Round one of the open systems storage management fight had one clear winner: Veritas Software. With around 50% market share, the company now only has one major challenger, IBM’s Tivoli division, when it comes to Unix back-up and recovery, and only IBM and Computer Associates as real rivals in the Windows back-up market.
Moreover, in 2001 it grew its share of the combined Unix and Windows back-up and recovery market by 30%.
Now the question is: can Veritas position itself to win the next round in open storage software, as the management task becomes networked?
Certainly the company is approaching the prospect from a rock solid base. Despite steering clear of the mainframe storage management market, it has built an annual revenue stream of $1.5 billion on the back of its technically-acclaimed Backup Exec and NetBackup data management products, its Volume Manager and File System data protection and recovery tools, and clustering and data replication software for supporting failover.
But Veritas has set its sights on a wider storage prize. With its SANPoint line, it is building a storage area network management (SAN) suite that will position the company as one of only a handful of vendors capable of delivering hardware-agnostic SAN management software.
SANs could also fuel further growth on the back-up side. Investment bank Baird &Co highlights how large numbers of users – particularly those implementing SANs – are planning to consolidate their multi-vendor back-up software around a single vendor’s product line. “Veritas will benefit disproportionately [as a result],” it says.
However, Veritas is still perceived by many customers as needing to bring the quality of its customer services in line with its vaulting ambitions. A survey of large organisations’ storage issues by Baird led its analysts to conclude that “if Veritas is to successfully transition from being a back-up vendor to a fully-fledged enterprise software vendor, [it needs to] upgrade its service capabilities.” Clearly, winning round two is going to take more than just great technology.