior Vice President of Sales for APJ, who said that being a technology house, Veritas is good at producing some of the best, most advanced technologies, but not in terms of telling the world about them.

Throughout the event, Veritas execs spoke about their latest data services platform built around what Veritas calls API (Availability, Protection and Insights). However, based on our coverage in recent years, we often found that other data protection vendors are also delving into the data management side of things – promising organisations a better understanding of their data dispersed across different modern, cloud and legacy environments, and to make all of that “simpler” too.

So to get a clearer view of what makes Veritas different, Chris, together with Deepak Mohan, Veritas’ Executive Vice President for Enterprise Data Protection and Compliance, graciously agreed to a sit down with DSA to explain about their A, P and I platform in greater depth to help us understand the key differentiation that Veritas brings.

A for Application-Level Availability
Chris started off by saying that Veritas is unique in the market in that it is the only company with the “proven” technology that can provide an availability layer to support the application. While other vendors may claim that they provide a similar platform, Chris said, “A lot of these other providers are more or less focusing on data protection only, which is relatively a bit easier to do because you treat the cloud just like another destination of storage location.”

“But the application availability that will be able to support our customers both in the high availability arrangement or the VRP migration and all of that, that capability is very unique,” he added. In other words, while others may be talking about their own availability and data protection platforms, Chris contends that theirs are not holistic.

Deepak added by saying that at the highest level, vendors tend to put a checkbox in order to say “we do that too” to remain competitive, but if you go one level deeper, you will find that the technologies may differ in significant ways between the different data protection or management providers.

Why Veritas is the King of Data Protection
On the data protection side, a platform has to have the breadth to cover the whole enterprise environment, which means different data sources and different technology environments. If it can’t cover it all, then the organisation would need other solutions to cover the rest. When that happens, both Chris and Deepak agreed that it can no longer be called a platform. Moreover, having more than one solution for backup and recovery would significantly drive up the cost and complexity factors.

In that sense, Deepak said, “Nobody out there has been able to replace NBU (NetBackup) with their solution. They can do parts of it, but we support over 500 data sources.”

He went on to say that for large enterprises, including some of the largest banks and telcos that Veritas has served over the years, scale becomes very important as they may be running hundreds of thousands of VMs. NBU, he said, has over the years built the capability to scale to that level of data – something which many of Veritas’ competitors aren’t able to do.

Deepak added that NBU’s deduplication engine has also been fine-tuned over the last decade to become “super efficient”, adding that he feels it offers the best dedupe performance compared with anybody else.

Another strength of Veritas that Deepak mentioned was the appliance portfolio that nobody else has. He explained that Veritas’ suite of “integrated backup appliances”, based on InfoScale technology, is a very solid storage-define platform which ensures a high, enterprise-level of resilience, scalability and performance.

This allows things that are used in primary workloads to be used in the appliance, and Deepak said these technologies that have taken Veritas ten years to build and polish are some of the major differentiating factors as well as the reason the solution is called the “King of Backup, King of Scale and King of Virtualisation”.

Depth of Insights
According to Chris and Deepak, the level of comprehensiveness also applies to Veritas’ data insights platform. They both went on to explain some of the important components and tools that make up the platform.

The both of them, as well as many attendees of the event, were especially enthusiastic about APTARE, which Veritas acquired earlier this year. What’s unique about APTARE is that it is vendor-independent and platform-agnostic – i.e. it actually supports products from Veritas’ own competitors. And when combined with other tools such as InfoStudio, Enterprise Vault, eDiscovery Platform and Data Insight, they allow organisations to have full visibility into their whole, heterogeneous, mixed environments, with the policy to help them deal with compliance issues and meet various regulatory requirements.

“So across the board, there is depth in the insights that we offer,” commented Deepak.

Gaining Cloud Relevance
Among the main ideas that Chris wanted the attendees to take away from the forum in Bali was that Veritas was indeed relevant for the cloud era.

When asked why they wanted to focus on Veritas’ cloud relevance, Chris said the cloud journey has become a reality for many of their customers in their data centre modernisation efforts. Therefore, he believes Veritas’ products and solutions would really be able to help them on that journey to cloud.

Nevertheless, he reminded us that this whole cloud journey is something that is relatively new in the data protection and application availability space and new capabilities are still being built, so they’re going through the process of making sure that customers are aware of what they can offer.

Deepak then gave examples of how the team at Veritas are committed to being at the forefront of cloud-based innovation, in the form of recent developments with cloud giants, AWS and Microsoft. “Just a few months ago, we were the first to support AWS’ Glacier Deep Archive. This is a storage layer in the cloud that brings the economics down to the level of tape, meaning it’s really cheap storage for backup and long-term retention.”

He remarked that it was the same when Microsoft announced Azure Data Box. Veritas is continuing to support these new cloud technologies being built for enterprise customers. Deepak then added, “We are strategic partners with AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, primarily, but we also support many other cloud vendors in the platform, so it’s a journey of continuous innovation.”

Veritas Reborn?
This is all well and good, but from some of our interaction with a few industry veterans, they seem to share the notion that Veritas is a “dinosaur” that has lost its way in terms of innovation. One even went as far as calling it a laggard, together with other old guards of data protection like Commvault, who are not doing anything new or exciting in the space.

Whether that’s the reality or just a perception due to Veritas’ own failure to get its message across effectively, that’s a topic for discussion. But both Deepak and Chris seemed to agree that Veritas has been making up a lot of lost ground in recent years, especially after its split from Symantec in 2016.

“Under Symantec, we had data protection, but we were under the umbrella of a security company. So the corporate messaging was all around security. [Data protection] was an afterthought,” Deepak explained.

Chris then added, “One key thing for Veritas as a company since the separation is the alignment that we have across not only the leadership team and the executive team, but right throughout the company. Our goals and priorities are very simple, and that clear alignment is allowing us to really make significant inroads on our platform strategy, on our products, operationally, and most important of all, the customer focus that we have.”

Now, and especially in the last 12 months, Deepak said with a renewed focus on its data services platform – centred on providing availability, protection and insights – Veritas has essentially got its groove back.

This resurgence was one of the reasons he himself returned to the company (after his stints at EMC, JourneyLabs and Carbonite), and from the customers’ perspective, he said, “Now we’re hearing continuously from customers that Veritas is reborn again and it is really residing well with our customers.”

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