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Veritas announces data-tracking product

Continuing a tech industry push on regulatory compliance, the software maker announces a product to help companies abide by rules and manage their data.

Continuing a tech industry push on regulatory compliance, Veritas Software announced a product to help companies abide by rules and manage their data.

The storage software company on Tuesday introduced "Veritas Data Lifecycle Manager 5.0," which aims to help organizations meet regulatory requirements for data management and retention. Veritas said the software is designed to handle e-mail and file archiving in Microsoft Exchange and Windows NT file system formats. The product is slated to be released during the first quarter of 2004.

"With our new Data Lifecycle Manager software, record retention and retrieval now extends across the entire enterprise, from the desktop to the data center to the vault," Veritas CEO Gary Bloom said in a statement.

Data lifecycle management, a much-discussed storage-industry concept, refers to assigning data to storage devices depending on its value over time. Data that is critical to a business this week, for example, may deserve a spot on an expensive, high-end device, but later on it could be moved to a less costly machine.

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Veritas also is announcing an upgrade to its backup and recovery software NetBackup, and an upgrade to its CommandCentral Service product, which is designed to let organizations set different levels of data backup and recovery quality.

Corporate compliance with relatively new regulations is expected to boost the information technology sector. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which sets privacy rules for medical records kept in digital files, is expected to result in $1 billion to $17 billion in spending.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires sweeping corporate disclosure and financial reporting reform, also could be a goldmine for tech firms. According to AMR Research, companies will spend up to $2.5 billion to comply with the law this year, with nearly 77 percent of companies saying they will spend more on information technology, business process change, corporate governance and/or consulting.

Veritas has plenty of company in attempting to tap this market. On Monday, both Oracle and SAP introduced products aimed at helping businesses comply with Sarbanes-Oxley. EMC, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Check Point Software also have products they say can help companies comply with regulations.

Veritas said its CommandCentral Service product is an integral part of its compliance offering. CommandCentral Service 3.5 allows IT departments to set different levels of data backup and recovery, according to the company. For example, data from a company's finance department could be backed up more carefully than data from the human resources department.

Glenn Groshans, Veritas director of product marketing, said the software allows an organization to set up a kind of internal utility, in which business units are "charged" for the amount of backup and recovery service the IT department provides.

Veritas is one of several companies pushing the concept of "utility computing," in which computing is treated as a service similar to electricity or water.

The upgrade to Veritas' NetBackup software, dubbed Desktop and Laptop Option, gives companies the ability to automatically synchronize data on multiple computers. Formerly known as Project Shadow, the application is due out sometime before the end of 2003 and will also be available with the company's Backup Exec software package.

The company said it designed the product to help businesses address the growing need to back up data on mobile computers. Veritas estimates that 60 percent of the information on mobile machines remains unprotected.

The Desktop and Laptop Option software boasts the ability to back up data independent of location, using a feature that detects a network connection and automatically updates any information that has been changed on a particular computer. The application also lends the ability to protect data across multiple machines, including desktops and laptop computers operated by the same user.

That feature allows the same set of files to reside identically on several systems and automatically updates all computers linked to a particular user when an update has been made to one of their machines. The application also promises faster file recovery via a system that enables customers to initiate their own tests.