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Backup Exec and NetBackup Will Finally Connect to Azure Storage

Microsoft Azure will finally become a native storage target for users of Backup Exec and NetBackup, which are among the most widely used data protection and DR software offerings. Veritas, the maker of the two backup and recovery suites, this week announced Azure as a target planned for new releases scheduled for next quarter. Moreover, Veritas said it will offer usage-based pricing in addition to the current subscription and perpetual licenses now offered with both Backup Exec and NetBackup.

The long-awaited native Azure connectivity was just one in a barrage of new offerings as the company looks to extend its core storage software offerings into a broader range of information management and governance tools now that Veritas is no longer a part of security vendor Symantec.

Nearly a year since Symantec sold Veritas off to private equity firm Carlyle Group, the company this week held its first Veritas Vision conference since 2004, when the security giant acquired it for $13.5 billion. At the time, the companies argued that backup and recovery and DR are key components of data security. But cultures clashed followed by many years of turmoil at Symantec, which took a toll on the Veritas business, though it remains a leading supplier of data protection software.

Veritas has remained largely quiet in recent years, though the company kicked off the conference with a new, more aggressive attitude. Putting its stake in the ground, company officials reminded customers that it's a pure software provider that intends to, among other things, reduce customers' dependency on expensive storage hardware.

To make its new attitude clear, the company came out swinging at Dell and its newly acquired EMC and controlling stake in VMware. Veritas ran a full page ad in The Wall Street Journal with the headline: "What's Worse Than a Life of Hardware with EMC? An Eternity with Dell." Company officials talked up the ad, and distributed the newspaper after the keynote. Throughout the event, Veritas took aim at Dell, EMC and VMware, saying the latter was proprietary software designed to lock them into hardware.

Mike Palmer, Veritas' senior VP for data insights and orchestration solutions, sees that as an opportunity for customers and a clear target of its efforts.

"I think we're starting to see the end of VMware run," Palmer said in an interview during this week's conference. "We're seeing customers looking for alternatives to their VMware environments. And that is fueling an adoption of containers as the next solution, if you will, to give them the same sort of hardware value that VMware did, that they are looking for some service augmentation."

With the company's focus on extending its core backup and recovery software and its Enterprise Vault Archive (EVA) platform, used for archiving Exchange and now Office 365 data, Veritas is reading a number of new offerings that'll offer full information discovery and offer more scalability to emerging emerging hybrid cloud architectures. Among some new wares in the works:

  • Information Map: a new visualization tool that will give access to unstructured "dark" data initially tied to NetBackup. Available now, the company is offering a free trial.
  • Veritas Access: New scale-out network-attached storage (NAS) software that can run on commodity x86 hardware, which the company said will let organizations more easily discover and access information and move unstructured data to appropriate disk tiers or public cloud storage based on usage patterns. Veritas Access will support AWS and OpenStack clouds and creates a network-attached storage (NAS) tool that organizations can run on commodity x86 hardware.
  • Hybrid Cloud Orchestration: NetBackup will integrate with the Veritas Resiliency Platform 2.1 to provide automated orchestration to facilitate complex recoveries supporting thousands of virtual machines.  
  • HyperScale: A software-defined storage architecture for deploying tier-one applications in private clouds, initially OpenStack from Red Hat. A version for Docker containers is also under development.

Analysts said the company has created a strong roadmap built off its core strengths. "For them to come out and say that they're going to have an intelligent data management platform and that platform is going to enable both the data management and governance side but do it by actually increasing the availability of the lower tiers, I think is really smart. It's very aspirational," said Enterprise Strategy Group Analyst Jason Buffington.

Nevertheless, Veritas remains most synonymous with its bread and butter data protection software. Indeed, Backup Exec is among the more widely used platforms for backing up data running on Windows and Windows Server, especially Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server as well as file servers. For larger enterprise environments, NetBackup is designed to protect larger systems that are operating system and virtual machine independent. Among Veritas' key rivals, Acronis, CommVault and Veeam are offering connectivity to Azure as well as Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 storage. Veritas extended support to AWS and Google Cloud Platform earlier this year. Connectors to Azure storage will come in Backup Exec 16 and NetBackup 8.0 in the fourth quarter. The new releases will also include connectors to private clouds based on Red Hat's OpenStack distribution.

Veritas has built the new cloud connectors based on what it calls its Open Storage Technology (or OST), used across its entire data protection portfolio including its Enterprise Vault Archive (EVA) platform, used for archiving Exchange and now Office 365 data, among other content. "OST is an open standard in terms of how vendors can plug in to us," said Simon Jelley, VP of backup and recovery product management at Veritas, in an interview during the conference this week. "It enables not just our ability to work with any storage vendor to ensure the certification, support, compatibility and guaranteed performance between us but it also ensures that any data that moves to a storage target, be it a cloud, disk or tape target, that we still catalog and track the copies of that data."

Veritas executives expressed confidence in the company's new roadmap. "Your information is your most important asset, but you really can't harness the power of it today," said Veritas CEO Bill Coleman during the conference's opening keynote session this week.  "Data is exploding. It's everywhere, it's redundant, it's hard to access and the costs are going through the roof. And if you don't learn how to access that data and your competitors do, they're going to win. We can help you discover the true value of your data. We want to give information to you that you need, to map out your own digital transformation."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/16/2016 at 2:39 PM


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