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Some people seem to have trouble understanding why Symantec bought Veritas. To me, it was a no-brainer.

Symantec, like it or lump it, is the brand name of PC anti-viral software. Veritas, in turn, owns the backup market. Don’t you think most users, and your customers, would like having one stop for both data protection and backup?

Veritas may not be as much of a household name as Symantec. But with a 40.4 percent revenue share in backup and archiving storage software, according to IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Storage Software Tracker report, versus 19.1 percent for the No. 2 player, Computer Associates, Veritas is a business name that opens doors.

This deal isn’t just about providing PC and LAN users with a security belt and suspenders, though. Veritas is a lot more than just Backup Exec; it’s also a heavyweight in Unix circles with top-flight high availability, data management and application metrics software.

I know many Solaris administrators who swear by VCS (Veritas Cluster Server) for both high availability and clustering management.

And I know even more Unix-AIX, HP-UX, Solaris and RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) administrators who wouldn’t think of running top-of-the-line SANs (storage area networks) without Veritas Storage Foundation. Storage Foundation combines VxVM Veritas Volume Manager and Veritas File System

No, I think when you look at everything that Veritas brings to the table, it’s clear to me that Symantec intends on expanding beyond the SMB (small to medium business) market to being a true enterprise player.

One company in particular already lives where I see Symantec going: CA (Computer Associates).

And don’t think for a minute that CA doesn’t see this.

“The merger of Symantec and Veritas indicates that both companies have finally recognized the importance of a strategy CA first defined and began executing years ago: the integration of security management and storage management to fulfill customers’ requirements for coherent, efficient enterprise data management,” said Debra Novack, a CA spokesperson.

“CA is years ahead of Symantec in delivering integrated solutions, as is evident from the work we’ve done with our eTrust and BrightStor product lines,” Novack said.

“It will take Symantec at least 18 to 24 months to get where we are today—and by that time, CA will have made significant advances in the integration of storage management and security.”

On the other hand, many integrators and resellers tell me they think CA is still reeling from former CEO Sanjay Kumar’s resignation, and they’re still not sure what to make of CA’s new, consolidated One Partner Program.

That said, the buzz so far is that resellers do like CA’s new direct-sales, territorial model, where CA’s managers get paid based on both direct and reseller sales.

Over with Veritas and Symantec, I’ve also heard from a lot of Veritas partners who aren’t at all sure where Symantec is taking the channel program. For example, they still don’t know how the Veritas channel partner programs are going to be grandfathered into Symantec’s PartnerNet program. Or, for that matter, if Veritas’ partners are even going to be integrated into Symantec’s partner structure at any meaningful level.

It’s still early in the merger, but the sooner Symantec addresses these issues, the better for all of its channel partners. Insecure partners are unhappy partners.

Meanwhile, Computer Associates says its strategy is more comprehensive. “CA’s management integration strategy goes well beyond storage and security to encompass systems and network management, database management and the entire application life cycle,” Novack said. “This merger still leaves Symantec with gaping holes in all of these areas.”

I don’t see that. No, Veritas and Symantec combined don’t offer everything that Computer Associates does, but Veritas’ i3 application service management solutions are nothing to sneeze at in the application and database management space.

The bottom line is that Symantec-Veritas has the potential to be a real competitor for CA. My only real question about the new software powerhouse, though, is a simple one: When are they going to get their channel act together? If they quickly move to give their partners a clear plan of action, I think CA is going to be in for one heck of a fight. Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been using and writing about operating systems since the late ’80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way.