Symantec sorting out Veritas mega-merger

Symantec sorting out Veritas mega-merger

Nearly a year after Symantec's US$13.5 billion merger with Veritas Software, customers of both companies got a view of the new face of Symantec at the company's Vision 2006 user conference last week in San Francisco.

After weathering a storm of defections in the wake of the merger, including President John Schwarz in September, CFO Greg Myers in November, and former Veritas CEO Gary Bloom in January, CEO John Thompson presented a refocused company to customers for the first time at the show, where a handful of new products and services were announced.

In the wake of the executive departures, Symantec has shuffled the ranks and halved the number of Symantec product divisions. In a keynote address, Thompson said the combined company would focus its broad portfolio of security and storage products on protecting "infrastructure, information, and interactions."

Symantec expects revenue to grow by as much as 10 percent over the next year, an improvement on the growth the company has seen since the merger. Thompson said Symantec expects to spend a solid 15 percent of revenue on research and development.

"I think Symantec is back to articulating a growth and product strategy again," said Andrew Jaquith a senior analyst with the Yankee Group. "They're not just talking about integration."

Still, there were few major product announcements at the conference to showcase that strategy. Symantec released a free version of its Veritas Storage Foundation management software. On the services side, the company announced plans to support its security products with the same kind of advanced services, called Symantec Business Critical Services, long available to Veritas users.

Symantec also rolled out the Veritas Configuration Manager, Provisioning Manager, and Cluster Server software into a new product family, called Veritas Server Foundation. Symantec will include new software, called the Storage Foundation Management Server, with Storage Foundation 5.0, due in July, that it said will make the company's software easier to manage.

Bradley Bishop, a senior software engineer with the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) said his employer expects to manage its large number of Storage Foundation systems using Management Server with an SNMP management platform like BMC Software's PATROL.

"We can manage all of the elements on the Storage Foundation Suite from one plane of glass," Bishop said.

Thompson acknowledged some growing pains in the wake of the merger, including problems supporting the Enterprise Vault e-mail archiving software. However, most attendees had few complaints about service disruptions.

John Diers, a Unix administrator with Monsanto and a show attendee, said has not experienced any disruptions since the acquisition.

"We deal with our same Veritas rep, who's now a Symantec rep," Diers said. "We just get our questions answered."

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