Veritas turns on utility computing

Utility computing is making headway at Veritas Software Corp., after the Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced plans to offer new on-demand software on Monday at the Veritas Vision 2003 conference in Las Vegas.

Jonathan Martin, senior director of product planning at Veritas’ head office, said the company is extending its classic focus on storage and infrastructure to “up the stack and out,” or into the application and into the server space, in order to extend or enable utility computing.

Utility computing refers to the ability of companies to access computing services, business processes and applications from a utility-like service over a network – the idea being that a company only pays for the storage it is using, as opposed to the alternative, which is buying more hardware.

Martin said the classic problems found with storage – the level of ordination and the utliization of storage space – was much worse in the server and application base.

“If we were getting 30 per cent utilization on our storage, then we were probably only getting 15 per cent on our servers,” he said. “This started [to make] us to look at these blanks…to look at ways to drive things faster and provide higher level of performance for servers and applications.”

Recent acquisitions of Precise Software Solutions Inc. and Jareva Technologies Inc. helped Veritas to fill in the blanks the company had with application performance and availability management products. It also provided Veritas with a utility approach to deliver IT service, Martin said.

Software from Precise can detect problems in the entire IT stack from applications to storage, Martin said, while Jareva has an automated server provision software technology. Veritas is thereby given the ability to identify performance bottlenecks anywhere between the application and the array.

“So if I’m a user interacting with Veritas and I see that interaction begin to slow down, we are able to use the Precise technology to detect exactly where this bottleneck occurred,” Martin said. “By hooking in with backend products like Jareva, we are given abilities to fix those problems in an automated way.”

The Veritas software announced Monday, expected by the end of the year, is designed to track the level of service provided by an IT department and bill them accordingly. Storage management capabilities will be able to link with application service level requirements.

The development of the Vertas on-demand initiative is a move that Steve Rubinow said will benefit his Chicago-based company. The chief technology officer with Archipelago Holdings LLC, an electronic stock exchange, has hardware from many different vendors that is not being utilized properly.

“Of course it’s a waste of money,” Rubinow said. “We’d like to be able to use them better than we do and we think about how we might be able to plug them into some kind of utility so they are not relegated or isolated to a particular purpose but they are available for different kinds of uses.”

With Veritas pushing forward with utility computing, Rubinow is certain that unutilized resources at Archipelago will be allocated to other areas within his storage environment.

“We need to understand how we can better use what we have, I’m hoping this software will help us,” he said.

The push toward utility computing does not mean Veritas is moving away from storage management software, Martin said, comparing a company’s demand for infrastructure to a water pipe.

Instead of having to call the water company to get water pipes activated, a new home owner just expects the water to be running in the pipes, Martin said, adding that people aren’t interested in the pipes but just want control of the water.

“We want to build much more mature software and services, to allow organizations to deliver storage and back-up in the same way you get electricity, water and communications,” Martin said. “We are aligning the changing needs of businesses with what IT is delivering.”

In related news, Veritas announced on Monday that its new Veritas Architect Network, an online storage software community designed for system administrators, database administrators and developers to exchange information about Veritas products and technology, is now available.

On Tuesday Veritas unveiled a roadmap for enterprise data protection. New capabilities planned for 2003 include a desktop/laptop data protection and synchronization technology, enhanced disk-based back-up and recovery capabilities and new archiving and data management tools.

Veritas and Cisco Systems Inc. teamed together to unveil intelligent switch-based storage management solutions, which will help companies increase the efficiency and utilization of storage and server resources, Veritas said in a statement. Customers can centrally manage software from a point within the network, provisioning storage as needed to applications running on host servers in a heterogeneous environment.

Veritas also revealed a partnership with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. for a joint development agreement that would see Veritas develop volume management and storage resource management software technology for the Brocade SilkWorm Fabric Application Platform. Veritas will use the Brocade XPath application programming interface to the SilkWorm Fabric AP development environment, to put storage management software intelligence to the switch.

More information about the announcements is available on the Web at