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Veritas suffers recurring vision

Once a year, Veritas Software Inc. invites all its customers to attend its "Visions" show.

For $500 each they get to hear the company wax lyrical about how fantastic their futures will be just as long as they keep buying software from Veritas.

If you missed it last year and the year before that, the "vision" is still utility computing. Quite a vision, obviously, as it hasn't arrived yet. Like IBM's on-demand message, Veritas believes IT should be delivered as a service or utility like water or gas. However, all but the largest few companies in the world are doing this today.

According to Veritas' CEO Gary Bloom, security is, conveniently, the next building block in this strategy. Bloom said he expects the company's merger with Symantec Corp., the largest security player in the industry, to be completed by the end of June.

Naturally, the merger with Symantec is at the forefront of many users' minds. One concerned soul asked Bloom how he will make sure that the combined entity retains the best of both companies and not the worst. "I feel like some of the concerns we've had with Veritas have been listened to and addressed, but that's not the case with Symantec," he said.

Bloom came back with a well-worn answer about merging the strengths of each company and that the corporate cultures of two software companies are easier to merge than a hardware company with a software company, or a software company with a services company.

It sounded more like he was talking to Wall Street than a customer. But he's probably been doing a lot of that lately, as the Wall Street community is pretty down about the deal. "Wall Street is struggling with it because they don't see the industry event that's driving the merger," he said in a Q&A with press and analysts. "It's the information age," he reminded us. [Ed note: Could he be any more vague?]

The merger aside, Veritas has some interesting developments on its road map, if it can stay focused on them.

Netbackup 6.0 will be launched today, and one of the biggest pieces of news about the new product is the development around cataloging of snapshots. Today, NetBackup has no awareness of snapshots, which are point-in-time copies of a company's data usually taken by the disk vendor associated with the snapshot software. Veritas will announce that it can now catalog snapshots from any vendor, managed by NetBackup, so that users don't have multiple ways to manage their snapshots.

Veritas will probably make a big deal about this, but keep in mind that snapshot is a 5-year-old technology and CommVault Systems Inc. has been integrating backup and snapshot technology for years.

Veritas will also outline its strategy for continuous data protection, which it believes is more suited to small and midsized enterprises than large companies. And the biggest buzz Monday was around what "Panther" is going to be, which one Veritas spokesperson described as the most exciting technology the company has developed in years.

Stay tuned for the scoop on that tomorrow.

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