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Veritas plans to revive backup fortunes with big data analytics

Symantec spin-out Veritas plans major backup product releases that leverage metadata to make backups more efficient and unlock valuable information via big data capabilities

Veritas plans to inject big data analytics capabilities into its backup products as it announces new offerings and splits from Symantec.

The move aims to allow customers to carry out backups more efficiently, as well as gain value from data retained by carrying out analytics on file metadata collected during backups, chief product officer Matt Cain told Computer Weekly.

“There is great fragmentation across customer environments between arrays, hypervisors and the cloud, for example. The customer challenge is to manage and gain value from ‘target-rich data’, which is a very small percentage of the total retained,” he said. 

“One of the greatest assets we have is the NetBackup catalogue. We collect a lot of information about mission-critical data and applications. We believe there’s a great opportunity to gain visibility, extract information, carry out analyses and to unlock information from the data we collect as part of our tasks. We do this by using the metadata attached to files, among other things,” said Cain.

According to Cain, such an approach will, on the one hand, allow customers to make backups more efficient. 

“Backup can be optimised with visibility into what’s happening. This allows the customer to ask, ‘Why are we doing daily incrementals on this data that’s not been used for six or eight months?’, for example,” he said. 

Other possible uses Cain mentioned were the ability to identify potentially useful data from its metadata and migrate it to Hadoop to run analytics.

These ideas form part of what Cain called Veritas’s “information fabric” and will be incorporated into a number of major product releases “across the fiscal year”, bringing innovation to Veritas’s backup and recovery software and appliance products. Cain also said the company plans to enter the disaster recovery-as-a-service market.

Symantec announced in late-2014 that it planned to spin out its backup software and appliances division by the end of 2015 as Veritas Technologies. Veritas became part of security supplier Symantec in 2005.

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The plan had been to merge the security and storage capabilities of the two businesses, but that never happened. Its two main backup products – NetBackup for enterprise backup and the mid-range Backup Exec – have suffered problems in recent years.

The latest version of NetBackup, version 7.6, was more than a year late being released. 

Previously, Backup Exec 2012 was received poorly by existing customers because of changes to the backup process. Backup Exec 2014, released summer 2014, fixed those problems. Symantec also discontinued Backup Exec cloud as it lacked support for file sharing and mobile devices. 

More recently, Symantec’s position as top backup supplier has been under assault from virtualisation backup specialist Veeam, which has climbed rapidly to being the second most popular backup supplier in Computer Weekly/TechTarget surveys.

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