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EMC aims 'switcher' campaign at Veritas users

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The moment EMC bought Dantz, you knew it was coming - a big time marketing attack against Veritas.

EMC will officially let the hounds loose tomorrow when it announces something called the "Safe Switch" program. Marketing materials being distributed to the press show that this program will center on convincing customers to shift from their Vertias data backup products to rival software from EMC. The storage giant is looking to play on potential fears Veritas customers may have about the Symantec merger and is planning to tout upcoming releases of both Legato and Dantz products.

While EMC plans to "unveil" Safe Switch tomorrow, its executives actually started talking up the program earlier this month. David DeWalt, an EVP in EMC's software group, gave CRN a sneak peek at what's coming.

"The idea is to create a complete, programmatic way of giving our customers and our competitive customers ways to switch to EMC products," he told the magazine. We want to make that total cost of ownership easy for them to move.

"Specifically, we are going after (Veritas) Net BackUp in the data center with NetWorker, with disk-to-disk types of solutions. We have a lot of ways we can usurp Veritas' position in the data center."

EMC intends to offer support services as part of Safe Switch to customers moving to Oracle's 10g database. The idea being that customers upgrading their database might also be in the market for a new backup product. EMC, however, will have to be very convincing to shift customers from the popular Net Backup software to the NetWorker code acquired in its buy of Legato.

But this high-end competition between EMC and Veritas isn't terribly new.

What is new is that the Safe Switch campaign will see EMC using its Dantz software to really attack Veritas further down the food chain for the first time. EMC will provide the same type of support services to customers picking up new versions of Microsoft Exchange. It hopes to use the Dantz code to push Veritas' Backup Exec out of the way.

This will likely be EMC's hardest sell of all given Backup Exec's dominant position in the Windows backup market. EMC might win over the miniscule Mac customer base with Dantz product, but Dantz is hardly the fist name that comes to mind for Windows Server backup customers.

In addition, Veritas last week released its best version of Backup Exec to date. Whatever upgrade EMC has planned with the Dantz code will have to be very impressive.

EMC stated that it managed to steal 100 Veritas customers during the second half of 2004 and expects the Safe Switch campaign to continue this trend.

EMC has enjoyed a banner year with the software side of the house kicking into overdrive. Such success no doubt caught the eye of executives at Veritas, and they're sure to take the EMC backup threat seriously.

Still, it will take far more than a marketing move to unseat Veritas from its position as backup king. Customers interviewed recently by The Register don't seem terribly concerned about the upcoming Symantec integration and are pleased with the direction Veritas has taken in the backup arena. And, despite its ties to tape, Veritas is placing just as much emphasis as EMC on disk-based backup these days. It remains to be seen whether the Safe Switch program is light and fluffy or chock full of real benefits to customers. Either way, both EMC and Veritas clients are sure to benefit in the long run from a heated backup battle between the vendors. Let the games begin! ®

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