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Veritas: Dell EMC’s no marriage made in heaven

LAS VEGAS — In the pre-Symantec days when Veritas was an independent storage software company, its executives frequently bashed their primary competitor EMC. That rhetoric cooled after Symantec bought Veritas, and the chief EMC bashers (including current Dell EMC CMO Jeremy Burton) left Symantec.

With Veritas Technologies on its own again, its executives have resumed public attacks on EMC along with its new owner Dell. Veritas Vision in Las Vegas this week was filled with snarky pokes at both principals in the newly formed Dell EMC.

During a keynote given by Veritas CMO Lynn Lucas at the first Veritas Vision user conference in more than a decade, the company flashed a question for customers to ponder: “What is worse than a lifetime of hardware with EMC? An eternity in Dell.”

Veritas also took out an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal, stating “There is a special place in Dell for hardware.”

Mike Palmer, Veritas’ senior vice president and general manager of solutions for data insight and orchestration, said during his keynote address Tuesday that companies like EMC’s and Dell’s historical agenda was to sell more hardware in a world that is becoming more focused on software defined storage. Even when EMC acquired the successful VMware virtualization company, it “kept you in a walled garden of the VMware ecosystem.”

Palmer even compared EMC to convicted Los Angeles drug dealer Rick “Freeway” Ross.

“This is a guy that knew more about product lock-in than anyone. … He bought houses to store his cash,” Palmer said. “Rick Ross went to jail. Today, he sells T-shirts. EMC went to Hell, I mean to Dell.”

Palmer also took a swipe at Dell EMC’s Data Domain deduplication storage hardware, saying that for customers it’s like a 30-year-old kid living in the basement.

“He’s never moving out,” he said, while a bloated, man sitting on a sofa couch appeared on the screen.

In focusing on the Dell and EMC merger, Veritas tried to revive its own historical roots as a “no hardware agenda” that was its primary message before it was acquired by Symantec 10 years ago for $13.5 billion. On Aug. 2015 Symantec announced the sale of its Veritas information management business to The Carlyle Group. Veritas and Symantec achieved operational separation last Oct. 1, and the sale closed Jan. 30 when Veritas became a privately held company.

“Veritas is making the assumption that EMC separately or together with Dell cannot get away from their (hardware) past,” said Arun Taneja, founder of the Taneja Group storage consulting firm. “Veritas recognizes that they were considered a has-been company. They have been missing in action (under the Symantec ownership). So they needed to do something that was in-your-face and edgy. It’s their way of saying, ‘I’m back and you are going to pay attention to me.’

“The way to do that was to poke fun at the 800-pound gorilla. It was a gutsy choice.”

Taneja said Dell’s and EMC’s revenues still rely primarily on hardware. VMware, which gave EMC a beachhead in the virtualization software space, is also owned by Dell.

“Now with the merger, (Dell and EMC) have so many issues that this is the time for a pure software company, which is what Veritas has been from the beginning,” Taneja said. “Now, if they can pull it off, they will be back in the game. If they can’t, it will be a sad ending to the company.”

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