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Legato swipes Veritas users

Legato claims users everywhere are ripping out their Veritas software and replacing it with Legato NetWorker, but Veritas begs to differ. Is Legato eating Veritas' lunch?

Legato Systems Inc. says that, in recent weeks, more than 100 users have ripped out productsfrom Veritas Software Corp. and replaced them with Legato's NetWorker backup software. But despite Legato's rebirth as a newly acquired division of EMC Corp., it remains to be seen whether the company can overcome Veritas' stranglehold on the backup and recovery software market.

There is evidence that Legato has experienced at least a modicum of success in converting Veritas users to NetWorker.

Michael O'Dell, chief information officer for the Pacific Coast Companies Inc., a Sacramento, Calif.-based holding company, recently swapped out his Veritas NetBackup infrastructure in favor of Legato NetWorker.

The move was prompted by a simple fact: NetBackup was no longer keeping up with the task of backing up the company's 700 GB SAP database. "We were faced with the lack of time available in a day to back up the SAP system," O'Dell said.

It was "difficult to continue with Veritas" O'Dell explained, because the group had never been able to get the software to perform beyond 12 Mbps. On average, O'Dell's group saw speeds of between 6 and 8 Mbps.

The company contracted with Veritas professional services, to no avail.

"What it came down to, after spending tens of thousands of dollars to tune it, was one of three things: Your SAP server isn't fast enough, your network is too slow, or your team isn't capable," he said.

The results of the switch to Legato were encouraging.

"Right out of the box, Legato installed NetWorker," O'Dell said, "and we saw 35 Mbps -- with the same network" but not the same backup server. Now, he said, "the database server doesn't look like it's pegged at all. It looks bored silly."

O'Dell was pleased with the price, too. "Legato was much cheaper," he said. In fact, O'Dell said, it was cheaper to buy Legato fresh out of the box than it would have been "to upgrade our existing Windows licenses to AIX." He concedes that he got "a special deal": "People have told me I got a ridiculous deal. I didn't think it was ridiculous; I thought it was wonderful."

In a strange turn of events, one of O'Dell's employees eventually spoke with a different Veritas professional, who gave him some tips on reinstalling NetBackup. To make a long story short: it worked fine. "In the process of trying to tune it, it's possible the consultants actually made it go slower," O'Dell said. They maintain Veritas software in order to restore from old tapes, but it will eventually be phased out.

Legato has also pointed to a customer called Applera Corp., which has rejected Veritas in favor of standardizing on NetWorker.

Brenda Zawatski, vice president of product and solutions marketing at Veritas, said that Legato's claims of stolen Veritas users are unfounded.

"Generally, anytime we're going to lose a big deal, I get a phone call," Zawatski said. Though users are always consolidating or switching vendors, she said, she hasn't received any calls about lost accounts.

The one sure thing is that Veritas has historically had a stranglehold on the backup and recovery software market, with close to 50% market share. Legato rates about 8% of the total market, according to Gartner Inc. Experts say Legato still has an uphill battle ahead of it.

Jamie Gruener, senior analyst with the Yankee Group Inc., Boston, said Legato needs to get back into product cycles that it might have lost prior to being acquired by EMC.

"Legato is a lot stronger than it was a year ago, but a lot of the damage has been done. They're going to need to steal market share," Gruener said.

Todd Cadley, Legato's manager of corporate communications, agrees that Legato has a long way to go before it can try to muscle Veritas out of the top spot in the backup market. But he believes that, with EMC behind Legato, it has nowhere to go but up.

"[Veritas is] definitely the No. 1 provider, but we still had record revenues in our last quarter," Cadley said. "We know where they are, and we're just taking the gloves off. We wouldn't do it if we didn't think we had the arrows in our quivers."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Kevin Komiega, news editor.

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