Huawei & Symantec Make It Official

The two plan a China joint venture that may or may not help Symantec storage

May 24, 2007

3 Min Read
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Huawei and Symantec plan a China-based joint venture aimed at supplying security and storage appliances to carriers and enterprises worldwide. But it's not clear how much it will help Symantec's storage efforts.

Rumors of the deal surfaced last month, as reported in Byte and Switch. (See Huawei-Symantec JV Rumored.) The deal mirrors the one Huawei formed with 3Com in 2003, which resulted in the launch of H3C, the company reabsorbed by 3Com in April. (See On 3Com's Storage Trail.)

The new joint venture is expected to be finalized by the end of 2007. It will be headquartered in Chengdu, China. Huawei will own 51 percent; Symantec, 49 percent. Huawei's 750-odd employees, its IP, its hardware, and its influence with carriers in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere will be opened to Symantec. In turn, Symantec will put $150 million into the new company.

The joint venture will market security and storage appliances, but it's not clear how the storage aspect will play out, or whose storage appliances are involved.

At first glance, it looks like Huawei's main goal is to use Symantec's security software for a fresh assault on telecom markets and enterprise customers."Network security will definitely form the foundation as telecom networks migrate toward an All IP environment. The partnership will enable us not only to provide leading network security solutions to carriers, but also to deliver professional security and storage solutions to enterprises, helping our customers build a safer and more efficient network," said Ren ZhengFei, chief executive officer, Huawei, in a prepared statement.

The open question is whether the deal will boost Symantec's storage prospects as well.

"I have my doubts," says one analyst, who asked not to be named. He says the venture won't really help Symantec unless Huawei specifically distributes Symantec's storage products. "And the JV does not appear to specify that."

Symantec didn't respond to inquiries at press time.

New wares could be developed. The announcement calls for Symantec to "contribute some of its leading enterprise storage and security software licenses, working capital, and its management expertise" to the joint venture, but there is a marked emphasis on tapping Huawei's R&D."Huawei and Symantec agree that we need to constantly innovate and develop new solutions to keep pace with the evolving risks and increased availability requirements facing service providers and enterprise customers," said John W. Thompson, chairman and chief executive officer, Symantec, in a prepared statement.

If the goal is to build new storage appliances, Huawei has some expertise to draw on. Huawei still markets storage products, including an iSCSI array called Neocean in partnership with H3C, even though that company is now owned entirely by 3Com and Neocean is sold only in China. While 3Com won't disclose plans to release Neocean elsewhere, H3C storage partners FalconStor, Intransa, iVivity, and Xyratex have indicated they see the product evolving geographically in the future. (See On 3Com's Storage Trail and FalconStor Focuses on China.)

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC)

  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

  • H3C Technologies Co. Ltd.

  • Intransa Inc.

  • iVivity Inc.

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS)

  • Xyratex Ltd.

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