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Data protection and management provider Veritas announced several new product releases and a new partnership with Microsoft Azure this week at the Veritas Vision conference in Las Vegas.

Veritas, which about a year and a half ago split from former parent company Symantec, has been busy pushing its hybrid and multi-cloud data protection and management solutions via its 360 Data Management product portfolio, which includes the popular flagship offering NetBackup.

“When Veritas was under Symantec, it was almost like it was buried under this one BU, and they literally had to launch just one product in the last 10 years they were under Symantec,” says Jyothi Swaroop, vice president of solutions portfolio for Veritas. “In the year and a half we’ve been out from under Symantec, we’ve launched six brand new products, and our strategy has completely pivoted to the cloud. We’re no longer just a legacy company that does data protection really well. We’re a company that’s relevant in the cloud, and that’s only possible because we’re an independent company.”

More than 80 percent of Veritas’s revenue flows through its channel customers, and the company says since its split from Symantec, 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies are now Veritas customers.

“We consider ourselves a $2.5 billion startup, if you will,” says Swaroop.

NetBackup 8.1 enhancements

The company’s “bread and butter” is around NetBackup and its data backup and recovery capabilities, which have grown in popularity following high-profile cloud outages in recent years such as that suffered by British Airways earlier this year. Most cloud service providers’ service agreements clearly state that the provider is not responsible for end-to-end data protection. This week, Veritas announced an enhancement to its flagship product to directly address that gap.

NetBackup 8.1 gives assurance of an on-prem data protection environment in the multi-cloud world, says Swaroop. To that end, the new version offers powerful new deduplication technology called CloudCatalyst that shrinks the data customers move to the cloud.

“We all know the cloud offers great agility, but it does cost a lot of money. Over the past five years, customers have found that out the hard way,” Swaroop explains. “We’re able to dedup data to the highest level, which we believe is four times faster than any industry standard out there. We’ve demonstrated it against almost everyone, so this is groundbreaking for our customers.”

The company also introduced NetBackup Parallel Streaming as part of the 8.1 enhancement, which is essentially an API-based plugin into new workloads, whether it’s NoSQL, Hadoop, Cassandra or hyper-converged infrastructure with Nutanix, with whom Veritas announced a new partnership this week at Vision.

Finally, Veritas also released a new appliance with the upgrade, which is essentially NetBackup 8.1 on a commodity server that scales to hundreds of petabytes and protects the entire environment, whether in the cloud or on-prem. Swaroop says the Veritas NetBackup 5340 Appliance is primarily a channel play.

“Most of our channel customers are not Fortune 500 companies where they have an army of people to go build stuff themselves: buy the software from Veritas, buy a server from someone else, buy networking from another vendor and piece it all together. The 5340 just makes it easy.”

Deeper partnership with Microsoft Azure

Gartner predicts that the worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 18 percent in 2017 to total $246.8 billion, up from $209.2 billion in 2016. It’s the perfect time, says Swaroop, for Veritas to deepen its strategic partnership with Microsoft Azure.

“From day one that we decided to take this cloud journey, Microsoft has been with us, so we’ve been able to map this whole 360 data management strategy and products and solutions onto Veritas’s Microsoft Azure platform, including Microsoft SQL server, OneDrive, Office 365 and other Microsoft offerings.”

The deeper strategic alliance with Azure was an easy go-to-market play for both companies, said Swaroop, since Microsoft and Veritas have been in the infrastructure B2B business for years and have a lot of joint customers that have been pushing for such a partnership. The number one use case for Veritas’s longtime data archive product Enterprise Vault, for example, has been to archive Office 365. So the move from point product collaboration to a full portfolio engagement just makes sense.

“Joint Veritas and Microsoft customers have the best of both worlds: the flexibility and agility of Azure cloud combined with the trusted toolset of the Vertias 360 data management platform,” said Mark Russinovich, CTO of Microsoft Azure, in a statement. “Customers can use these offerings to optimize for hybrid cloud environments as they get more value from their data.”

Move into software-defined storage

“Very few people know that Veritas was the first company that did software-defined storage way back in the 90s. It was called VOS: Veritas Oracle and Sun Microsystems,” Swaroop says.

VOS was a file system to help run Oracle databases efficiently on Sun Microsystems hardware. Then the world moved toward dedicated storage because it required more performance than servers could then give. Given Veritas’s history with software-defined products, the company had the opportunity to build storage from the ground up and modernize the data center for on-prem.

Veritas has zero ambitions to become a cloud service provider and compete with the likes of Azure or AWS, says Swaroop. Instead, it wants to give customers a way to store their secondary backup data out of NetBackup in an efficient way on-prem if they so choose. To that effect, this week the company announced a new product called Veritas Cloud Storage, software-defined storage that runs on commodity servers with embedded machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“Generally speaking, storage is considered ‘dumb.’ It’s just a place where you throw data and forget about it because all your BI tools and everything else will take care of the intelligence. What if we could incorporate some intelligence into the metadata, so as soon as it’s pulled up, there’s already intelligence involved?”

Cloud Storage can predict, for example, how much storage a customer will need over the next six months or when the next backup job should be run. Veritas envisions the product as a vertical play, as well, for industries such as healthcare. Swaroop lays out an example where when a patient’s scan is pulled up, the storage and metadata is able to analyze data from the last several months to make recommendations to the patient.

Because Veritas was able to build Cloud Storage from the ground up and wasn’t tied by legacy software and protocols, it could give the product scalability to handle quintillion objects from day one. Cloud Storage, too, will have a new appliance, the Veritas Access Appliance that is a software-defined file-based storage product on a commodity Seagate server to offer channel partners an “easy button” to deploy their storage.

Veritas 360 channel strategy

To make it easy for channel partners to consume, the company is bundling all these products into a 360 Data Management Suite, available in bronze, silver or gold.

“If you’re a channel partner thinking of migrating data to the cloud, protecting data in the cloud or on-prem, getting visibility into the data whether it’s on-prem or in multiple clouds, Veritas is the only company that can help you do that.”