Veritas Software Corp.’s president and CEO defended the merger with Symantec Corp. as a product of convergences happening in the marketplace, even as Wall Street continues to remain cool to the joining of the two software giants.

“This is about the convergence between information security and availability,” said Gary Bloom during his keynote address at the eighth annual Veritas user conference, Veritas Vision 2005.

According to Bloom, Symantec’s expertise in data protection and security naturally complements Veritas’ long experience in risk management, data recovery and storage. He said in the age of e-business and e-documents, companies face pressure, not only protect corporate and customer information, but also to ensure that information can be recovered quickly if there is a security breach or a disaster. “Our currency is information and information needs to be protected.”

The Veritas CEO commented on the “convergence” in IT organizations between those who manage storage and those managing security. “The common denominator is risk management,” he said. “Look at compliance: How do you meet compliance requirements for information, records retention and protection of customer [data] like credit card information? We are on the early phase of that trend.”

Bloom admitted Wall Street has not shown a great deal of enthusiasm for the US$13.5 billion merger between Symantec and Veritas. He said some Wall Street analysts may have been cool to the merger because they haven’t witnessed a merger between equals before – one not focused on cutting costs or expenses. “[These analysts] understood Oracle’s acquisition of PeopleSoft, but it is harder for [them] to look to the future, which is where we are looking to bring out new kinds of capabilities, [and] new revenue opportunities.”

The early goal of the merger when completed in late June will be to ensure continuity between Symantec and Veritas’ products and customers, the Veritas CEO said. There will be no decline in support for either company’s products or sales forces. The merged company, he said, will also look to improving and streamlining software licensing for Veritas’ products and a team has been dedicated to simplifying licensing issues.

One focus area for the merged company will be e-mail backup and archiving. The company plans to release new versions of Veritas’ NetBackup and Enterprise Vault, along with solutions aimed to make e-mail backup, management and archiving more compliant with new government regulatory requirements.

Pete Gerr, senior analyst with the Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group said issues surrounding archiving and backing up of e-mail will become critical for companies in the next few years because of regulations requiring that companies keep records of e-mail traffic and correspondence.

“This issue is coming about because of a convergence of forces, a perfect storm,” Gerr added. “E-mail volumes are just exploding. It has become the de facto filing cabinet for storage and e-mail was not designed for that.” At the same time, he said, e-mail has moved from being a simple communications tool to a business tool, a means of exchanging business information and files.

“If you use e-mail to do business, it becomes a business record and it falls under corporate governance rules,” Gerr said. “It becomes a legal [business] record and if you have been watching the news, you know that e-mail has become a critical in corporate investigations. You have to have those e-mails archived and available, in some cases within 48 hours of a formal request being made.”

Gerr said that Veritas’ earlier acquisition of KVault Software Limited in 2004 for US$ 225 million puts the merged Symantec and Veritas in the forefront of e-mail archiving, management, protection and recovery.

Kevin Ladd, director of infrastructure with Direct Media Inc. in Greenwich, CT already is using Veritas’ Enterprise Vault 5.0 to manage and archive the company’s growing e-mail communications. Enterprise Vault is a software-based archiving solution for managing and content in Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint Portal Server, instant messaging and file server environments.

“Our e-mail traffic is growing about 10 GB a month for our 250 users and that has been the case for the last two to three months,” Ladd continued. “The size of that e-mail grows with time as more people send more attachments and bigger attachments.”

Ladd said Enterprise Vault allows him to create individual user folders where e-mail can be stored, and different archiving methodologies deployed. Back up and archiving automatic, he said, with archiving set up so word searches can be done of e-mail and the information contained within, as well as advanced searches focusing on phrases and file types.

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