The Utility Basics

CEO: Veritas' building blocks let buyers exploit own resources.

Veritas Software Corp. has been strengthening its utility computing offerings in the past several months through the acquisitions of three software developers: Ejasent Inc., Precise Software Solutions Ltd. and Jareva Technologies Inc. Veritas CEO Gary Bloom said he believes that his company, with its established leadership in storage management and independence from any particular hardware platform, is well-positioned to help customers increase the utilization of their IT resources by centrally managing distributed computing resources. eWEEK Department Editor John S. McCright and Senior Writer Brian Fonseca sat down with Bloom at Veritas headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., recently and discussed the companys present and future. The following is an excerpt; for the full interview, go to

Veritas has done several acquisitions. Where are you putting in the most time these days?

We have tried not to move away from our strong markets of storage, data recovery and high availability, and use that as a platform to extend into what we think is a pretty practical approach to utility computing. There are two forms of utility computing that have generally been emerging. One is the completely integrated vertical stack, where you buy it all from one vendor. The alternative strategy is one IBM is supporting: Buy portions of the stack and then use services in a big way to integrate them and put them all together.

We have a little bit of a contrarian view, which is lets provide the building blocks necessary to enable it and let the customers use as much of what they have today to move in the direction of the layers of utility computing, which is pretty simple: availability, performance and shared infrastructure at a low cost.

Why do you consider storage a key building block to enabling utility computing?

If you look at storage as an industry, its probably one of the few things in an IT shop that are managed today as a utility. In other words, how much of storage is highly distributed anymore around enterprise management, how much of backup recovery availability of storage is managed in a distributed fashion? Essentially very little. Its pretty centrally managed, the hardware is commoditized [and] customers are now starting to try to get better value out of storage theyve already installed. Its generally pretty available, its recoverable and its run on a shared automated infrastructure, so as a building block, its probably the closest thing the industry even has today toward [what] a utilitys going to be in the future.

One aspect of utility computing is enabling an IT department to charge business units for the computing resources they use. Has Veritas seen much of that?

[Regarding] the notion of chargebacks, very few people I talk to want to get in the habit of sending a bill out to the end users. What they do want to do if you talk to CIOs is give those users visibility into what they are consuming and what the cost is. When we talk about data recovery and data protection, I want you to decide whether you need 30-second recovery or whether three-day recovery is OK.

Where are you with utility computing deliverables? Any surprises with either customer acceptance or lack of it?

You have to separate between where were at and where customers are at. We never believed that this is going to be a trend thats going to happen overnight. We think we have the vast majority of the key building blocks, especially with our recent acquisition of Ejasent, to give us that one last piece, which is the ability to dynamically move applications around without having outages. If you cant automatically provision storage, automatically provision servers and move applications around, its difficult to achieve utility computing because it suggests you have to shut things down to do migrations. We like where were at in the curve. We think its going to be a move toward utility computing, not a race. Its going to probably be a bit more of a marathon than a sprint.

How do you decide which technology is the best to acquire to push your business in new areas?

When you have a company thats doing well, you want to keep your competitive advantage and use acquisitions smartly. You also dont want to be too disruptive. As I look and counterbalance EMC [Corp., which is] trying now to integrate three large acquisitions simultaneously, run all three of them completely independently with separate sales forces, I think its going to be a real challenge for them. We dont think thats the way to do acquisitions. We think its all about integration, putting them together and making them aligned with each other.