VERITAS Throws Hat into On-Demand Ring

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VERITAS Software has embraced the red-hot trend of utility computing with its announcement of several new on-demand software initiatives and programs.

Utility computing, an approach in which companies call up computing properties as a metered service, is becoming a major force on the IT scene, as leading vendors such as IBM, HP, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, and Computer Associates have all adopted some sort of utility computing strategy at a time when businesses are financially constrained. Mountain View, Calif.-based Veritas made the announcement at its Veritas Vision 2003 conference in Las Vegas, less than a week after rival EMC was stationed in the same city for its own technology summit.

Mark Bregman, executive vice president of product operations at Veritas, says the fruits of its utility computing push come from two acquisitions, Precise Software and Jareva Technologies, the
firm announced last December for a combined $599 million. With those plays, Veritas looked to transform from a provider of storage management software power to a maker of systems with application performance and availability management products.

Bregman said his firm is looking to attack a market where there is currently a tug of war with CIOs looking for better performance and availability from
applications while the CEO and CFO want lower IT costs. That’s why firms have been rushing to roll out utility services.

Bregman told Veritas came to compare the demand for infrastructure to a water company pipe. “People using the water aren’t interested in the pipes and plumbing, or infrastructure, but they would like to control the water, or content. That’s what we’re giving them. People
don’t want four-hour showers, they want to be able to turn off the water they don’t need.”

Bill North, research director for storage software at IDC, believes the move shouldn’t come as a surprise to astute followers of Veritas, which he said
over the last few years has quietly asserted itself as a leader in cluster server management. He said the firm is using that hammer, one also wielded
by Microsoft, IBM, HP, and Sun, to join the utility computing fray.

“They’ve always clustered Windows, Unix, and multiple platforms with the message that ‘we can do it everywhere,'” North said. “With Precise, they
gain stuff that you’ll find in storage resource management such as reporting tools and quota enforcement. The other piece is complementary and helps them
tap into new markets. Precise has excellent application performance management tools. Veritas has been in the application-centric storage management business for awhile, but this links the top level applications from SAP. It’s a great extension to the offerings they’ve added, to be able to link storage management capabilities to application service-level requirements.”

North said startup Jareva automates the provisioning of servers, which is another market that is changing.

“Historically, we’ve seen moves from mainframes to open systems distribute platforms with almost mainframe-like capabilities. Now, we’re seeing the emergence of blade computing coming into play somehow, and they are aggregated and turned into large systems. Not many people have the tools to provide application performance management, server provisioning, and clustering on their own, along with all of the storage and SAN management products. I
expect to see them integrate so you get a simple, single pane of glass management.”

Veritas Going Autonomic

As for the specifics, Veritas has integrated its software with Precise and Jareva software to create systems that can heal themselves, a practice known
as autonomic computing in some circles. Precise’s software tracks degradation, diagnoses the issue and notifies Jareva software that a new web server machine is required. Jareva provisions the machine and hands it to Veritas Cluster Server to manage. This relationship keeps the system from bogging down.

To address hardware costs, Veritas has paired its Volume Manager and Veritas OpForce, which it picked up from Jareva, together with Cluster Server, so
that storage and server resources can be shared. Bregman said new storage and server virtualization software tackles the issue of the lack of utilization. Previously, a new disk or server was purchased when they were maxed out. The company also addressed labor costs of managing storage and server hardware with SANPoint Control, which performs zoning, masking, and provisioning, and OpForce, which provisions servers when required.

The firm also introduced Service Manager to let IT staff define services they will provide to business applications. The software tracks a delivered
service and calculates how much IT cost was incurred, which is then provided through a portal back to the business. Currently in beta, Service Manager is
expected to be generally available in Q4 2003.

As for its competition with rival EMC, North expects it to stay heated, with the same “cooptition” gloss they’ve always shown. But whereas EMC is focused
in storage utility with AutoIS, Veritas can now extend computing utility outside the storage space.

This article originally appeared on Internet News.

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Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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