March 11, 2009, 2:25 AM — As I said last time, I'm at the ManageFusion user conference Tuesday and Wednesday. ManageFusion started as the user conference for Altiris, but Altiris was acquired by Symantec a couple of years ago. This will be the last ManageFusion; next year the former Altiris users will need to go to the Symantec Vision conference. You can't really blame Symantec for wanting a single show for all their users, because it's more convenient and less expensive than two big shows. But it's always sad to see a great user conference like ManageFusion disappear.
Enrique Salem, the current COO (Chief Operating Officer) of Symantec will soon take over as CEO (Chief Operating Officer). While taking over a big company ($6 Bllion or so world-wide revenue) is certainly exciting, doing so in an economy following the trajectory of Ralph the Diving Pig can't be fun. Salem say's he's up to it, however.
"We focus on storage management, data backup, and security," said Salem during a question and answer session after the opening keynote address. In fact, one of Salem's hooks for this year is "stop buying storage" until you buy software to manage the storage you already have but aren't using efficiently. Symantec folks quote Gartner research saying customers use only about 37 percent of their storage, meaning you have more open storage than you have used already.
In addition, security can't be dropped just because the economy's sagging. Companies must protect their data, meaning keeping up to date with security of all kinds. Since I consider data backup a security issue, it works out well for Symantec that the third leg of Salem's tripod is backup.
Salem said Symantec is the fourth largest software company in the world, which surprised me. He then said he's not thrilled about being in fourth place, but that he remains focused on storage, security, and backup, not rankings. Leading their markets makes him happier than trying to move up from fourth place.
To stay ahead, Symantec spends around $900 milliion on research and development every year. I'll see some of the new products about to hit the market tomorrow in an innovation showcase.
For those resellers reading this, Symantec and Salem appreciate you more today than last year. "Every year, a larger percentage of our revenue comes through the reseller channel," said Salem. With 59,000 or more resellers, and the release of Altiris 7 for Server and Desktop Management giving them a reason to knock on your door, you may get a chance to hear the "don't buy storage" catch phrase in person.