Symantec To Enter Crowded Consumer Online Storage Business

The company, which already has an online storage business aimed at the business market, is planning to release a lower-cost service in the March time frame, said Jeff Kyle, group product manager for consumer products at Symantec.

Kyle declined to offer specifics about the service, but he did say it will primarily compete with similar services offered by Carbonite and EMC's Mozy.

Mozy was acquired by EMC early last year, and is now the base on which EMC is building a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering.

Symantec currently offers a business-oriented online storage software service called Symantec Protection Network, which it unveiled about a year ago as its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform.

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The Symantec Protection Network online data backup and recovery service is aimed at helping small and midsize businesses get access to online data protection, with one fee that covers the service, maintenance and support. The service leverages legacy Veritas backup and recovery solutions and legacy Symantec services management technology, and it relies on some redundant data centers that Symantec has set up for customers to use for online backups.

The big difference between the Symantec Protection Network and the upcoming service is that the former is aimed at business users while the latter is a point-service aimed at consumers, Kyle said.

"So there will be differences in product features as well as, probably, pricing," he said.

While Kyle declined to provide details, the upcoming service could be based on technology from SwapDrive, an online storage service provider acquired by Symantec last June.

Prior to the SwapDrive acquisition, Symantec had a two-year OEM relationship with the company. SwapDrive technology was in use as part of Symantec's Norton 360 antivirus and data protection offering.

Symantec is entering an evermore crowded market with a consumer-oriented online storage service.

In addition to established competitors like Carbonite and EMC Mozy, it will compete against new faces in the market.

These include companies like Qwest, which this month unveiled its Qwest Personal Digital Vault online backup service; Google, which is expected to unveil its GDrive service at any time; and perhaps even Scott Adams, the creator of the "Dilbert" comic strip, who has used the comics to plug a service possibly called

Entering the online storage market, however, does not guarantee success. Yahoo, for instance, has been telling customers that its Briefcase service will be closed on March 30.

Lessons have been absorbed from the closures of other online storage services, Kyle said. "We have looked at the market and consumers' needs and delivery, and we have learned," he said.