Veritas brings new predictive analytics to appliances

Veritas Predictive Insights will be a core, free feature of their appliances, beginning initially with NetBackup Appliances and extending to Access and Flex appliances next year.

Data protection vendor Veritas Technologies has introduced Veritas Predictive Insights, a new solution that brings artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms to Veritas appliances, where they will provide operational support by monitoring system health, detecting potential issues and being able to launch proactive remediation to head off problems before they occur.

“Veritas Predictive Insights is an exciting announcement that will introduce AI-based operational capabilities inside our appliances to give customers better resiliency and reduced downtime,” said Eric Seidman, director of product marketing for Veritas Predictive Insights.

This is primarily a channel-focused announcement, because Veritas’ appliances are primarily sold by their channel.

“We have delivered many solutions as software first, but the channel and customers asked us for appliances,” Seidman said. “It’s a predominantly channel business. It allows the partner to be more agile and removes the bifurcated support model for hardware and software.”

This kind of predictive capabilities are new for this market.

“Previously we measured problems through our auto-support capabilities and their ability to call home,” Seidman said. “We’ve had that, but no analytics that could predict things so you could prevent them from happening. It was a rear-view mirror.”

The telemetry data comes from Veritas’ large install base of over 150,000 appliances.

“We had been using this data before internally, for our support engineers, when they would take a call about a particular problem,” Seidman said. “The customer could also access this data by logging into their support account. But there were no predictive capabilities from it. We didn’t have the engine.”

Now that this AI/ML engine has been built, Veritas has taken three years of that auto-support data and its hundreds of millions of data points, combined with the real-world experience from support engineers, to add new proactive capabilities.

“The engine is self-learning, and can look at what is happening and apply knowledge across all appliances,” Seidman indicated. “It provides proactive monitoring of customers’ appliances. Before, when a customer called in, we would look at that one issue and help them resolve it. This allows them to reduce downtime by being able to provide customers with proactive information, enabling them to fix potential problems before they take place.”

The telemetry data generates a System Reliability Score [SRS] for each appliance, that is visible in a dashboard for Veritas appliances services personnel, and will also be accessible to customers – eventually.  The SRS and the details behind it is what leads support and customer teams to take proactive actions as identified by the analytics. This could include a notification to install a patch to dispatching service personnel or making prescribed, on-site services.

“The dashboard views will initially be for our internal use only, to make sure the analytics is functioning,” Seidman said. “We will test drive it internally for the first two to three months, and communicate remediation actions back to the customer. After that, we will make it available to the customers as well.”

Predictive Insights gives a more holistic view of customer environment.

“It does capacity forecasting, which helps customers flatten out acquisition models, by giving better forecasting on capacity consumption,” Seidman noted. Because customers couldn’t forecast consumption needs, that led to issues with spikes in the procurement process, and in the worst cases led to downtime.

“Veritas Predictive Insights also eliminates ‘alert fatigue’ through prescriptive maintenance, so that techs don’t have to deal with thousands of alerts in an enterprise environment, Seidman added. “That increases operational efficiency.  It also determines what things should be done first at the remediation level. This also has the effect of levelling the playing field of support tech experience, by making less experienced techs more able.”

Finally, Predictive Insights is being provided without additional cost to customers.

“It is a service feature, with no additional cost or licensing,” Seidman said. “It is automatically turned on.”

Veritas Predictive Insights is available now on Veritas NetBackup Appliances. It will be available on Veritas Access and Flex appliances in the coming quarters.