Veritas Takes CA's Cake

Specialty Bakers dumps CA's ARCserve for Veritas Backup Exec after five years of balky backups

July 16, 2003

4 Min Read
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If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. That was the message Specialty Bakers Inc., a commercial baker based in Marysville, Pa., had for Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA) when it replaced the vendor's backup software with archrival Veritas Software Corp.'s (Nasdaq: VRTS) Backup Exec last year.

The baker -- which has been selling cakes, pies, French twirls, and other goodies since 1901 -- is not only glowing in its praise for Veritas's backup software but also seething in its criticism of the CA ARCserve products it used for nearly five years.

"When we were with CA, you would come in every morning knowing you'd spend two hours at least analyzing the problems with the backup from the night before," says Jack Eckerd, director of information services at Specialty Bakers. "Now, we're very confident that our backup works." [Ed. note: Kind of makes you wonder why they waited five years to replace it, doesn't it?]

David Liff, VP of CA's BrightStor Solutions, is quick to point out that the baker was using ARCserve version 6.61, not the vendor's latest software version. "ARCserve version 9 is a very high-quality product," he insists. "We have seen very many Veritas customers coming to CA -- not the other way around."

But it wasn't just a problem with the software, according to Eckerd. Besides CA's ARCserve being riddled with problems, he says, the company's technical support also left much to be desired. "We started getting very frustrated," he says. "Sometimes a support call could take three to four days to resolve... and there were language barriers. The support staff often didn't speak fluent English."Liff admits that CA did have some problems with its support for some of its previous versions of the software, but that the company has changed its support model dramatically over the past year. "We listen very carefully to our customers," he says. "Today people are getting very high quality."

That's not an argument Specialty Bakers is likely to listen to anytime soon. Ever since the company switched to Veritas Backup Exec, the only frustrations it has run into have come in the form of sinking souffls. The Veritas support is "phenomenal," Eckerd says. "For starters, we haven't had to make that many support calls. It's been great."

In addition, Eckerd says, the installation process with Backup Exec was a dream compared with the nightmare of installing CA's software five years earlier. "It probably took us two weeks before we had [the CA software] up and running at a semi-acceptable level," he says. "So we had allotted quite a few hours to the installation, but it only took couple of hours, and started backing up right away."

Specialty Bakers started looking for another backup solution in the spring of 2002 and switched all of its backup to Veritas software in July last year. The company settled on Backup Exec after testing it against ARCserve 2000.

"We definitely saw an improvement with the Veritas software," he says. "We elect to do full backups every night instead of incremental backups, [and] Veritas has a lot better throughput, especially with its open file system." He says the company is using the same hardware and backup tape from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and Maxell Corp. of America that it was using with ARCserve.Specialty Bakers isn't just backing up a few recipes -- the company backs up 28 Gbytes of data every night. The 350-employee company uses the software to secure all of its mission-critical applications, like its Microsoft Exchange server, Microsoft SQL Server, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, according to Eckerd.

Veritas, meanwhile, appears to feel the news of the baker's strong aversion to CA's backup software could convince others to follow its example. This week, Veritas announced the results of an "independent" survey by consulting firm NFO Prognostics supposedly showing that every single Veritas customer who switched from CA backup software -- 100 percent of those surveyed -- was satisfied with the decision (see Veritas Woos Ex-CA Users).

Liff scoffs at both the press release and the survey. "I was thinking the press release was produced by the Iraqi information minister," he says. "There was very little information in there." In fact, Liff adds, CA has seen a steady stream of Veritas customers crossing the green line to join the ARCserve camp. He claims that his company is gaining ground because it has more to offer than just storage solutions.

A recent Gartner Inc. report, however, shows that Veritas captured 46 percent of new backup software licenses in 2002, while CA grabbed only 7.6 percent (see Data Protection).

Veritas acknowledges it sponsored the NFO survey, which was conducted in April with the participation of 155 of the company's customers. But the company does not plan to publish the entire report. "Due to the proprietary nature of the data and the fact that this type of data is used to help Veritas sustain its competitive advantage, Veritas does not intend to publish the entirety of the report," writes a Veritas spokesman in an email. NFO did not return calls by press time.— Eugénie Larson, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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