Symantec-Veritas Merger to Meld Security, Backup

The deal is expected to set the pace in numerous categories, but integration and network management pose challenges.

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The merged Symantec Corp. and Veritas Software Corp. will become a leader in more than a half-dozen product categories. The post-merger Symantec will be not only a dominant security vendor but also a front-runner in backup, recovery and utility computing.

To capitalize on that opportunity, the merged company must integrate two disparate product portfolios, ease investor worries and convince enterprise customers that bringing security and backup together will help them manage their networks more efficiently.

Senior Editor Dennis Fisher sat down for an exclusive interview with Symantec CEO John Thompson and Veritas CEO Gary Bloom at the RSA Conference in San Francisco last week to talk about the challenges and opportunities ahead.

In terms of product integration, what does your priority list look like?

Thompson: We defined at the outset three areas of opportunity, and one of them I think is relevant to our discussion today, and thats what I call "mail hygiene solutions."

How do I scan it to see what contaminants are in it? Where did it come from? How do I store it, archive and retrieve it relevant to policies that I have in my organization?

Those are technologies that come from both companies, not just one of the companies.

Our capability is around shaping of the mail traffic, where you can literally eliminate 60 to 70 percent of the traffic thats considered bad traffic before it even hits the gateway, and then clean it up.

Storing it and backing it up and having an archival policy are things that come from Veritas.

Another one is around what we call the resilient enterprise. When you see a new threat emerging, you can alert the operational tools that manage the infrastructure to do a better job of managing that risk or mitigating the attack consequences.

Being able to take our DeepSight early-warning system and link it to some of the tools like the Command Central capabilities that Veritas has or the backup capabilities that Veritas has is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the true value of this merger.

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While some of the financial analysts might not get it, our customers get it, our employees love it, our respective boards think its a smart idea.

Bloom: Customers are all [saying,] "Tell me the road map. Tell me what Im going to get and when Im going to get it." [As] two companies coming together as leaders in the industry, what more do you want than your customers asking the question of "Let me see where youre going."

Once the companies are combined, where do you see your main competition coming from?

Thompson: Both companies had a set of competitors before this transaction, and those competitors will be around after this transaction closes.

The question is, Are we better equipped to compete as a combined company? The answer is profoundly yes.

A lot of the larger players in the industry will look upon what weve done and say, "This may be an opportunity to partner more closely with Symantec."

For some, we will increase the competitive exposure; for others, we will certainly raise the dial on why Symantec would be a better partner. There is no clear-cut answer.

Bloom: The one thing thats almost certain is that given the size and scope of what were doing and our importance in the infrastructure landscape, no one will be able to ignore us one way or the other.

Next Page: Potential obstacles.