Veritas CEO Defends Merger With Symantec

Veritas CEO Defends Merger With Symantec

Veritas Software CEO Gary Bloom last week conceded that it has been difficult to convince users and investors of the benefits of his company's planned US$13.5 billion merger with Symantec, a deal that's expected to close by midyear.

During a product announcement here, Bloom assured critics of the merger that it won't lead to cuts in Veritas operations such as software development and customer service. He also said the deal will result in "very few" layoffs.

"It's not about cuts," said Bloom, who will be vice chairman and president of the combined company. "It's all about retention. We want to retain the development teams. We want to raise service levels." Bloom said he expects to see US$100 million in savings once the merger with security software vendor Symantec is complete.

Bloom was in New York to unveil Version 10 of Backup Exec for Windows Servers, Veritas' data backup tool for small to midsize businesses. The latest version has several new features, including disk-to-disk-to-tape backup, synthetic full backups, centralized backup, and tight integration with Veritas Replication Exec 3.1 and Veritas Storage Exec 5.3.

Richard Van Baalen, senior IT manager at Holland & Knight, a law firm in Lakeland, Fla., just finished a pilot with Backup Exec 10. He predicts that centralised management of his storage infrastructure can save 20 man-hours by eliminating the need for separate systems administrators to do backup and replication tasks.

Centralsing backups from direct-attached tape devices in each office to disk drives in the firm's Lakeland data center offers greater peace of mind, Van Baalen said. "We're worried about data retention and the discovery [process] in case of a lawsuit," he said.

Van Baalen also said he is upbeat about the Symantec merger, since a combined storage and security offering could ease management headaches at the law firm, which has 1,250 attorneys and 30 offices in the U.S. "Storage security is what keeps people up at night," he said.

Robert Graham, CIO at Farmers & Merchants Bank, which operates 20 branches in Los Angeles County and Orange County, Calif., said the centralised disk backup capability should save the bank US$100,000 annually and improve IT staff productivity by 33%. The disk-based backup feature also provides greater regulatory compliance capabilities, he said.

Michael O'Brien, a systems engineer in charge of Veritas software sales at reseller CDW in Vernon Hills, Ill., said there has been an air of uncertainty among customers about the proposed merger. CDW resells both Veritas and Symantec software, as well as backup products from EMC and IBM.

O'Brien said he's most impressed with Backup Exec's ability to provide a consolidated view across multiple file servers. "I'm curious to see how they will bundle the package [with Symantec]," he said.

Jeremy Burton, executive vice president of the company's data management group, said the next version of Veritas' enterprise-class backup suite, NetBackup, is expected to offer capabilities similar to those of Backup Exec 10 by the end of the year.

With that upgrade, it will be possible to perform backup, replication and storage resource management from a single consolidated view, he said.

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