Veritas Software CEO Gary Bloom said Tuesday that it has been a struggle to get people to understand that the company's proposed US$13.5 billion merger with Symantec won't result in cuts to Veritas' resources.
And he assured a group of reporters and analysts that there would be "very few" layoffs as a result of the proposed merger.
"It's not about cuts," Bloom said. "It's all about retention. We want to retain the development teams. We want to raise service levels."
Bloom said that once the merger is completed by the end of the second quarter as planned, he expects to see $100 million in savings. Veritas makes storage backup software; Symantec offers computer and network security products.
Bloom was here to announce a new version of Veritas' biggest-selling storage platform for small to medium-size businesses, Backup Exec. The latest version, Backup Exec 10 for Windows Servers, now offers disk-to-disk-to-tape backup, synthetic full backups and tight integration with two other applications -- Veritas Replication Exec 3.1 (formerly Veritas Storage Replicator) and Veritas Storage Exec 5.3 (formerly Veritas StorageCentral).
Richard Van Baalen, senior IT manager at Holland & Knight, a US law firm, has just finished a pilot with Backup Exec 10. He said he believes that the centralized management of his storage infrastructure will save 20 man-hours per week by not requiring separate systems administrators for backup and replication.
Van Baalen is upbeat about the Symantec/Veritas merger and said he believes that a combined product will 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.
Van Baalen also said he's looking forward to using Backup Exec to perform snapshots via Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service interface, which can significantly cut the time needed to perform a backup. Backup Exec offers synthetic backup, meaning numerous incremental backups can be combined into a single full backup.
Centralizing backups from direct-attached tape devices in each office to disk backup 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 a case of a lawsuit," he said.
Robert Graham, CIO at Farmers & Merchants Bank, which operates 20 branches, said he will no longer have to worry about untrained staff forgetting to load tape cartridges into tape drives for server backups in branch offices. Graham said centralized disk backup should save his bank $100,000 annually, with a 30% improvement in IT staff productivity. He also said the disk-based backup gives him greater compliance capabilities, because he doesn't have to search for and restore data from off-site tape.
"Being a bank, regulatory requirements are very difficult to deal with," he added.
Michael O'Brien, a systems engineer in charge of Veritas software sales for CDW Corp., said there has been an air of uncertainty among customers about the proposed merger. CDW is a reseller of both Veritas and Symantec software, as well as backup products from EMC and IBM.
"I think a lot of customers are curious about what's going to take place over the next few months," O'Brien said. "There is some concern ... but it's mostly positive."
O'Brien said he is 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.
Veritas' enterprise-class backup suite, NetBackup, is expected to offer capabilities similar to those of Backup Exec 10 by the end of this year. With that upgrade, backup, replication and storage resource management can all be performed from a single consolidated view, said Jeremy Burton, executive vice president of Veritas' data management group.
Bloom and Burton touted the idea of eventually combining features of their backup software with Symantec's security products.
For example, Burton said Symantec's DeepSight product, with its ability to detect virus threats on the Internet prior to an attack, could be combined with Veritas' backup management tools to increase the number of backups, "so if a virus does hit and some systems get taken out, we can recover more quickly."
"I think you're going to see a lot of synergies -- everything from antispam to archiving to backup and recovery in the Exchange environment," Burton said. "We're going to do this same thing in the enterprise space as well."
With the merger, Bloom said he will become Symantec's vice chairman of the board and vice president in the company responsible for all customer-facing relations, such as customer and partner support. A product suite supporting backup and security for Windows environments will be the first among the new products to come from the combined companies, Bloom said.
"We'll be a line of business in Symantec," he said.