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Cohesity slams rivals and loves up to Veritas partners over takeover

Cohesity slams rivals and loves up to Veritas partners over takeover

The acquisition of most of the Veritas business by Cohesity last month, to create a market leading cloud data management player, shocked the channel. But what of the fall-out for both customers and partners? IT Europa reports from a reassuring Cohesity boardroom.

We are on the IT Press Tour of Denver and Silicon Valley this week, and stopped off at Cohesity’s San Jose headquarters to find out how it intends calming both sides of the acquisition. Cohesity CEO Sanjay Poonen (pictured) and his full C-Suite came out swinging.

“We’re number 8 and they are number 3 in the market, it’s a creative deal. Combined, we serve 96% of the Fortune 100, and we will have more engineering ability than anyone else in the market,” said Poonen.

“No customer will be left behind from this deal. Despite what our rivals are saying about it, we are not in a ‘chaotic’ or ‘confusing’ situation, we are crystal clear about our plans.

“Any customer who wants to know about our plans going forward can have them under NDA [non-disclosure agreement]. I don’t think a single Veritas customer will defect.”

He went on: “It’s not necessary to reveal our plans publicly, but we will support Veritas customers forever. There is no point revealing the details of the strategy until we gain regulatory approval for the deal, and there are market rules we have to abide by as it is looked at.

“If any customer really does want to leave, it will actually be easier if they wait for us to complete the deal, as we can offer them migration tools for Cohesity and Veritas better than anyone else.

“We are at the top end of the market [in terms of data volume solutions for large customers]. If we had hundreds of thousands of customers, it would take us longer to address customer concerns or needs. But we don’t, we have 10,000 customers combined.”

The likes of Commvault, for instance, has been gleeful in public about what it sees as an opportunity to gain Veritas customers from its arch legacy rival. Commvault has told IT Europa it could “take up to three years” for Cohesity and Veritas products to be fully integrated, for instance.

“We want to keep our competitors guessing. If any of our customers are worried or upset, let them come to talk to us first, they should always do that if they’re leaving anyone,” Poonen said.

“I always tell my team to be ‘competition aware’ and ‘customer obsessed’, not the other way round, unlike our competitors.”

But, with all this said, what about the partners, will any partner be left behind? The combined entity has 3,000 partners.

When Broadcom completed its acquisition of VMware, a widescale partner cull was on the cards when Broadcom said only the higher revenue -generating VMware partners would be kept on the books. In the end, after an outcry across the VMware channel, the number of partners lost was more modest.

Poonen said: “There will be some at the tail-end who may well fall away, but we are not planning a cull of partners. Anyone who wants to be a sales generator will remain a partner. Veritas has some very well established partners who have been there for a very long time. There may be some who just don’t want to go through this change, that is only natural. But we are not looking to get rid of anyone.”

Kit Beall, Cohesity chief revenue officer, confirmed that this went for Veritas distributors too. He acknowledged that Cohesity had to be very careful about its communications around the deal. “I used to be at VMware, and looking in, the situation there was a mess, we have to be careful about our messaging,” said Beall.