CFD3 Prep Post: Veritas

This is part of my series of posts on Cloud Field Day 3.

Veritas Logo

Ah, Veritas.

I spent a lot of time with the Veritas suite of products early in my career. VxVM, VxFS, VVR, VCS, on Sun Solaris and HP-UX. Then I spent a lot of time with NetBackup versions 4, 5 and 6.

I was quite annoyed when Symantec bought Veritas. Some upstart PC anti-virus company buying the Serious Business™ Veritas? How gauche.

And then, after ten years basically futzing around with something it didn’t know what to do with, Symantec spun out Veritas by selling it to the Carlyle Group in 2016.

Veritas is back on its own, and with basically the same set of product types: business continuity and data protection. There are some additional products from adjacent use-cases—information governance with Enterprise Vault, for example—but mostly it’s the original Veritas we knew and loved, back for another stab at things without the anti-virus people getting in the way.

Relevance To Cloud

A lot has changed in the twelve years since Symantec bought Veritas. The cloud is a thing, for example.

The majority of these Veritas products come from a time before cloud, and before startups put all a bunch of backup software into a single server full of disk and sold it as an appliance. Software written in an age where Data Domain was ten years ago and backup to disk isn’t some weirdly exotic idea. For the record: I was a major proponent of backups to disk as a source of rapid restore while everyone around me seemed to think VTL was the future.

So while Veritas has a brand heritage that the new players could only dream of, it also needs newness to remain relevant. Why did we use Veritas products on Solaris? Because SDS was okay if you didn’t need to do anything serious, but everyone used VxVM and VVR because it worked and everyone knew that it worked and we could trust that it would work. When you’re keeping data safe, that’s kinda important.

I personally reckon Veritas could trade on that reputation more than they do. It suffered a big hit from Symantec having no idea how to manage the brand and not investing in it for ages, but that’s repairable.

I do wonder about the product suite, though. What is cloudy about what Veritas sells today, exactly? I mean, it’s all just software, and software is what all the cool analysts want companies to be about. We have infrastructure companies madly scrambling to have nothing to do with hardware because some financial analysts said they should (a rant for another time) and putting the word “cloud” next to everything no matter if it makes any sense.

It shouldn’t really be that hard for Veritas to cloudify itself. Veritas has always been software, and now that everyone is falling over themselves to be “software defined” they could point at a 25 year history of being software and simply say: “What took you so long?”

Hopefully Veritas can find a way to continue on for another 25 years.


Disclosure: Veritas Australia has been a client of PivotNine. We ran a round-table for them and wrote a whitepaper based on the discussion in 2017. We have no ongoing or planned work with Veritas, and are not actively pursuing any, but we’d happily work with them again if the opportunity arose.

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