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Veritas Vision 2017: Veritas Cloud Storage, Access Appliance launch

With the release of Veritas Access Appliance and the object-based Cloud Storage, the storage software vendor follows a path it started down with NetBackup Appliances for backup.

LAS VEGAS -- Veritas Technologies -- the company that once billed itself as the "no hardware agenda" vendor -- today previewed two new data storage appliances at Veritas Vision 2017.

Veritas Cloud Storage will serve as a software or hardware object storage appliance for putting primary storage in the cloud. The Veritas Access Appliance will compete with the likes of Dell EMC Isilon and NetApp FAS, although weighted more for archiving than primary storage.

Veritas launched the new appliances during its Veritas Vision 2017 conference this week, along with other product upgrades, including data deduplication for cloud data protection in NetBackup and parallel streaming to protect NoSQL, Hadoop and Cassandra workloads.

The Veritas Access Appliance is available both in hardware and a software-defined storage appliance that scales to 4.8 PB. The Veritas Access Appliance targets high-performance workloads and media streaming. The software enables long-term and short-term archiving, on premises or in public clouds. It enables data migration for multicloud deployments and serves as a primary archive store for Veritas Enterprise Vault software for long-term data retention.

The Veritas Cloud Storage appliance integrates object storage with the Veritas Classification Engine metadata tags to enable more specific data identification and indexing for unstructured data. The index and classification technologies work in tandem with a policy management capability so customers can apply security, data retention and protection policies to data.

Veritas appliance approach follows NetBackup path

Historically, Veritas -- first as an independent company, then as part of Symantec -- sold software that supported hardware vendor devices. But Symantec began selling its flagship NetBackup software on an integrated appliance in 2010, going against the traditional model of selling backup software and hardware targets separately.

Veritas still pushes a 'no hardware agenda,' but it is working on carving out market share with integrated appliances with intelligent storage.

Now Veritas, spun out of Symantec in early 2016, is selling appliances for non-backup data with the Veritas Access Appliance and Cloud Storage.

"Our goal with our customers is to allow them to integrate software period," said Mike Palmer, the vendor's chief product officer, during Veritas Vision 2017. "But often what has happened in our space is our OEM competitors have not allowed for open integration. So we have an opportunity to offer a simple deployment method that is really a way of integrating our software.

"Our customers who want to deploy our software on any white box architecture are certainly welcome to do it," Palmer added. "We are training our VARs to do reference architectures for customers who choose other hardware products. What we don't want to see is customers' inability to adopt our software because they don't have the skills to go build their own hardware solutions."

Veritas Cloud Storage for primary cloud data

The specifications for the Veritas Cloud Storage appliance are not yet available. Veritas executives said the cloud appliance is designed for primary storage or tier-one production workloads. The integrated software will handle search indexing, big data analytics and data classification for regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.

The Veritas Cloud Storage software provides a global namespace across sites and clouds, bit rot detection and correction, and encryption for data in flight and at rest. It also uses compression and erasure coding to reduce and protect data.

Both appliances are part of the Veritas 360 Data Management platform that includes NetBackup and the Veritas Information Map product, which first launched at last year's user conference. During Veritas Vision 2017, the vendor announced more than 20 new connectors for Information Map that give customers visibility into data located in Box, Azure Blob storage, Google G Suite, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange, to name a few.

"Going forward, we are going to add more and more every quarter so you can manage 360 degrees all your unstructured data and structured data," Veritas CEO Bill Coleman said.

Veritas still pushes a "no hardware agenda," but it is working on carving out market share with integrated appliances with intelligent storage.

"We actually will be announcing a series of things during the course of the year that are hardware-based, all of which though will always be software-based as well," Palmer said. "We see a big market opportunity to add value in the storage instead of just simply storing the data. On the hardware side, we understand customers find it easier to deploy hardware than to integrate their own. So for us this is really just a matter of providing a simple form factor for landing software."

Palmer likened the new appliances to Veritas' approach to backup with NetBackup Appliances.

"The storage business is significant in enterprise," he said. "It's not as fast growing as it once was but still a growth opportunity for us, just like we demonstrated with our NetBackup integrated appliance. That market was not a double-digit growth market and it still is not a double-digit growth market, except we are growing 20% plus every year because we understood that the value and price-point customers want are not being offered by the OEM community. We believe that is going to be true in storage as well."

Chad Thibodeau, principal product manager at Veritas, said the vendor built its object storage from the ground up. He said there is some overlap with the two new appliances, but they are targeting different use cases.

"The Access Appliance is targeting scale-out and long-term data retention workloads while the cloud storage targets analytics and tier-one production workloads," Thibodeau said.

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