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Symantec CEO opens up on future with Veritas, page 3

John W. Thompson discusses the merger of storage and security; the problems with Veritas' licensing model; competing with EMC; and nurturing, not neglecting, new technology.

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Is integration desirable?

Storage Media Group: Do you believe that IT, especially in larger enterprises, has become more specialized and that in fact, at the rubber meets the road level, there are very few people who need to see a lot of different things?

Thompson: The reason the big frameworks failed is that they gave a view into the environment, but not necessarily the capability to do anything about the problems they identify. And it's their failure that made companies like Symantec and Veritas successful because we built the tools that allowed you to do something about it. People who get confused about the systems view are also less knowledgeable about the operational tools that make the systems run. That's where these two companies have cut their eyeteeth.

We expect always to be able to integrate into OpenView and Unicenter and Tivoli because that is a view. But we will also have our own view of the specific domain that we manage. In the storage domain, there ought to be a way that you can look inside it, independent from a Tivoli or Unicenter point of view, because people who only do that for a business, as opposed to monitoring a whole system, will want to know that.

What you can't do is execute a strategy the way Tivoli or Unicenter did, which is "Here's all my stuff, buy it all, and I'll take care of you forever." None of it worked, it never got deployed, it was some of the greatest shelfware ever created.

The idea is, build operational tools that solve a particular problem, are prerequisites and core to one another, don't necessarily dictate that you take it all, they interoperate well with each other and work well with platform providers that have been installed by customers for many years. That strategy we believe allows us to coexist in a Unicenter world and over time, perhaps displace them.

Storage Media Group: Do you think Veritas is facing that problem in that they have a lot of piece parts, but to integrate them you have to have Volume Manager and File Manager? Is that really going to hold forth in the future?

Thompson: We will certainly have to rationalize the technology management layer that sits between the backup products, and the storage and file management products that Veritas has. That is…inevitable. We also have to include in that the backup and recovery capabilities that are in our LiveState platforms. It does things that Backup Exec and NetBackup don't do. It does not just storage recovery, but it does recovery all the way down to the bare metal, which is an issue for many of the distributed environments.

How do you use intelligence about a vulnerability to shore up the infrastructure so that it is more resilient? And if it does get attacked, how do you recover it as quickly as you possibly can? In many instances, the outage isn't a network breach, it's a failed server. One of the real issues in a server environment is whether you have an identical server that I can recover the image to. LiveState allows you to recover to dissimilar hardware – no one else does that. That's a wonderful capability that's in our portfolio that we can marry to the Veritas assets.

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