Symantec-Veritas Deal Could Unify Data Protection

Opinion: If it acquires backup software maker Veritas, Symantec could offer an enterprisewide solution ranging from the client through the server and to the back-end data repositories.

At this point its still not confirmed that Symantec and Veritas are actually going ahead with a merger theyve been discussing, but apparently the discussions have reached the point where theyre serious. So, the chances are pretty good that well hear about another mega-acquisition in the near term. If it happens, such an acquisition could make a lot of sense for both companies.

Despite its efforts to be a global enterprise player, many IT managers still look on Symantec as the purveyor of Norton Anti-Virus. It is that, of course, but recently the company has become much more.

For example, Symantec runs a world-class security operations center designed to monitor enterprises worldwide for threats, vulnerabilities and the like. This center is strictly an enterprise service. Likewise, the company has had a line of enterprise security appliances for years, and an enterprise anti-virus product.

/zimages/5/28571.gifRead more here about talks between Symantec and Veritas.

But what hasnt been there is any sort of real enterprise network management solution. Its been working on the edges there, but hasnt really made the big time. With an acquisition of Veritas, itll be aimed squarely at the enterprise. While this will probably be good for both companies in the long term, it also has some very strong potential for customers.

Veritas, after all, makes backup software, and one way to look at that is as an extension of enterprise security. With this, and with other storage acquisitions by Symantec recently, the company is in a position to offer an enterprisewide solution that can range from the client through the server and now to the back-end data repositories. This reach has the potential, at least, of providing totally integrated, seamless data preservation for enterprises of every ilk.

Right now, of course, its just that—potential. While Symantec has a reasonably decent record when it comes to leveraging its acquisitions, this is a new kind, and it requires a new kind of thinking and a new kind of approach. In short, Symantec has to really think through how customers can use such end-to-end integration, and then deliver an effective way to accomplish that.

Veritas, for its part, also stands to benefit. This company has provided enterprise backup and storage management for large companies for years. While it has competition in this market, Computer Associates for example, Veritas has been able to do more than just hold its own. But the company has not found its way into the potentially lucrative personal and small-business data-protection universe.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read about Veritas and Hewlett-Packard teaming on virtualization and clustering.

With some help from Symantec, Veritas can bring a high-quality data protection solution to a badly underserved market. Symantecs Ghost (also an acquisition) is the companys current backup solution for small markets, and while it works just fine, its not scalable and is by no means the market leader.

Clearly, theres a lot of room for these two companies to work together. The synergies are there, despite the derision of some. The problem isnt in the potential, but rather in what the companies will do with it. Right now, its only potential.

Someday, perhaps, youll have a common console for all of your data-protection needs from your firewall to your anti-virus to your backup. But even if the acquisition goes through tomorrow, such integration is a long way off. And it might never happen at all.

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Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...