Symantec Enterprise Vault Product Management Team Leaving

Email archiving is a fast growing market, driven by the new FRCP amendments and the demand for improved email data management for eDiscovery, and Symantec's Enterprise Vault is the market leader.

Recently, however, key members of the product team have been leaving:

Thoughts and speculations:

  • Symantec is having difficulties integrating a diverse range of content control and security products, of which Enterprise Vault is an important element
  • Maybe there is a high level shakeup occurring in the Symantec ranks over the direction and management of Enterprise Vault
  • Enterprise Vault has been relatively quiet in 2007 with only 1 product release and 1 business partner release. See here for details
  • Back in May 2006, SearchExchange reported on support problems with Enterprise Vault. See here. Maybe we are seeing a delayed impact as Symantec struggles internally to set a new course for Enterprise Vault
  • Symantec acquired Enterprise Vault when it acquired Veritas Software. Veritas previously acquired Enterprise Vault when it acquired KVS, a private software company. Enterprise Vault is an old (ten year old) product that is approaching is end of useful life and needs significant upgrades. For example, it continue to use Alta Vista as its core index engine even though Alta Vista has been obsolete and end-of-life for over three years
  • Enterprise Vault is facing increased competition from new and established vendors. This is eroding its market share and reducing its profit margins

Any further thoughts would be welcome--please either post as a comment, or if you prefer, email me at david.ferris@ferris.com. If you prefer confidentiality, let me know and we won't identify the source.

... David Ferris

One Comment

  1. Greg
    Posted January 29, 2008 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

    David,

    Thanks for your insight. Having worked on the Enterprise Vault team since the KVS days, I would like to tender my comments to your article.

    1)Nick Mehta leaving, was a decision Nick made as he is an aspiring CEO. Nick always wanted to run his own company, and likely would not achieve that goal at Symantec. You state this yourself in your article “entrepreneur in residence”. And, we all wish Nick the best and would never hesitate to again work for him some day. Nick, is a brilliant visionary.
    2)Scott Whitney leaving – well, he did the entire Enterprise Vault community a favor. This is Symantec’s gain and Mimosa’s loss….
    3)Support was an issue at one time, as the product customer base grew much faster than the support team. Since coming on board and assuming the VP of support position, Toni Pavlovich has turned Enterprise Vault support into a leading organization. You should speak with the customers, such as Inova Health systems who stood up at Vision in 2006 and ripped John Thompson on EV support. Call them know – complete about face.
    4)Product releases have slowed, as the product has matured into a complete intelligent archive. With all the new functionality, additional functionality tends to be more complicated as demands from customers become more in depth. The next release of the product due in 2008, is going to knock your socks off – stay tuned.
    5)Regarding Alta Vista, it’s difficult to find a replacement to something which works so well. Although the product team has been on that search, nothing matches up. Have you looked at the indexing of all the big competitors? Guess what, they also use Alta Vista expect they typically do not use the Enterprise version and they also tend to implement one large index. One large index, is equivocal to Russian Roulette – get the gun.
    6)Enterprise Vault is the hottest selling product at Symantec. Market penetration has increased, however there may be an appearance market share has decreased. Why? There used to be a small percentage of companies interested in archiving and compliance. It’s a new world my friend, every company is now interested in archiving and compliance so the competition is gaining share at the lower ends of the market. Or, some companies just give their software away as an inclusion with a Hardware Storage purchase, due to knowing no one would actual pay for that software in its current state.

    Thanks for the opportunity welcoming my commnetary back.

  2. Posted January 31, 2008 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    Hi David,

    As one of the folks mentioned in the article, I thought I’d comment as well. First of all, let me open by saying that you do a great job bringing together the messaging and compliance community. I enjoy reading your newsletters (even now that I’m no longer in the business 🙂
    ) and appreciated the invitations to participate in your spirited webcasts or Beauty Contests as you called them over the years. You built this community before this area became hot and showed a lot of foresight in doing so.

    I also appreciate the openness of a forum like this to exchange insights on the industry.

    The post made some hypotheses about my departure and I thought I’d clear those up. My reasons for leaving were pretty-openly stated. I was an entrepreneur before joining VERITAS in 2002 and always planned to go back to the startup world to run my own company. Having been at VERITAS/Symantec 5 years, I felt it was a good time to go back. You can read more at http://fitfuldreams.wordpress.com/2007/10/25/work-ramblings-what-im-doin
    g-now/
    Quite honestly, running the Enterprise Vault team at Symantec and getting the opportunity to work with such a wonderful group of employees, customers and partners has been the highlight of my professional career. I can only hope to come close to that experience in my coming ventures. But life is short and my dream has always been to build and run my own company, so I’m taking a shot.

    In any case, I’m sure there will be a healthy debate on the other points listed and I, of course am still a big believer in Enterprise Vault, but I’ll leave that to the folks still in the business. I at least wanted to clear up the personal point made about me.

    Thanks!
    Nick

  3. Posted February 1, 2008 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    Thanks Nick–good to get your input and I look forward to hearing about the next step in your flourishing career.

  4. Posted February 1, 2008 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    Regarding Greg’s comment. I emailed him asking who he works for and his relationship with Symantec. He used a gmail address. Know his affiliation might help interpret his comments. Haven’t heard back yet.

  5. Posted February 2, 2008 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    A couple email inquiries from former coworkers pushed me to post a clear disclaimer that I am not the ‘Greg’ that made the first comment.

    As a former member of the Enterprise Vault PM team, I would caution anyone from reading too much into Nick and Scott moving back into smaller, more entrepreneurial directions. Nick left the products in very capable hands and I expect to see continued, steady growth and innovation on the archiving platform. I also feel that the comment on Scott was unfair and just plain wrong. His experience at Inktomi helped grow the APIs and ‘intelligence’ of the platform.

    Adapting the archiving value proposition to the new business demands of compliance and discovery pose many challenges, but Enterprise Vault invested in these areas first and continues to be ahead of the competition.

    Greg Buckles
    former Sr. Product Manager (Discovery Accelerator)
    Greg@Reason-eD.com

  6. Martin
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Just leaving a comment/correct Greg Ms comment about Altavista.

    Symantec Enterprise Vault is one of the last few enterprise applications using the OEM search technology of Altavista .. years after FAST Technologies recommended its customers to pursue other options. As far as archiving products go .. Enterprise Vault might well be the ‘last man standing’ on Altavista

    Even Zantaz/Autonomy EAS has moved on these days to IDOL. While I agree that Altavista really does do its job (it does do basic search well), is compact (i.e. full text runs about 10-15% compared to other indexes that are substantially larger) and mature .. it still is a dead end road.

    The reason other search indexes are much larger is because they offer customers far more functionality like proximity searches.

  7. Posted February 5, 2008 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    I never heard back from the first Greg, asking about who he worked for. A contact has emailed me saying \”I presume the Greg that commented on that article is Greg Mezo .. IRM Specialist at Symantec. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/189/2b6

  8. Posted February 12, 2008 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    David,
    I am not sure who the “first Greg” was, but I can assure you I didn’t leave that post. I haven’t been working with the EV team “since KVS days”. My first introduction to EV was in 2005 when I was employed at Veritas Software Canada and the parent company acquired KVS that year.

    Interesting blog though.

    Greg Mezo
    IRM Sales Specialist, Symantec Canada

  9. Greg
    Posted February 21, 2008 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

    Sorry, didn’t see your reply come back. Former employee now over at HP

  10. WaitForPete
    Posted March 3, 2008 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

    Hey Nick,

    don’t worry about the EV team, your replacement is awesome!
    { 9-)

  11. Daniel Maiworm
    Posted May 26, 2008 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

    To add something to the AltaVista discussion:

    It is never the right time to change an index engine. Zantaz (when it was still EAS) started with Windows indexing (cough!), moved on to Sharepoint indexing, offered Altavista to suggest they have finally caught up with KVS and are now promoting Autonomy/IDOL (Overkill for most Email Archiving customers). That’s 4 changes in direction in roughly 7 years.

    If I was a customer and have been able to read and keep my indexes for nearly 10 years (since Compaq Enterprise Vault hit the street in Early 1999) I would actually applaud the EV team for NOT changing the direction to the latest and greatest technology all the time: This is about long-term archiving not winning a technology beauty contest. Altavista is proven, reliable, stable, and uses a minimum of resources. Above all: Symantec has the rights to use Altavista for at least 5-10 more years,

    There will be a replacement for Altavista in the not too distant future, probably leaving it as a “Read-only” index for existing data so customers don’t have to migrate by bringing back all data (The largest EV installations have close to 100TB!)

    With Microsoft buying Fast, Google Enterprise finally being Enterprise-ready and Microsoft announcing Search-Server, leaving Autonomy as a tiny, defensive Niche solution, I can can understand the EV team if they wait for the dust to settle before hopefully making a decision that is sustainable for another 10 years at least!

    Daniel

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