Data protector and manager Cohesity has confirmed an agreement to buy Veritas‘ data protection business.
Update. Hyperconverged offering clarified. DataCo details added. Backup Exec exclusion explained. Jerome Wendt comment added.8 January 2024.
Veritas, which private equity house Carlyle bought from Symantec for $7.4 billion in 2015, supplies data protection and management products. It is regarded as a legacy data protection vendor, which has moved into cloud with Alta. The CEO is Greg Hughes. Cohesity, led by CEO Sanjay Poonen, was founded by Mohit Aron in 2013 and has raised $660 million in total funding. The company supplies data protection and cyber resilience software, provided as cloud services. It also has a CS5000 HCI data protection appliance product line.
“This deal will combine Cohesity’s speed and innovation with Veritas’ global presence and installed base,” said Poonen in a statement. “This combination will be a win-win for our collective 10,000 customers and 3,000 partners, and I can’t wait to work with the Veritas team to bring our vision to life.”
“We will lead the next era of AI-powered data security and management by bringing together the best of both product portfolios – Cohesity’s scale-out architecture ideally suited for modern workloads and strong Generative AI and security capabilities and Veritas’ broad workload support and significant global footprint, particularly in the Global 500 and large public sector agencies.”
Cohesity’s Turing initiative involves a generative AI partnership with Google Cloud and Vertex AI platform for building and scaling machine learning models. Cohesity is extending this initiative by working with AWS Bedrock to have business context-aware answers generated in response to user requests and questions.
Veritas’ data protection operation is understood to have a value of more than $3 billion, including debt. To pay for this, Cohesity has raised some $1 billion in equity and $2 billion in debt from an investment group including Haveli Investments, Premji Invest, and Madrona. The combined Cohesity-Veritas data protection business has a reported $7 billion valuation.
The new entity will have a $1.6 billion annual revenue run rate, the companies said.
The deal should close by the end of 2024, and Carlyle will roll over or retain its holding in the Veritas data protection business and join Cohesity’s board, along with Veritas CEO Hughes.
The remainder of Veritas’ business, said to include data compliance and backup services, will be placed in a new company by Carlyle. It will be called DataCo and will include Veritas’ InfoScale, Data Compliance, and Backup Exec businesses. It is interesting that Backup Exec is not included in the Cohesity-Veritas transaction, perhaps because it is regarded as an SME data protection product. A Cohesity spokesperson said: “I’ll just say that Cohesity is focused on the enterprise, and the businesses from Veritas that we are combining with keep us focused on the enterprise.” Lawrence Wong, presently SVP of Strategy and Products at Veritas, will head DataCo.
Commvault’s chief customer officer, Sarv Saravanan, said: “This deal between Cohesity and Veritas could create complete chaos for customers. Platform integration challenges and redundant product portfolios could take years to address. With cyberattacks increasing in severity and frequency, there’s no time for that. Customers need to know if they’re hit, they can recover fast. In today’s world, cyber resilience equals business resilience.”
The combined Cohesity-Veritas business has c10,000 customers and c3,000 partners with hundreds of exabytes of data under management.
DCIG proprietor Jerome Wendt opines: “This acquisition gives both companies what they want and enterprises what they need. Veritas NetBackup gets the next-generation technologies in the form of AI, hyperconvergence, and a cloud platform that it needs to stay relevant. Cohesity gains immediate access to enterprise accounts and the ability to set NetBackup’s future technology direction by owning NetBackup. Finally, enterprises obtain a technical path forward that does not require them to abandon their investment in NetBackup.”
This deal is a major reshaping of the data protection and cyber resiliency landscape. Poonen became Cohesity CEO in August 2022 and he’s putting his own stamp on the company with this merger for Cohesity, which is still technically a startup.
The data protection and cyber resiliency market is fragmented with roughly three groups of suppliers:
- Legacy players: Commvault, Dell, IBM, Veeam, Veritas
- Fast-growing new arrivals: Cohesity, Druva, HYCU, Rubrik, and more
- Mature players: Arcserve, Asigra, NAKIVO, HPE’s Zerto, and many others
Rubrik, a strong rival to Cohesity, is reportedly gunning for an IPO, and Veeam surely has an IPO in its future. Cohesity filed for an IPO in December 2021 but it did not come to fruition. Now it could position itself for one in the 2025/2026 time frame once the Veritas acquisition has been digested and the business has a healthy bottom line. It is probable that a combined Cohesity-Veritas data protection and cyber resilience business will become one of the largest players in the data protection marketplace. William Blair’s Jason Ader thinks it will be the leading company, larger than Veeam. It’s good news for IBM as its Storage Defender offering includes Cohesity’s data protection as an integral part of the product.
There will be a lot of business and technology integration and consolidation inside the new business. We have heard, for example, that Cohesity’s hyperconverged offering – the Cohesity Data Cloud and the Helios interface – will get Veritas software IP and be offered as an upgrade to the Veritas customer base. Obviously there will need to be a single management facility and perhaps a combined data protection map and weakness identification facility.
This is the first major consolidation move in the fragmented backup industry. It may prompt more jostling for position as other legacy incumbents look to join with aggressive and faster growing new players to secure their position in an evolving market.