1. The cloud as rainmaker

The cloud as rainmaker

The truth is many things to many people. But what’s indisputable is that today, information is everything.

Updated: October 3, 2016 6:32 AM
In the information age, he sees all that data in the cloud as a potential to do good. Big data serving the bigger, common good, if you will. (Reuters) In the information age, he sees all that data in the cloud as a potential to do good. Big data serving the bigger, common good, if you will. (Reuters)

The truth is many things to many people. But what’s indisputable is that today, information is everything. For Bill Coleman, however, it speaks of a higher calling. The CEO of Veritas Technologies, the biggest name in information management, perceives his company’s prime calling as something far beyond binary boundaries.

In the information age, he sees all that data in the cloud as a potential to do good. Big data serving the bigger, common good, if you will. Here’s a sample of his thinking: People are aware of breast cancer, but not of the fact that there are varieties of the disease. So Coleman has a radical idea—collate all that data on breast cancer available, anonymise it and share it with researchers globally so that a collective effort can be made to stem the scourge.

Being a man of big data, Coleman also gives a big thumbs up to Aadhaar, saying that the Unique Identification Authority of India’s (UIDAI) flagship programme is a big driver of ensuring the common rule of law, while cautioning that a balance has to be struck between privacy and identity.

Like her boss—actually, like everybody in her company and field—data is the centre of the universe for Ana Pinczuk as well. Or as she puts it, the world revolves around data. The Veritas executive vice-president and chief product officer says that 71% of us now sleep next to our phones, thanks to a revolutionary product from Apple. And she believes her company is near another Apple moment with regard to managing information: Usage-based licensing for Veritas’ top product, NetBackup. Call it the Uber model of managing data.

And as Mike Palmer, senior vice-president and general manager of Veritas’ solutions for data insight and orchestration organisation will tell you, data is everywhere and growing all the time. In his timeline, data storage was a moneyspinner from the 1980s to about 2004. Then Google, Amazon and their ilk went their own way, redesigned data centres and created the cloud. But this led to the IT complexity today: Mixed, multi-generation architecture. His company believes it can cut through this clutter with its infrastructure-as-a-service model that is designed around software, not hardware. In effect, hit the restart button.

Much of that restart is happening in India. Veritas’ Pune office, which with some 1,700 engineers it touts as the largest outside of the US in terms of number of employees, was set up in 1992. A large part of the company’s tech solutions are developed here, and the India arm plays a big role in tech support as well. Chief marketing officer Lynn Lucas points to India as a growing market as the reason behind having a large marketing and sales presence in the country as well.

For a company handling information, Matt Cain, president of worldwide field operations, says, data security is a serious affair. That’s why data protection, encryption and rights-based access are a continuous process at Veritas, helping companies comply with regulation and compliance, something Google has had issues with in the EU.

And that’s the thing: Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM… they are all real or potential arch rivals. But the strange thing is, they—and several others in their fields —are partners with Veritas. Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

(The correspondent was in Las Vegas on an invitation by Veritas.)

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