Duo Pledges Information Integrity

Goals of Veritas-Symantec merger are innovation and interoperability, Veritas CEO says
Shortly before Veritas Software Corp. CEO Gary Bloom took the stage at the eighth annual Veritas Vision conference in San Francisco last week, one attendee said to another, "There's going to be a bloodletting as [Symantec Corp. and Veritas] merge. I don't care what anybody says."

In his keynote, Bloom didn't say anything about layoffs, but he did reiterate what Symantec CEO John Thompson and he have said previously: that the post-merger company would combine Veritas' expertise in information availability with Symantec's knowledge of information security to deliver information integrity.

Veritas invests more in R&D than its competitors, CEO Bloom says.

Veritas invests more in R&D than its competitors, CEO Bloom says.
The initial goal of the merger is interoperability, Bloom said, and in six to 12 months, there will be more of a focus on linking technologies to drive new capabilities. He acknowledged that work has to be done to improve and simplify licensing across various product lines.

Touching on traditional risk management--keeping data centers secure from disasters--and emerging risks such as hacking, he said that innovation would come as security becomes part of the data-management stack. There's a "phenomenal opportunity" for the two companies to apply security mechanisms, such as vulnerability analysis, to storage and backup systems, Bloom said.

As a customer of both Veritas and Symantec, real-estate transaction-services company LandAmerica Financial Group Inc. expects good things to come from the merger in terms of cost and support efficiencies. It will provide "one throat to choke," as Jack Kinsey, assistant VP of enterprise services, puts it.

But LandAmerica needs risk-management and security tools now and doesn't want to wait for Veritas and Symantec to integrate their technologies. Bank of America Corp.'s recent loss of tapes containing customer data and related data breaches have prompted LandAmerica to overhaul its security procedures, Kinsey says. The company has implemented two-factor authentication as a precursor to more-stringent security measures such as additional data protection.

In his keynote, Bloom also addressed Veritas' commitment to research and development and to innovation via investment and through mergers and acquisitions. Veritas' profitability (the company had $2.04 billion in revenue last year) has allowed it to make strategic acquisitions of companies such as Ejasent, a virtualization-technology vendor; Invio, which made IT process-automation technology; and KVault Software, a leader in E-mail-archiving software. Veritas has also invested more in R&D than competitors, Bloom said. Compared with typical companies in the industry, which invest 10% to 11% of quarterly revenue in R&D, Veritas invests 15% to 17% of quarterly revenue, he said.

In 2000, Bloom said, Veritas spent $174 million on R&D. In 2004, that figure rose to $347 million.

"The key to all this innovation is ultimately delivering product," Bloom said, pointing to two upgrades of Veritas products, NetBackup 6.0 and Enterprise Vault 6.0, both of which were introduced at the conference. And he cited a new Veritas technology called Panther, also unveiled at the conference.

"The idea behind Panther is the user gets a view of all of the stored copies of a document or a particular piece of information, and the user can control the access to that," Bloom said in an interview with InformationWeek after his address. "Whereas today, if it's in an archive or backup tape, typically you go to IT to get the file for you."

Customers want flexibility in how they deploy the company's licenses, Bloom said, "and they want the ease of deploying them, but they also want to be able to count how many they've deployed."

In his keynote, Bloom made the "case for convergence," which is also the case for Symantec's merger with Veritas. Said Bloom, "Today, information and currency are becoming one and the same."