The world is becoming more dynamic and distributed, and that’s having a profound impact on the vendor landscape.
Some traditional vendors, such as Microsoft were able to make the shift to the cloud and have thrived, although it required dumping Steve Ballmer. Others are stuck in the legacy world and could have a hard time adjusting the business to meet the demands of their customers. For example, Dell-EMC went private to re-tool and in the midst of transforming itself. Time will tell if it’s successful.
One company that I considered to be part of the legacy world is storage management vendor Veritas. It’s essentially still a backup and recovery company. Recently though, the company has made some moves and said some things that make me wonder if there’s something big coming from them.
3 clues Veritas is working on a data and information management platform
Last year, Veritas made an acquisition that I felt flew under the radar regarding M&A news when it purchased a startup called Avni. Avni had been working on a cloud management platform similar to CliQr, which Cisco acquired in 2016. The goal was to essentially virtualize the cloud for seamless application rollouts and to easily move workloads across disparate clouds.
Avni remained in stealth mode for the first 18 months. Later on, it gained significant traction from large enterprises and cloud service providers, and it was named a “Software Defined Cloud Cool Vendor” for 2016 by Gartner.
In my opinion, the strongest asset Avni had was its leadership. Its founder and CEO, Rohini Kasturi, has almost 25 years of executive experience with 25-plus patents in cloud, virtualization, applications, software, and networking, with time spent at companies such as Juniper, Cisco and Lucent. He has an extremely strong team and a network of distinguished engineers, product managers, including product and engineering leaders. I’ve known Kasturi for some time and he excels in building strong teams and execution to turn great ideas into high-quality products.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Kasturi is vice president/head of the Cloud and Data Management Business Unit and appears to have been that since Veritas acquired Avni. It’s my assumption that if Veritas is planning a major new product, it will be multi-cloud, focused on data and information management, and makes sense to have him head up that team. Kasturi’s profile does give an indication of what Veritas is planning and how it’s going to get there with the following description:
- Building emerging product portfolio focused on Multi-Cloud Data and Information Management
- Responsible for all aspects — Product Vision & Strategy, Business/ Partnership Development, Product Management, Engineering, and overall execution
The second piece of the puzzle is Veritas’ new CEO, Greg Hughes, who has a strong cloud and data background, is a former Symantec exec, and is responsible for a successful turnaround of Serena software. As many of his recent announcements reiterate, multi-cloud data management is the future of Veritas.
The final piece of the puzzle comes from something said by Bill Coleman, former CEO of Veritas, Veritas’ board member and operating partner at Carlyle:
“Next year we will publish our APIs, and we’ll also ship our software development kit so third parties can build their applications for our platform. Last year, I said we are going to be a platform company, and we are going to build a first-generation platform, which we have done. Then we will build a follow-on to that, which I call the Enterprise Data Management platform, that will be an end-to-end, purpose-built, cloud native microservice, container-based architecture. But the key to that is adding the analytics plane. So, we will add a plane to separate all the analytics services and provide all the abilities to discover and manage not just the enterprise data, but any other data based on whatever problem you are working on.
“We will use predictive analytic, identify the data sources both internally and externally. We’ll mine the metadata and take that to determine what data you actually need to turn that into a dynamic warehouse and solve that problem”
To understand the “big picture” problem they are trying to solve, I’ll rely on a quote from a blog by ESG that attended Veritas Vision in 2017. Veritas’ chief product officer talked about the Veritas’ data management story at this conference, which attracted a lot of attention from analysts and customers.
“See, the difference between a data management story and a data protection story is in the data protection story, all you’re doin’ is makin’ copies. And yes, you gotta make copies, and that includes backups and snapshots and replicas. But if you don’t know what you have, you are limited by that. And the only way that you know what you have is if you go beyond backup towards archive and understanding what is the information within the data. If you have that, then you can define policies that are based on business value and not just based on technology. Cloud is the new Operating System of the Enterprise, and Data is exponentially growing and more specifically Cloud is the destination of the data.
As Infrastructure and Application tooling is owned by the Cloud providers, the value is in the Data and the Information. And that’s where the future is headed, and that’s the story that the new Veritas is telling. It’s gonna be really exciting to watch them over the next couple of years. But it starts with a compelling narrative and a leadership team that can carry it forward. And Veritas has that.”
At the outset of this post, I called Veritas a company that does backups, but it seems to be heading in a direction where it can do true data management, a key component for digital businesses, as good data is required for good insights. Bad data will lead to bad insights. If Veritas is building a data management platform, this could be huge for it and could be the catalyst for growth in its second act and play a similar role that Azure did for Microsoft.
Companies have literally petabytes of data scattered everywhere, much of which is redundant or old copies of the same data. Also, there is a massive amount of unstructured and unorganized data being created daily. And with more IoT devices being connected daily, the problem is only going to get worse.
Veritas appears to have the right vision, and with the shrewd acquisition of Avni, it also has the right people and platform to build on. It’s “next year” now, quoting Coleman, so we should see something major soon.