Veritas Software Corp. was an international software company that was founded in 1983 as Tolerant Systems, renamed Veritas Software Corp. in 1989, and merged with Symantec in 2005. It was headquartered in Mountain View, California. The company specialized in storage management software including the first commercial journaling file system, VxFS, VxVM, VCS, the personal/small office backup software Backup Exec and the popular enterprise backup software NetBackup. Veritas was listed on the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ-100 under the VRTS ticker symbol.
was a company founded in 1983 by Eli Alon and Dale Shipley (both from Intel
) to build fault-tolerant
computer systems based on the idea of "shoe-box
" building blocks.
Tolerant initially based their shoe-box system on the 32016 microprocessor from National Semiconductor, and then upgraded the systems to the 32032 when those processors, with a 32-bit data bus, became available. The shoe-box consisted of a OS processor, running a version of Unix called TX, and on which applications ran, and an I/O processor, running a Real Time Executive developed by Tolerant called RTE; both processors were 320xx processors. The system was marketed as the "Eternity Series."
Each shoe-box had two Ethernet connectors which allowed a fault-tolerant connection to other shoe-box systems. Further, a proprietary I/O system was created that ran at 3 Mbyte/second up to 15 m (50 feet) allowing up to 16 peripherals per I/O. Tolerant developed a custom Disk Controller, Communications Interface Processor (CIP), and Tape Controller that communicated on this I/O bus.
The CIP was a front-end for 12 or 16 serial ports also based on the National 32016 processor and executing RTE. The CIP could host forms software, or other pre-processing applications to allow intelligent use of the terminals that were attached. This lightened the interrupt overhead to the OS processor. One example was customization of the vi text editor where the CIP hosted a small part of the application allowing for local character echoing while in insert mode.
The software gained a level of fault-tolerance through check-pointing technology. Applications needed to be fortified with this check-pointing to allow roll-back of the application on another processor if a hardware failure occurred.
Tolerant also developed a forerunner of today's RAID systems by incorporating a journaling file system and multiple copies or N-plexing the disk drive content.
The company got out of the hardware business in 1989 and became Veritas Software by using this earlier work in journaled file systems as the basis for a new line of products for Windows NT and Unix systems.
Historical unusual human resources policies
- Offices — Not Cubicles: In contrast with most high-technology companies, which put most workers in cubicles, and a few — notably Intel and Hewlett-Packard — who put all employees, from the CEO on down, in cubicles, Veritas had a policy of putting all engineers, technical writers, and other "creative" workers in offices with doors that could be closed to exclude outside conversations. Most such workers that lasted six months got offices with outside windows.
- No Secrets: In most Silicon-Valley companies, important decisions take a long time to filter down to most employees, even those who design the company's new products. Veritas had a more egalitarian approach: every employee was by SEC definition, an "insider". Every week, there was a company meeting in the lunchroom, where the CEO, Mark Leslie, told all employees the company secrets, including quarterly results, annual results, upcoming products, experimental projects, and new contracts. The disadvantage of making all employees insiders is that every employee was a potential insider trader. For this reason, the SEC required five blackout periods when employees could not buy or sell Veritas stock: one month before each quarterly or annual report was issued. In 1995-96, Veritas was a very small company with fewer than 100 employees. Its small size made the secrecy policy possible. A few years later, Veritas had expanded 20-fold, so this policy became impossible to maintain.
- Unintended Consequences: Ironically, CEO Mark Leslie was indicted by the SEC for having "artificially inflated and/or intentionally manipulated and distorted Veritas' reported financial results and misled Veritas' independent auditors" The CFO, Controller, assistant Controller and Head of Sales were also named in the SEC's 2007 indictment. The case claims that each knowingly participated in a fraudulent scheme by artificially inflating Veritas' publicly reported revenues and earnings through an improper round-trip transaction with America Online; Basically, a product swap which was recorded on each company's books as sale of product and services with no contingencies, which was not the case. The SEC claims that the fair market value and quantity of the products that were provided were grossly overstated on each side to inflate revenues and subsequently earnings. The controller and assistant controller settled the case and agreed to provide testimony supporting the SECs case. The case is still pending for the other three defendants, including Mark Leslie.
- April 1997 - Acquired OpenVision Technologies. This included NetBackup.
- May 1999 - Acquired the Network and Storage Management Group of Seagate Software. This included Backup Exec.
- August 2003 - Acquired Precise Software Solutions, one of the Application Performance Management (APM) leaders.
Merger with Symantec
On December 16
, Veritas and Symantec
announced their plans for a merger in a deal valued at $13.5 billion. It was the largest announced software industry merger to date. On June 24
, Veritas and Symantec
shareholders voted to approve the merger. On July 2
, Symantec and Veritas finalized the merger and the resulting company has retained the name Symantec.