Symantec Takes Aim At Data Center Complexity

Symantec is bringing all of its weapons to bear to fight the growing complexity of infrastructure in data center environments.

In a Tuesday keynote speech to some 3,500 customers, partners and analysts at Symantec Vision 2007 in Las Vegas, Symantec Chairman and CEO John Thompson said the company's security, storage and management tools form a powerful arsenal for battling data center complexity.

"People continue to equate Symantec with security, but that doesn't reflect the full breadth of our portfolio. Let me acquaint you with the other 'S' word: storage," Thompson said.

Businesses have begun to focus more on managing risk than on managing devices in the network, which reflects the need for a multifaceted technology, according to Thompson.

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"The convergence of security and storage and systems management is a reality in today's market. You can't separate security risk from the application or the infrastructure," he said.

Storage demands are doubling every two years, but utilization rates in the industry average between 30 percent and 35 percent because much of the disk space is being used to host duplicate files, Thompson said.

Symantec aims to tackle data center complexity via its Storage United initiative, a strategy for helping enterprises deploy a single solution that includes backup, archiving, replication, and storage resource management software, Thompson said..

As part of the effort, Symantec on Tuesday rolled out NetBackup 6.5, which comes with native disk-based backup, data de-duplication, and deep integration with intelligent backup appliances and virtual tape libraries.

Thompson also gave the audience a sneak preview of a pair of new releases that reflect Symantec's belief that it's important to understand how data is being handled across the enterprise, all the way down to the endpoint.

Symantec's Information Foundation suite is designed to help businesses manage risks such as data leaks, and it includes archiving and retention tools that help organizations get a handle on what's flowing inside and outside the network.

On Wednesday, Symantec plans to unveil a new version of Information Foundation that expands the scope of coverage to e-mail, instant messaging and Web messaging using a blend of technology from the company's IMLogic acquisition and technology developed in-house, Thompson said.

Also slated to launch Wednesday is the public beta of Endpoint Protection 11, the product formerly known as Hamlet. Endpoint Security 11, which replaces the Antivirus Corporate Edition product line, is the culmination of Symantec's efforts to integrate technology from its Sygate, Whole Security and Veritas acquisitions, according to Thompson.

A key new feature of the new release is defense against zero-day attacks, Thompson noted. "We believe this is a game-changing solution, one that will reset the bar not just for antivirus, but for protecting endpoints," he said.

The new release includes SONAR (Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response), a technology that looks at the behavior of malicious code, Thompson said. Symantec picked up the technology in the Whole Security deal.

Together, Endpoint Protection 11 and Information Foundation represent a new management paradigm, combining standard security and data management to give businesses better visibility into their security posture, Thompson said.

"We believe this is a first step toward operationalizing security," Thompson said, referring to the ability to turn security into a standard business process.