Security, Storage To Merge

The two disciplines have been closing in on each other for some time. Security has been moving from client protection to more of a network-based approach, as evidenced by the moves of Symantec and rivals McAfee and Trend Micro to partner with Cisco Systems.

Meanwhile, storage has become a larger part of the security conversation as systems that trigger data backup based on threat levels have arrived. In October, Symantec introduced its LiveState Recovery products. Likewise, Computer Associates International sells its security and storage offerings as complementary.

"Over the long term, [security and storage] is a good technology marriage. A big concern with storage networks now is storage security. It isn't being successfully done with small outside-the-box companies. So the marriage of data and security is a good opportunity, a windfall for Symantec," said Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a solution provider in Denver.

Symantec's proposed deal with Veritas is also a major indicator that the heyday of security as a hot, stand-alone market may be coming to an end, according to Wall Street analysts and other industry observers.

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The deal prompted speculation about the fates of pure-play vendors such as McAfee, Fortinet and SonicWall. Beyond that, it poses significant new challenges for companies such as IBM and CA that are re-evaluating how they market their separate storage and security products.

"The trend is set for companies to demand a single solution for storage and security, and this deal makes sense," said one Wall Street analyst, who requested anonymity.

The change for Symantec should be significant, with many experts predicting more acquisitions by the vendor.

"For Symantec, it is a security vendor in the process of reinventing itself into a risk management company," said Steve Hunt, vice president and research director for security at Forrester Research. "Security architectures depend more and more on data management architectures. When a company develops a security architecture, one of the biggest steps is to negotiate with data management on where to store event logs, intrusion detection information, and so on."

An EMC spokesman said the storage giant viewed the absorption of Veritas into a larger company as inevitable, noting that independent software companies are struggling for relevance with customers who are looking for simplicity and fewer vendors.

The acquisition of Veritas demonstrates there will continue to be consolidation in the storage industry, the spokesman said. Because mergers of this scale can be disruptive, it also presents an opportunity for EMC to expand its storage software leadership while the two companies of nearly equal size merge two R&D organizations, management teams and sales forces, he said.

JOSEPH F. KOVAR contributed to this story.