Symantec/Veritas Merger Good News For Channel

While Symantec's $13.5 billion merger with Veritas will likely create some angst among the two companies' respective channel partners, officials at both organizations and outside observers see more growth potential than downside risk.

The CEOs of both companies say they share a common view that securing data and making it available is a key requirement among customers, and that those functions must come together. Those requirements can be at odds with one another in a shifting environment where more people require data, and compliance and regulatory requirements continue to change.

Symantec CEO John Thompson says the dichotomy actually propels the need for convergence between securing the infrastructure and ensuring information availability. And in an interview with VARBusiness, Symantec president and COO John Schwarz says the combined Symantec-Veritas product portfolio is the perfect vehicle to make that happen.

"If anything, there's an opportunity to integrate our products and deliver far more competitive solutions than we could do on our own," Schwarz says. "If you think of the importance of regulatory compliance and the necessity for customers to maintain those infrastructures, the combination of security and storage is ideal to solve some of those problems."

Sponsored post

As for business partners, the merger of the two companies will benefit channel partners of both companies, says Forrester analyst Steve Hunt. That's because while Veritas' products have had a strong following among systems and storage managers, the company has not had the cache in the CIO suite or among chief security officers that Symantec has enjoyed. Conversely, the enterprise capabilities of Veritas' products promise to give the combined company a much stronger data availability story.

"If you think about it from the CIO standpoint, data protection traverses both security and storage, so this has the potential there for something interesting," says Keith Norbie, business solutions manager for Twin Cities, Minn.-based Nexus Information Systems, a reseller of multiple product lines, including both Symantec and Veritas.

"Symantec has been trying for some time to reinvent itself as 'not your father's antivirus company,' into a serious enterprise-scale solution provider," Hunt says. "It's such a beautiful merger because Veritas and Symantec each keep their respective channels intact." But will that happen? "That's what I intend to recommend to them," Hunt adds.

Allyson Seelinger, Symantec's general manager of worldwide channels, says there will be plenty of time to prep the channel, but she believes this will give them a broader portfolio to take to market. "Information is only valuable if it's secure and available," Seelinger says. "This deal will allow our partners to take advantage of a broader array of products."

Seelinger says the company's partners should have plenty of time to get comfortable with how to work with the new-look company. "Because the deal won't close until the second quarter of next year, we'll have plenty of time to prep the channel," Seelinger says.

Gary Cannon, president of Advanced Internet Security, a security reseller in Colorado Springs, Colo., says he has already been fielding calls from excited customers.

"We already have customers who also work with Veritas asking if we can help get them closer to the company," he says. "We've spoken with other potential customers in the past few months about backup-recovery solutions, but they weren't interested because they already used Veritas, so this should open some doors for us."

For those who buy into Symantec and Veritas' rhetoric, the merger could be a significant boost that provides a unified console. For those who sell competitive products from the likes of Bakbone, CommVault, Computer Associates, EMC, Network Associates and Trend Micro, the deal is an opportunity to create uncertainty, Nexus' Norbie says.

As Symantec and Veritas try to prep the channel, companies such as CA, CommVault and EMC are preparing their channels to take advantage of the uncertainty. Yogesh Gupta, CA's chief technology officer, says from his perspective, the combining of two rivals in different segments--security and storage--into one larger competitor doesn't really alter the landscape. Gupta argues that Symantec only covers a piece of the security solution. "In security, Symantec has only threat management and antivirus. They don't have much for the enterprise," he says.

Among the pieces that CA has that Symantec has, Gupta says, are identity and access management. "That's a big piece," he says.

Big, yes. But not as big as what the newly combined Symantec and Veritas are contemplating.