Veritas is attempting to transform its core NetBackup product into an autonomous data management service operating across public clouds, on-premises datacenters, and edge sites. The company is spending a significant amount of engineering time and money doing this.
The key themes are autonomy and as-a-service. The whole project started two years ago, and the first public inkling of this came with the release of NetBackup 10 (NBU 10) and an IT press tour at Veritas’s Santa Clara HQ this month.
Veritas also promoted internal execs and recruited new ones to bring its revamped software to the market. For example, Lissa Hollinger was promoted to SVP and CMO in February 2022, from being a VP running product and solutions marketing.
The org recruited ex-Accenture consultant Lawrence Wong to be an SVP and its chief strategy officer in January. He said Veritas had looked around at other companies with potentially appropriate technology, but decided it was better to take its NetBackup product and customer base and re-engineer the product. Then the customers could use what they are familiar with and trust, but as-a-service and with wholly new functionality to autonomously protect and manage their data.
Wong works closely with Doug Matthews, SVP for product management. Matthews told us that the engineering organization had closed down many extraneous projects to concentrate resources on the core products and their transformation.
It was a conscious decision not to follow the Commvault route and set up a separate division like Metallic for the whole technology. It did buy HubStor in January 2021 to get a SaaS-based data protection development team – an “acqui-hire.”
The magnitude of the task can be seen by Veritas receiving additional engineering and market funding from private equity owner Carlyle. It bought Veritas for $7.4 billion in 2015 and now it has pumped in more money – an unrevealed amount.
Wong told event attendees 87 percent of the Fortune 500 uses Veritas – 435 companies – and it has more than 80,000 customers in total. He said Veritas was number one in data protection, according to Gartner calculations, having a 15 percent enterprise backup market share. This differs from IDC calculations. Veeam says it is tied number one in data replication and protection revenue market share according to IDC, with $647.17 million in revenues (11.7 percent) alongside Dell with its $665.46 million (12 percent). Veritas is in the number three slot with $541.47 million (9.8 percent).
He said Veritas had a four-year no data loss record in the event of ransomware attacks, which was news to us and suggests an under-marketed product strength. The NBU roadmap includes integration with early warning systems and automated clean recovery at scale.
Veritas’s strategy comprises developing autonomy features, adding virtual air-gapped protection in the cloud, and AI-based ransomware resilience. It wants to deliver protection, availability, and compliance within and across hybrid, private, and public clouds with subscription and as-a-service business models.
Automation and autonomy
Veritas believes that automating data protection procedures is necessary, but not enough. The data protection product has to gain autonomy as well. There’s a difference between automation and autonomy – a washing machine is automated, a driverless car is autonomous.
Veritas declares it will eliminate the burden of human intervention from data management, but not oversight. Data management and protection should just happen, invisibly and autonomously, but without sacrificing overarching human control.
Autonomy combines automation with AI and machine learning so that the data protection system can adapt to changed circumstances and respond instantly. Autonomous Data Management will provide ransom-free recoveries – at any scale. It can actively defend against threats.
Matthews said: “We’re going to build a data lake of metadata to understand how people are protecting their data.” Veritas is building its own analytic routines for such data lakes, and will provide this as a service for MSPs to sell.
Wong chipped in: “This autonomousness will spread outside data protection, to secondary data management and archiving.” The autonomy features will come in a future release of NetBackup, building on the foundation set by NBU 10.
Veritas declares that multicloud autonomous data management will independently find and protect data no matter where it lives. It will continuously determine where and how to store it in the most efficient and secure way possible – all without human involvement.
Veritas is aiming to achieve annual revenue growth of 8 to >10 percent by 2026. This is a big ask. It is building a dedicated cloud specialist enabling team to be embedded with CSPs, partner system integrators, and managed service providers, which will help it raise sales.
Veritas claims using NetBackup can lower a customer’s carbon footprint. It quotes a US Grid Emission Factor and US Data Center Energy Usage report saying the energy equivalency of storing 1PB of unoptimized data in the cloud for one year can create 3.5 metric tonnes of CO2. NBU can reduce this with data reduction, leading to a lower network load and cloud footprint plus elastic cloud compute resource utilization.
The data reduction process will deduplicate global metadata in the cloud across customers, but it will not dedupe data across customers; the customer data boundary is sovereign.
Whatever calculations Gartner and IDC make, Veritas is a major data protection player and it is competing against Veeam, Druva, HYCU, Cohesity, Commvault, and Rubrik. As the amount of unstructured data grows, and as new workloads come into being – such as Kubernetes-orchestrated and edge applications – Veritas must stay relevant and is convinced it can grow.
The ambitious retooling of NetBackup is a huge engineering effort – Veritas’s moonshot if you will. If it can produce the autonomy goods in a post-v10 NBU release, then its enterprise customers should be well pleased and see no need to try competing products.
Matthews said the autonomy vision was conceived two years ago. “We don’t think Rubrik and Cohesity have autonomy on their roadmaps.”
Wong is bullish about the competition. He suggested that data protection startups with unfortified balance sheets could face consolidation if economic times get hard.