Veritas has bought Invio Software and with it, its process automation technology, for $35 million.

With the utility computing ideas that Veritas is putting about, it is necessary to automate processes or admin staff simple get a lot more work to do making the whole thing ineffective. The Invio software can be customised to do things such as storage provisioning - assigning logical volumes to new users for example - and data protection, as well as server provisioning. This relieves the admin staff who only need to set policies and customise the processes once.

Invio products are designed for storage management and IT staff can use them to model, automate and control storage operations and workflow. Veritas is already shipping the technology as part of its CommandCentral Service 4.0 product. Now however, it gets the whole company and staff.

Within CommandCentral Service 4.0, there is a point-and-click GUI from which IT staff can select process templates and customise them. Workflows can be used to set up rules for infrastructure and application requirements. These could ensure that, for example, database provisioning uses a consistent underlying storage configuration. It also reduces the chances of mistakes ocurring.

Jamie Gruener, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group, said: "Utility computing is all about consistent and automated service delivery," adding that Invio pioneered storage automation. Competitor EMC is building a similar automated provisioning capability - Automated Resource Manager - within its ControlCenter product.

Veritas is using the Invio software to link its various products together so that NetBackup could be automatically invoked to backup particular data in particular circumstances. By buying Invio Software Veritas gets to own the IP involved and prevent it being used elsewhere. Such IP ownership is thought of as being very valuable by people such as Nexsan's CTO, Gary Watson.

The Invio website still exists and has a storage process automation white paper available here.