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Veritas, NetApp tighten integration to battle EMC

Veritas and NetApp have joined forces to build snapshot support into NetBackup. But while the partnership is aimed at creating better support for mutual customers, many believe it's really about battling EMC's Legato software division.

A partnership that began in August 2003 between Veritas Software Corp. and Network Appliance Inc. has begun to bear fruit. The companies announced Monday that the latest version of Veritas' backup and recovery software supports snapshot technology for point-in-time copies on Network Appliances' network-attached storage (NAS) filers.

But is NetBackup 5.1 any better at managing Network Appliance (NetApp) boxes than other software? After all, many software packages support NetApp filers, including Atempo's Time Navigator, CommVault's Galaxy and Legato's NetWorker software.

The difference, according to Veritas, is the level of integration between the two products. Users no longer have to use NetApp's proprietary tools to manually create snapshots. Veritas said that with NetBackup 5.1 and NetBackup 5.1 Advanced Client, the process of creating snapshots on NetApp filers is now automated.

Unfortunately, neither company was able to disclose any cost benefits for users who bought a Veritas-NetApp integrated storage system. Discounts, according to Veritas, depend on individual customer environments..

NetApp, of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Veritas, of Mountain View, Calif., partnered in 2003 to offer better technical support, new product features and a tag-team storage implementation process to their mutual customers. But many believe the duo joined forces for the sole purpose of presenting a unified front against EMC Corp. and its Legato software division. Neither company would say how many joint customers they have.

Veritas and NetApp, seen as long-time competitors, became friendly just after EMC acquired Legato for $1.3 billion in July 2003.

Glenn Groshans, director of product marketing at Veritas, would not say whether

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the EMC acquisition of Legato spawned the Veritas-NetApp relationship, but did say the partnership has resulted in new levels of functionality for Veritas' and NetApp's mutual customers. "Customers have complex environments when it comes to storage and data protection solutions, and the joint relationship with NetApp is poised to bring a new level of interoperability to customers," he said.

According to Groshans, the release of NetBackup 5.1 and its support for snapshots is the first of three projects mapped out for co-development by the two companies. The company is planning to integrate management features for NetApp filers into Veritas' Data Lifecycle Manager product. Groshans would not comment on the third project or the timing of these releases.

Veritas owns a significant share of the backup market, but the latest numbers from Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corp. (IDC), show that Veritas is second behind EMC in storage software. According to IDC, the combined revenue results of EMC and Legato led the overall storage software market in the first quarter of 2004 with 30.1% of the market compared to Veritas' 22.8% market share.

GlassHouse Technologies storage consultant Jeff Harbert said EMC is a formidable competitor with significant resources, making Legato a stronger player than it was independently. "Prior to the acquisition, Legato was floundering: they had a broad spectrum of data protection products, but didn't offer a clear integration strategy for these technologies. Now, with the engineering and sales resources that EMC brings to the table, Legato's products are part of a bigger, cohesive storage management picture," Harbert said.

Along with Snapshot support, NetBackup 5.1 also offers up to 256-bit encryption, support for IBM DB2, as well as Microsoft SQL and Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service for Exchange 2003 on Windows Server 2003.

NetBackup 5.1 starts at $2,000 and is available for UNIX, Windows and Linux operating systems.

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