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Veritas Technologies focused on transition to hybrid cloud

Veritas VP Matt Cain talks about the hybrid spinoff's plans for NetBackup, Backup Exec, appliances, the hybrid cloud and data information.

Veritas Technologies is scheduled to complete its spin out from Symantec in January 2016, and will become a separate, publicly traded storage vendor. We spoke with Matt Cain, executive vice president and chief product officer of the new Veritas Technologies, about what the company will look like and what its strategy will be when the split occurs.

Cain said Veritas will have approximately $2.8 billion in revenue when the spinout is complete. It will have around 8,200 employees, including 4,400 in products development and support and around 2,900 in sales and marketing. Its headquarters will be in Mountain View, Calif.

Veritas Technologies will have four business units. The products will fall into backup and recovery (NetBackup and BackupExec), appliances, information availability (storage management, clustering and disaster recovery), and information intelligence (archiving, e-discovery and file classification).

John Gannon has been serving as general manager of Veritas Technologies since the split was announced. Is there a search for a Veritas CEO and board of directors ongoing?

Matt Cain: The Symantec board of directors will nominate a board of directors for Veritas and conduct a CEO search to line up with the separation timeline. That's part of the overall separation plan. We will make announcements when those positions are filled out.

When planning the spinoff, were there any products that overlapped between the security and information management groups?

Cain: Information management and security are diverging faster than they are coming together. That was the point of the separation. It was easy to determine which products would move to Veritas. There's no room for debate whether NetBackup, for example, belongs in Symantec or Veritas. But we've streamlined our strategy. There was no one in my role before the decision was made to separate. We've created an office of chief technology officer to make sure we're driving synergy across all of our business units. The separation has led to additional capabilities that make us more efficient.

What are the key technologies you will have to focus on to lead in information management?

Cain: Going back decades since the beginning of Veritas, our foundational portfolio has been all about building software to manage information and applications across heterogeneous environments -- multiple storage arrays, operating systems, all enterprise applications, and an increasingly diverse hypervisor layer.

Matt CainMatt Cain

But the biggest trend impacting our customers now is the shift to a hybrid cloud future. We plan to take our heritage managing heterogeneous environments with software and help customers transition to hybrid clouds, just like we helped them with the shift from tape to disk. So our foundational investment is about continuing to provide management solutions across heterogeneous environments at scale for the hybrid cloud.

How much do you see the cloud being used in backup, and how fast is that increasing?

Cain: We think the impact is quite significant. Customers want the flexibility of cloud, but they want to maintain the confidence they have in managing information and insuring that applications are available. We're focused on helping customers with the transition to hybrid cloud.

As far as backup specifically, we've been investing in solutions that allow customers to use NetBackup while leveraging third-party clouds as storage repositories. We have interoperability with clouds like Amazon and Google, and our customers are increasingly asking us to insure that's there. They depend on our solutions but want the flexibility of cloud.

We have a new platform that we'll be talking about in an upcoming release that is about application availability and not only moving from on-premise to cloud, but also in between private and public clouds.

There are already a lot of options for DR as a service. What are you doing there?

Cain: I'm looking forward to being able to talk about our release in a couple of weeks.

Your backup appliance business is outgrowing the market by a large margin. Are these customers mostly long-time NetBackup software customers who are switching to an integrated appliance?

Cain: We have a fantastic installed base. We have 40,000 enterprise customers on NetBackup. So most of the customers we've sold appliances to have been [previous] NetBackup customers. In some cases, they're refreshing the underlying hardware and servers, and leveraging an appliance form factor to make that easier. In some cases, they're adding new applications and their data is growing, and they're increasing their NetBackup footprint and determining the appliance is the best way to go. In other cases we have customers adding remote sites and find that appliances fit well in that type of deployment.

Are your largest customers moving to appliances yet?

Cain: We stated a while back that our mission is to double the capacity and performance of appliances every 12 to 18 months, and we have significantly over-executed on that commitment. We increased from 120 terabytes to over 230 terabytes of usable capacity in our shipping appliance now and we will double that through the back half of the year. You back up to recover and we've also focused on performance to get data out. We have certainly moved up in our ability to solve the biggest customers' challenges and are now having discussions with the largest enterprises based on our increased capacity.

Customers want the flexibility of cloud, but they want to maintain the confidence they have in managing information and insuring that applications are available.
Matt Cainchief production officer, Veritas Technologies

To give you a sense of how far we have to go, despite all of our success, we are still penetrating less than 10 percent of the NetBackup installed base. In any given quarter, between 40 percent and 50 percent of our appliance business is repeat purchases. Customers have bought into the value prop and are coming back for more as they manage their next generation info growth. We will continue to innovate because that value proposition is critical and our customers want more of it.

You've had two major releases of Backup Exec for SMBs over the past year, following a series of missteps with that product. Are you getting customers back, or convincing customers who stayed with older versions to upgrade?

Cain: Backup Exec is a big business for us. It's not one that we're as dependent on for growth, but we are focused on doing right by our customers and partners. Our last release delivered quite a few features, some around flexibility of leveraging the cloud as a data repository. Reaction to that release has been positive -- in terms of software usage and the support data that we track.

Symantec hasn't done much with end point backup. Will that change for Veritas Technologies after the separation?

Cain: In the enterprise we've found that most customers are not looking for a disparate solution to manage end points. Mission critical applications and information and databases that enterprise users are drawing upon are better backed up from a solution like NetBackup that's protecting servers rather than end points.

Will Veritas Technologies look to use acquisitions to build its IP or product portfolios?

Cain: Our roadmaps are all based on organic growth. We do believe that acquisitions can either accelerate or augment that which we can build or partner for, but because of our focus ensuring we hit our separation target dates while minimizing distractions, we will not be acquisitive from now to separation.

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