Can Veritas/NetApp team ease integration woes?

Veritas and NetApp are extending their working relationship in a bid to capture new markets. Users can expect "integrated marketing" from them, but the firms also promise better integration of products and implementations.

Veritas Software Corp., Mountain View, Calif., and Network Appliance Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif., extended their existing relationship Tuesday by announcing deeper product development, joint sales and marketing, product integration and technical support. The companies would also be providing each other access to customer information.

So what does that mean in English? Veritas customers should expect sales calls from NetApp and vice versa. But the two firms promise an upside to users: better technical support and product education as well as a tag-team storage implementation process.

Rob Soderbery, vice president of business development for Veritas, said the new relationship was born of emerging markets such as disk-based backup, regulatory compliance and e-mail retention. "There is much more work to be done in the future than has been done in the past. We have further work to do [in terms of] product integration."

He said both Veritas and NetApp will sit down with customers to architect and deploy new solutions.

Phil Williams, vice president of strategic marketing, Network Appliance, said the companies are putting together "go-to-market" strategies, joint channel partners in the selling effort and eventually new products. "What you'll see is a set of solutions in key areas like High Availability, data protection and storage management," he said.

"The old model of just integrating and hoping the customer can figure out how these things work together and how to get them assembled just doesn't cut it anymore," Williams said.

The companies could not say whether there would be cost benefits for customers buying a Veritas-NetApp integrated storage system. They said discounts depend on individual customer environments as well as any existing agreements are in place.

Whatever the ultimate benefit for users, the new relationship clearly has a heavy component of increasing product sales.

"This is a marketing and sales partnership that tries to leverage each other's customer base," said Pushan Rinnen, principal analyst, Gartner Inc., Stamford, Conn. "It may point to tighter integration between NetApp's FAS [product line] and Veritas' software down the road, which is a good sign for customers."

She added that since Veritas stopped selling its own NAS software product, it is motivated to work with a NAS market leader like NetApp.

Soderbery said the companies already share a significant customer base. "Previously we had lots of ad hoc activity going on. Veritas and NetApp reps happened to bump into each other in customer accounts. Now we're using the muscle of two companies to go into customers and make sure that we get our sales teams in there."

NetApp and Veritas already have several integrated systems on the market including NetApp Unified Storage Backup and Restore via Veritas NetBackup for NDMP, disk-based backup through NetBackup to NetApp NearStore systems, data migration with NetBackup Storage Migrator to NetApp storage systems, replication with Veritas Volume Replicator to NetApp storage, Oracle Database performance optimization

with Veritas Cluster Server using NetApp systems and Veritas StorageCentral management of NetApp storage systems for consolidated management of SAN and NAS environments.

NetApp and Veritas said they will be continually announcing more details on the partnership as specific delivery items become available. "You can expect to see more news in the coming months," Soderbery said.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mailKevin Komiega, News Editor

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