On April 25, 1997, the merger between Veritas Software Corp and OpenVision Technologies Inc was finalized (CI No 3,078). The resulting Veritas company has appointed the former Veritas’ Mark Leslie as co-chairman and chief executive. OpenVision’s chief executive Geoff Squire has been appointed co-chairman and vice president of sales and services. On the face of it, here we have two companies of like size and similar revenues coming together in an attempt to deliver a coherent product portfolio from a mixed bag of technology. On offer is the promise of end-to-end storage management – a means of securing data from the application level right down to the operating system. But the OpenVision brand will disappear – could it signal the end of some of its products, as well? There’s no need to scrape any deeper than the surface of this supposed merger to see it represents more of a meeting of marketing mindsets, than a coming together of products with a good degree of fit. Beneath the ‘merger’ gloss of the deal are compromises on both sides and some inevitable product rationalization. It is not, in fact, a merger at all but the acquisition by Veritas of OpenVision. So Veritas has now acquired an established product portfolio as well as an established and complementary sales channel. OpenVision has a lot to bring to the party in terms of its European operations. By acquiring OpenVision, Veritas is set to capitalise on the growing distributed systems by strengthening sales channels and broadening its product offering. The introduction of enterprise client-server systems has brought an increased complexity to the problems of data management. Systems previously under central control are now spread across hundreds or thousands of desktops. All of these need some individual management to deploy software and ensure security. All are interconnected via networks where a failure can affect performance or bring down a mission-critical application.
Addresses the spectrum of data storage problems
The inter-dependencies are many and varied and the new Veritas addresses the entire spectrum of data storage problems with a full spread of products. In many ways the merger looks good news for users. The 400 or so staff, the $60 million revenue stream, and the focus on end-to-end storage management is likely to foster a strong development culture which should give rise to new and enhanced products aimed at sites wanting high performance file management systems. But it will be interesting to see how the merged companies will handle the task of merging their product architectures. The two are not mutually exclusive, though there will be much greater focus on the storage management tools than any other of the areas of OpenVision’s past interests. On the surface, the combine looks to have highly synergistic sales and partnership arrangements – good new for shareholders. The well-established OEM customer links of Veritas and OpenVision’s direct sales channel, support infrastructure and the installed base of Global 2000 corporates provides much more room for growth in areas Veritas has so far not addressed directly. Along with all this seemingly good news there has to be some bad. The tight integration of products such as OpenVision’s NetBackup and Veritas’ VxFS and VxVM will create one of the best performing backup environments in the marketplace. In order to achieve this, however, a number of products will be dropped that have served OpenVision well in the past and so some customers may be lost along the way. There is bound to be some wastage where business functions duplicate or employees can not adapt to the new culture, but Veritas will still be a sizeable concern. For the old Veritas, there will be new sales channels to discover and a new class of customer. That said, Veritas has no profile in the corporate sector whatsoever, though its reputation – once scrutinized – can only help it win over corporate accounts. It will need to market itself vigorously over the next year. The organization that comes out of this merger will look nothing like the two that went into the deal. OpenVision will end up with a new focus and a tightly integrated set of backup products. Veritas will have to start designing products and services to work with real customers. The merged product line will be one of the most comprehensive available for catering effectively to the needs for off-line and on-line storage management features in distributed computing systems, and extending from proven application failover products to those that are embedded by OEM customers, at operating system level. It will not be easy for either side but they can use existing product ranges to support the business as it gets used to its new workings. These are two companies that think along similar lines and it is likely that resulting products will be best of breed and technically advanced.