Veritas has been accused of openly shipping a faulty backup product for more than a month, using customer and reseller resources to correct its mistake.
According to Ian Stanley, from South Australian reseller, Datafix, Veritas Backup Exec V9.0 for Windows Servers, shipped as build number 4367, will not load on any Windows server he has tried.
Veritas is aware of this and placed a fix on its website, replacement build 4454, which it says will rectify the problem.
"The frustrating thing is that even though they know the build is faulty, they have neither issued a recall nor made any replacement media to send out," the reseller said.
Stanley claimed that when his company tried to install the Veritas software on one of its customer's servers, it gave an error message that simply said "Failed" and an OK box, which when pressed, ended the installation process.
He subsequently tried it on a test server in his office - a "bare bones Windows 2000 Server with service pack 3", with the same result.
On contacting Veritas, he was told there was replacement software on its website. However, Stanley said this was nearly 400MB worth of download and almost the same size as the original software. The client site, where he was installing the backup software, had only a 64Kb ISDN link to the Web and "to bring this update down would take many hours", he said.
Veritas defended its software, saying it was last minute changes by its partner, Microsoft, that required it to issue a new build.
"Working alongside Microsoft, Veritas has ensured its solutions are compatible with Microsoft's server products," Veritas marketing manager, Narelle Wilson, said. " In the case of Windows Server 2003, shortly before shipping the product Microsoft made the decision to change some elements of the code. This change has required ISVs, including Veritas, to make changes to ensure compatibility.
"Veritas responded to this change immediately by developing Backup Exec 9.0 maintenance pack 1. The pack is transparently downloaded from the Web using Veritas Update, a new feature built into Veritas Backup Exec 9.0 that helps automate the process of updating software for customers."
But this was not the real issue according to Stanley.
"My complaint is that the product is not usable out of the box and costs a considerable sum of money, more than $1000 to purchase," he said. "Somebody must then arrange the replacement download, so either the client or the reseller does this at their own expense.
"For me to do this costs time which is lost, and this sort of thing is what causes resellers not to be able to make a profit. We purchase such products in good faith, and while an occasional patch is required, I draw the line at replacing the entire product at my expense. Each download done by either client or reseller costs time, data charges, media charges and then the losses in delays when such a problem occurs."
According to Stanley, who has been in the IT field for 20 years, the industry in days gone by would take such matters seriously.
"But now so many companies seem to accept that supplying product with known bugs or design faults is OK, so long as the website has a patch," he said. "In any other industry, such as white goods, audio or motor vehicles, the products would be recalled."