EMC Has Plan To Displace Veritas, VARs Say Good Luck

However, solution providers said that EMC will find it very difficult to leverage Veritas out of customer data centers.

Incentives for Veritas customers to move to EMC's software offerings were quietly discussed at EMC's software partner conference a couple weeks ago, but the vendor is now just starting to roll out details, said Kelly Polanski, vice president of product marketing at EMC.

EMC's message to Veritas users is that they may not have upgraded Veritas with the latest features, but are still paying high maintenance costs, said Polanski. For instance, she said many of them may not have upgraded to the latest features such as disk-based backups, data snapshots, and the RMAN API for Oracle backup and recovery.

"In the first phase, we are talking to enterprise customers with large-scale deployments of backup and recovery software which they may not have touched a couple of years," she said. "They are paying maintainence, but looking at new applications like Oracle 10g or Exchange 2003. Or they're putting in larger servers with more storage, not realizing that with snapshots or disk-based backups they can cut capacity requirements and make it easier to recover from problems.

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Therefore, EMC will offer financial incentives to switch, including no-cost product swaps and reduced maintanence fees, she said.

Polanski said details have yet to be worked out, but solution providers will be able to get the same opportunities as EMC's direct sales forces. Deals to replace the Veritas software can be registered in advance by solution poriveers, she said.

Solution providers, including EMC partners, do not expect the program to be particularly successful.

In fact, at least two of them said EMC was "desparate" in focusing on such a program.

Joe Kadlec, vice president and senior partner with Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based storage solution provider that does business with EMC's hardware and software rivals, said the program seems to be one of desparation. "For strategic plays, EMC has been known to do some pretty creative things," he said.

One EMC solution provider who also sell Veritas software, and who prefered to remain anonymous, said his company's customers will ask his opinion before they make any changes to their storage software, and he will tell them to keep whatever they currently have.

"I just feel a lot of companies are buying up others to fix their offerings," the solution provider said. "This sounds like EMC is desparate.

At any rate, the solution provider said, EMC is not the first to try to rip-and-replace Veritas. "Computer Associates has been giving away their software for years, and it still hasn't made any difference," he said.

Michael Fanelli, western regional manager of SSI hubcity, (stet) a Metuchen, N.J.-based solution provider, said software from all the major vendors including Veritas, Legato, BakBone, and CommVault all work very well, and customers seldom do a wholesale switchout.

Fanelli said he sees programs to swap out one software for another all the time, mainly as vendors try to make a big deal out of taking the business away from a competitor. "If you say you threw Veritas out of 10 accounts, I can show you 10 accounts where Veritas threw out Legato, or 10 accounts where BakBone threw out Veritas, or 10 accounts where BakBone threw out Legato," he said.

Even if EMC manages to replace Veritas software with Legato software at no cost, that covers only a small part of the cost of the software, said Fanelli. "What about the cost of training?" he said. "How do you restore files from the old tapes?"

Dan Carson, vice president of marketing and business development at Open Systems Solutions, a Yardley, Pa-based storage solution provider who partners with EMC and Veritas, said many customers are frustrated with the cost of Veritas maintenance. "If Legato, has an attractive offering, customers may consider the switch," he said.

However, said Carson, a switch is not easy. "Once you get the new software integrated into a system, get people trained, it's hard to switch," he said. "The soft-dollar expense (for training and so on) is just too high. For my customers who are entrenched with Veritas, there's no way they'll change."

None of these solution providers has heard from EMC about its program to displace Veritas, despite Polanski's saying that the vendor mentioned it at the software partner a couple weeks ago.

Carson said that is an indication that EMC still has a lot of work to do before the program can actually begin.

"EMC traditionally is very aggressive in getting the word out to the channel," he said. "That's what makes me think all the details are not finished yet."