Symantec and Veritas: A fearsome twosome

Symantec and Veritas: A fearsome twosome

Symantec and Veritas are merging. I, as a loyal Red Sox fan, would have preferred the new name of Veritec, but they appear to want to keep the Symantec banner. That's about the only thing I disagree with on all that I've seen so far.

First of all, smart people have been telling you for more than a year that storage and security are going to come smashing together. (I hate to say I told you so, but I will!) What's the point in dealing with security solely from a perimeter protection perspective if the data itself - the crown jewels - is at risk? How many viruses are we going to endure before we figure out that bad things are going to happen? So let's mitigate the damage that will be done. It only makes sense to secure the data.

Veritec - whoops, Veritas - is the king of data protection, and Symantec is the king of security. Together, it's easy to spin a story of synergy. Financially, the deal makes sense because there is no product overlap, which means the combined entity is now a really, really big software company. From a cost perspective, I think there is a ton of overlap, since they both sell different things to the same customers. The channel at the low end and midrange can be combined, and the high-end sales forces, along with support and even some development - not to mention administrative duplication - can be pared down to eliminate muchos de dolares from the new company.

Big impact

The bigger and more interesting aspect is the impact of this union on all the other players. When Cisco Systems walked into the Fibre Channel switch market, all the other IP competitors took a wait-and-see attitude, which turned out to be brilliant, since Cisco hasn't done all too much in that relatively small space.

This will be different. Why buy Legato if you can buy "super secure, end-to-end data protection solutions" from Veritec - dang, there I go again. EMC is sleeping at the wheel on security, choosing instead to play the "it's someone else's responsibility" card. Not anymore.

The EMCs, NetApps, HPs and Suns had an opportunity to take a leadership role in how information security was going to pan out, but now they're all going to have to follow the new chief. Veritec - I give up - can spin some mighty powerful tales about the combined functionality that the two companies offer.

I suspect we'll see some quick reaction from the rest of the data protection players. Look for some little guys to get bought up, and look for a whole bunch of "partnering," which is really nothing more than posturing. Does IBM buy McAfee? Does EMC buy Computer Associateds? (Yeah, I know, but I have to ask.) Speaking of CA - which has both data protection and security - maybe it's time for those groups to meet each other. Just a suggestion.

Any way you slice it, the newly minted fourth-largest software company in the world has an awful lot of ammo to point at enterprise buyers, and in this day and age, size really does matter. Storage guys don't speak security - but like it or not, they will - and security guys better figure out what a LUN is.

Steve Duplessie is founder and senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group.

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