Storage software maker Veritas Software Corp. wants to burrow deeper into the Linux market, so on Monday unveiled a flurry of partnerships with leading vendors, releasing Linux-compatible versions of its NAS (network attached storage) and clustering software and sketching a road map of its planned development projects during the next year.
"Linux is clearly a tier-one operating system. We treat it equivalent to the other platforms we deal with," Mark Bregman, Veritas' executive vice president of product operations, said during a press conference.
Veritas released Linux editions of its Veritas Cluster Server and Veritas ServPoint NAS software for running NAS file servers, now available for Red Hat Inc.'s Advanced Server Linux OS (operating system). Two other Veritas products, the Veritas Foundation Suite and Veritas NetBackup, were already available for Red Hat's OS.
Veritas clustering and storage management software for Oracle9i Real Application Clusters on Linux is scheduled for a 2003 release, and evaluation projects bringing Veritas' software to IBM Corp.'s zSeries mainframes are in the works with several large enterprise customers, executives said.
Customer demand is driving Veritas' Linux development, Chief Executive Officer Gary Bloom said. Initially used for Web applications deployments and low-end projects, large enterprise customers are beginning to adopt Linux for critical enterprise infrastructure such as databases and high-end mainstream applications, he said.
Bloom likened Linux's evolution to that of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris OS.
"Look what Sun represented for our company: a huge revenue opportunity. We see the opportunity to do the same thing again as Linux moves across that spectrum," Bloom said.
One industry analyst attending Veritas' event said that the company's package of Linux products is now the storage software industry's most complete, surpassing the portfolios of rivals including EMC Corp. and Network Appliance Inc.
Veritas has the opportunity to emerge as the leading storage vendor for Linux, but it remains to be seen how much revenue that market segment will generate, said Stephen Elliot, research director of storage management and services for Hurwitz Group Inc.
Veritas is expecting gradual, incremental revenue growth from its Linux offerings, Bloom said. The software's pricing will be comparable with that of Veritas' Unix software products, he said.
A customer who spoke at the press conference said the "greatest benefit" of the announcements is the signal that another major vendor considers Linux a key enterprise system.
"I think it gives us more choices. It's not necessarily the product to use or the greatest thing since sliced toast, but it adds to the viability of the platform. It's something I'm certainly going to pursue," said Bill Watson, manager of system administration for the Weather Channel Inc.
The Weather Channel has been adopting Linux to lower its IT costs. In the past, scalability has been an obstacle: Sun's Solaris has worked better than Linux on Intel Corp. hardware for large-volume data processing, Watson said. But as top vendors, including IBM, have entered the Linux market, those problems are disappearing, he said.
Watson said it would be a "wonderful thing" for the Weather Channel to migrate its Veritas software from Solaris to Linux.
Veritas also announced partnerships with several vendors, including IBM, Red Hat, Intel, Dell Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. Concrete details of those partnerships were not discussed, but Bloom said the alliances would include Linux product development and distribution deals.