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On the eve of LinuxWorld, IT Utility Pipeline spoke to Veritas's Ranajit Nevatia. As Director of Strategy for Linux, Nevatia outlined how the company's Linux strategy integrates with its utility computing vision.
IT Utility Pipeline: How does Veritas's strategy on Linux work with utility computing?
Nevatia: Utility computing cannot be homogeneous. It has to be hetereogeneous. As such, Veritas is in a unique position because our technology is cross platform -- across servers and storage. Therefore, Linix has to be part of our strategy because of the popularity of Linux and the fact that we support a heterogeneous environment.
The promise of utility computing is that hardware and its environment, with the help of availability, offers performance and automation that you are not able to achieve today. With utility computing you are able to guarantee service level agreements for applications. And it doesn't matter what the customer is running.
IT Utility Pipeline: What makes your platform bettter than HP or IBM, for instance?
Nevatia: Our utility computing strategy is built upon real products and existing products. We have a building-block appraoch. A lot of people have a grand vision of a data center utility. But there are a lot of steps to get there. Veritas's approach is in smaller steps. You should treat different pieces of the data center differently. If you look at applications, servers and storage, each one of these components has to be treated differently in a utility model. That said, they all need three characteristics.
All systems need to be highly available. How often does your power or water go down? It needs to offer performance and meet the needs of the SLA agreements. A utility computing model is not worth it if it is not performing according to the agreements. And there needs to be automation. The infrastructure needs to be highly automated to handle spikes. In a utility computing model the infrastructure needs to be able to provision and add capacity when it needs extra performance.
IT Utility Pipeline: Do you think Linix is ready for the enterprise?
Nevatia: Linux is ready for the enterprise. We are seeing customers all over the spectrum implementing Linux with Veritas. We have customers who have thousands of Linux boxes. We have customers who are using Linux in an edge environment because the server is disposable and not critcal to the application. We are seeing Linux in vertical markets such as telcos and financial markets.
The success of Linux from the edge of the data center to the core of the data center is having a viral effect. Companies are looking at Linux as a good cost-saving alternative. In 2004 there was a groundswell of interest in Linux. Now we seeing other vertical markets looking at Linux. And Linux is also moving deeper into the data center.
IT Utility Pipeline: What needs to be in place to make utility computing more successful? And what are the pitfalls?
Nevatia: I would say understanding the interal process and understanding the business process. People make mistakes when they treat everything as utility computing.
The first step of utility computing is to look at what you have and where are the inefficiencies. Our consulting organization spends a lot of time in understanding what the customer really wants and assessing the overall environment.
Where do you have charge backs? How do you get better utilization and more efficiencies in your disaster recovery, for instance?
IT Utility Pipeline: What does the acquistion of Invio offer Veritas?
Nevatia: We were partnering with Invio. We were using their components to enable processes to flow through various departments. This acquisition is really a technology acquisition.
IT Utility Pipeline: What do you think is holding utility computing back? Is it standards?
Nevatia: It is important to have standards, and we have very specific standards for grid computing. We participate in standards bodies. The underpinnings are the storage, servers, and applications standards.
IT Utility Pipeline: Do you have any advice for those interested in embarking on a utility computing model?
Nevatia: You have to start small otherwise it is going to be difficult to understand the ROI. If you start on a large scale you may not see the payback because the project is so big. Start at a particular place, whether it is backup or disaster recovery, and treat backup as a utility or disaster recovery as a utility instead of making a data center a utility on day one.
And utility computing may not be the answer for everyone. You might be a small shop where utility computing may be overkill.