The Symantec Saga Continues – Integration Gone Wrong

by Mike Coney on October 28, 2014

Almost a year ago I wrote a blog post, “In Defense of Farmers,” after Symantec posted poor performance and then CEO Steve Bennett explained the reason for the gloomy guidance was, you guessed it, poor sales execution. In my blog, I wrote, “… in my mind, it guarantees that Symantec’s downward spiral is just beginning.”

Now a year later, with a new CEO at the helm of Symantec, the board has decided that splitting off the storage management division was in the best interest of shareholders.

But what about the customers?

What about the partners?

What about the employees?

I was working with Veritas in 2004 when our CEO pushed the board to sell the company to Symantec.  I had been with the company about 7 years and was a senior vice president, responsible for about 1,000 people in the Americas.  The last year prior to the merger was tough year for the tech industry as the bursting tech bubble crushed companies’ valuations and stock performance.  Veritas was not immune to such external pressures, however, we continued to drive growth into the business as our customers continued to deploy our products to protect their data.

On the surface, the Symantec-Veritas deal made sense: combining two software companies that would provide end-to-end solutions around security and storage data protection. However, what fell apart was in the actual integration of the two companies.

My old company, Veritas, was a Global 2000 supplier of enterprise storage management solutions. We bought Backup Exec (BUE) a few years earlier from Seagate, which was 100% channel focused with a robust set of partners, and we struggled to put growth back into that business.

Fast forward a few years and the reverse happened. Symantec – a 100% channel-driven software business – bought Veritas, then very quickly made decisions about how to run sales. Symantec’s CEO at the time pushed to have each salesperson sell all products – through a channel-only model.

You don’t have to be a genius to see what was going to happen – all the storage DNA began leaving the company in droves.

Backup Exec became a second-tier product, with many missteps and poor product releases. Hundreds of thousands of customers have fled and moved to companies like Unitrends. Today, those customers have no choice but to flee following Symantec’s recent announcement that the company would stop selling the Backup Exec 3600 appliance as of Jan. 5, 2015. This represents a complete withdrawal from the SMB purpose-built backup appliance (PBBA) market. By the way, Unitrends is here to help and has introduced a free trade-up from the BE3600 to select Unitrends Recovery-Series appliances.

The SMB PBBA market is in desperate need of innovation. Too many companies are spending too much money and time managing their backups. The larger technology suppliers are a poor fit for this market because they lack the focus on R&D and customer care required to meet the needs of this important customer segment. Small virtual or cloud-only companies are also a poor fit because they lack the heterogeneous support that is so prevalent in this market segment. Unitrends is uniquely positioned to support virtual, physical and cloud solutions to meet SMB customers’ demands, and we do it with a laser-focus that has consistently achieved a 98% customer satisfaction rating.

Stay tuned as we continue to innovate with solutions that raise the bar with PBBA, cloud and virtualization solutions.

As a standalone entity, Symantec’s Data Storage group will go through several quarters of poor performance as they struggle to get their go-to-market strategy right and build a balanced sales model.  You heard it here first.  Be sure to check back next year to see if my predictions hold true.



On Friday, Symantec announced that the Backup Exec 3600 (BE3600) backup appliance would be discontinued – Symantec will quit selling it on January 5, 2015. More information can be found here.

Symantec Backup Exec customers have seen a number of challenges over the last few years.  Backup Exec 2012 (BE2012) wasn’t greeted warmly by customers, the promised upgrades took a long time to start shipping, there’s been a huge amount of reported turmoil within the Symantec, Symantec recently announced a plan to split itself into two companies, and now this.

At Unitrends, we’d like to help.  So effective immediately, we’re announcing an aggressive – our CFO calls it “insanely aggressive” – offer to Symantec BE3600 customers.  We’re going to offer a free trade-up from the BE3600 to select Unitrends Recovery-Series appliances – the only thing the customer will have to pay for is a 3-year (or optionally to lock in rates a 5-year) support contract.  (And please note that these customers will also get free hardware at the end of their first three years as long as they continue to maintain a support contract.)

Why are we offering free hardware trade-ins when Unitrends is already experiencing record-setting growth?  Because we think that people who bought the BE3600 had the right idea – Purpose Built Backup Appliances (PBBAs) are for many customers simply a better approach to data protection than “build your own” software slapped on top of hardware.  It’s tougher for vendors to be responsible for all aspects of data protection – but it’s better for customers.  We don’t want to see Symantec customers who made the right choice to move to PBBAs have to go back to buying, integrating, monitoring, and managing separate server hardware, storage, networking, operating system, anti-virus, backup, retention, archiving, and other software.


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In the last post in this series we discussed new features in the latest version of Hyper-V replica.  There are a number of powerful new features that are now available.  So does this mean Hyper-V replica can be used as an alternative to backup? In a word, no.  Hyper-V replica is not the same as […]

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(The image above represents an example of replication and replicas – the cloning of sheep.  We’ll stay with this theme in our images over the next few posts.) In the next few blog posts we’ll discuss Hyper-V replica and backup.  In this first post we’ll briefly examine the new features of Windows Server 2012 R2 […]

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Take your backup capacity planning to a whole new level with these free tools

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While most of us may use a monitoring tool or collection of tools to help manage backup and recovery planning, there are gaps in what we know about the allocation of storage across the infrastructure. These gaps come to light when attempting to understand your data footprint and how storage is being consumed which is […]

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Hyper-V Backup and Unitrends Bridge

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Release 8 (our next release) for our Recovery-Series purpose built backup appliances and our Unitrends Enterprise Backup™ (UEB) virtual appliances, will be entering beta soon and be released in the fourth quarter.  A more comprehensive post (or series of posts!) will be made in the next few weeks concerning the overall feature/functionality, but because Windows Server […]

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