Symantec's Vision: Integrating Storage Across The Board

Opening With 'The More Music Machine' Band

Tuesday at the 2008 Symantec Vision conference started off with music from a band called, at least for this conference, "The More Music Machine." The "more" in the title by coincidence just happened to also be the theme of the entire conference.

More 'More'

Steve Trilling, vice president of security technology and response, was the emcee for "The More Show." Again, that's "more" as in the theme of the conference. Trilling ran a fake talk show complete with his opening monologue and the show band, "The More Music Machine." The only thing missing were guests to use the comfortable-looking couch on stage.

John Thompson, chairman and CEO did come on stage after being introduced by Trilling, but he only sat on the couch for about 10 seconds to make Trilling look good.

Trilling, while getting good laughs, probably will not take over The Tonight Show after Jay Leno retires. In fact, he said he worried about whether he would even have a job at Symantec after his on-stage performance.

Customer Challenges

John Thompson, chairman and CEO of Symantec, told the approximately 2,300 attendees of Symantec Vision 2008 that they represent a diverse set of customers from organizations of different sizes in different industries and different countries.

"But regardless of who I'm talking to, I hear about one essential challenge: the need to secure and manage an enormous amount of information -- and, to do so in a more holistic way," Thompson said.

The average medium-to-large enterprise sees its data grow about 50 percent a year, and that information is increasingly distributed and mobile.

"In addition to the structured data that is so important to typical business decision-making, you also need to worry about data that lives in hard-to-protect unstructured formats -- email, spreadsheets, and instant messages," he said. "And as software-as-a-service continues to grow in popularity, your most sensitive data -- more often than not -- will be found in the "cloud."

Securing and managing all this information is a tough job that requires the efficient use of corporate resources in an IT environment that is constantly changing, Thompson said.

Four Key Information Management Challenges

Thompson cited four key trends that will shape future approaches to managing the growing volume of information.

The first is the ongoing migration from tape to disk, which provides improved operational control and cuts the administrative burden and manual mishaps associated with tapes. It also speeds up the data back-up and recovery process. As a result, Thompson said the lines of archiving, backup, and disaster recovery are blurring, and the separate products in use today will come together as a single solution.

The second trend is changes in the threat landscape, with a growing number of threats targeted at information, not just the network or a device, he said. Addressing this requires moving to an information-centric security model which requires classifying which data will become critical in order to best determine how to store and protect it.

The third trend, increased IT governance, stems from an increase in the number of mandates that drive organizations to take an enterprise-wide view of their risk posture and compliance status. This will push IT to take a stronger leadership role across the organization. Also, companies can expect new levels of automation as security, information management, and compliance technologies continue to converge.

The fourth trend is what Thompson called the "consumerization" of IT. As companies open their electronic doors to partners, suppliers, and customers, it will change how they deliver services to their employees and customers, especially as employees increasingly bring their own devices, including laptops and mobile devices, onto the network and participate in social networking activities in the office.

"No matter which of these trends affects you most, or how great the challenges may be, I believe we can help you secure and manage your information-driven world against more risks, at more points, and do it more completely than any other company in the world," he said.

Integrated Solutions

Thompson introduced several new solutions that Symantec is using to help mitigate those challenges, especially those that feature tighter integration between the different products the company offers.

For instance, he said that Symantec's ThreatCon global security alerting system is now integrated with its Backup Exec family of products so that backups can be triggered automatically by heightened threat levels.

Symantec is also integrating and sharing technology between its Backup Exec and NetBackup data protection applications to provide more solutions across all buyer segments, and has added continuous data protection to NetBackup so that changes to mission-critical applications are backed up in real time.

Server virtualization is also increasingly important, and Symantec supports server virtualization technologies from such vendors as VMware, Palo Alto, Calif.; Citrix Systems, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; and Microsoft, Redmond, Wash.

He also introduced Veritas Virtual Infrastructure, which later this year will integrate Citrix XenServer technology and Symantec's Veritas Storage Foundation into a single solution to help customers manage their physical and virtual server and storage environments in a consistent manner.

Symantec is also working on software-as-a-service with its Symantec Protection Network it introduced earlier this year. The Symantec Protection Network started by delivering online backup and disaster recovery services for mid-sized companies with integration with Backup Exec, and will be expanded with new offerings such as archiving, messaging, and endpoint security services.

Symantec also plans to integrate its data loss prevention solutions with its endpoint, archiving, and backup products.

At the end of this year, Symantec also plans to unveil Altiris 7.0, an enhancement to its services-oriented management platform with integrated workflow capabilities to enable more IT automation, as well as tighter integration with endpoint management and security solutions and our system recovery tools, Thompson said.

"I'm proud of our offerings," he said. "It's the strongest product portfolio we've ever had."

Going Green With Fewer Bottles

Symantec provided attendees with plastic water bottles as part of their attendee package, and encouraged attendees to fill them up with water from fountains such as this. The goal, according to the sign, was to save 15,000 disposable plastic water bottles from going into landfills this week.

Going Green With Fewer Bottles? Really?

Someone seems to think reporters are not an ecologically-minded lot, and stocked the media room with plenty of disposable plastic water bottles.

Integrating Server Virtualization With Storage Management

Rob Soderbery, senior vice president of Symantec's storage and availability management group, discussed Symantec's new Veritas Virtual Infrastructure, or VxVI, which integrates the Citrix XenServer server virtualization technology with Symantec's Veritas Storage Foundation.

VxVI, expected to be released later this year, integrates storage management and server virtualization into a single package to ease deployment of virtual servers and storage in enterprise data centers.

The primary focus is in x86-based enterprise data centers. Soderbery said that it's a common misconception that Veritas Storage Foundation does not have a big part of the x86-based data protection market, and that it is actually a fast-growing market for Symantec. Veritas Storage Foundation also works across Solaris, Linux, and Unix platforms, he said.

VxVI currently is specific to Citrix XenServer, Soderbery. However, it eventually will support other server virtualization technologies, he said.

More Integration For Data Protection

Symantec is continuing to integrate many of its data protection technologies, and on Tuesday unveiled the integration of such capabilities as deduplication and continuous data protection to its Net Backup application.

Deepak Mohan, senior vice president of Symantec's Data Protection Group, said that his company's Net Backup and Backup Exec data protection applications continue to have more features in common. However, he said, the two will never be combined into a single application because different types of customers have different requirements.

Because of the two applications, Symantec has about a 50-percent share of the data protection market, Mohan said.

CSC Looking For Clients

Computer Sciences Corp., Falls Church, Va., took advantage of the Symantec Vision 2008 conference to set up a booth in the show's solution pavilion to troll for potential customers.

Looking For Storage Products

Symantec had few solution providers in attendance, and preferred that they attend the Symantec Partner Engage conference coming up this October in Washington D.C.

However, Bert Shure, an account executive for Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based solution provider, did show up. For him, the event was an opportunity to catch up with product news and trends, as he has been way too focused on a single client.

Bert, we suggest you read ChannelWeb at every day.