Symantec unveils SaaS storage products

Company officials say firm also plans to announce three more cloud or virtualization products this summer

At its Visions 2011 conference in Las Vegas this week, Symantec announced plans to offer its midrange backup and enterprise-class archive software products as SaaS offerings.

The company also announced that its Enterprise Vault 10 archiving product can now be used store corporate social media data, and unveiled the Veritas Operations Manager 4.0 software that's aimed at supporting virtualized server environments.

Sean Regan, senior director product marketing for Symantec's information management group, said the company's upcoming SaaS, or "cloud," offerings are a natural progression for the products, which were first released as software last fall.

In September, Symantec announced two new appliance-based offerings for its backup and data management products, NetBackup, as well as Backup Exec and Enterprise Vault 9.

In January, the company added data deduplication functionality to those appliances.

Today, Symantec said it will release Backup, for its small-to-mid size customers, and the hosted Enterprise product this June.

Dan Lamorena, director product marketing for Symantec's Storage & Availability management group, said the company will make three more cloud- or virtualization-related product announcements over the summer - one per month. He offered no additional insight into what those products would be.

Also in June, the company is planning to release a preconfigured Backup Exec appliance that will remove the need for hardware and software integration for small business end users..

"I don't want to set up a server. I don't want integrate it with software. I don't want to test it in my lab. So, just like with Netbackup, I buy the Backup Exec appliance with pre-integrated software and you get one vendor, one phone number, with one sales process," Regan said. "For the dentist's office or a real estate office, an appliance may be too much for them. They may say, 'All I want is backup and I want to turn it on and get back to running my business. That's what Backup is."

The company also announced updates to Backup Exec 2010

Available today with both Backup Exec and Netbackup is what Symantec is calling its V-Ray technology (a play on the word x-ray), which offers storage administrators a view of backups across virtual and physical server backup environments through a single console.

The V-Ray technology allows individual file recovery even on virtual machine backups and deduplication across both physical and virtual machines, Symantec said..

"Typically, you have to mount and restore all files from a virtual machine in order to find the one file you want," Regan said. "Now you can go in from NetBackup and Backup Exec to restore a single file."

Enterprise Vault 10

Symantec also plans to bring to market self-service recovery and discovery technology for large organizations with NetBackup.

For organizations using backup as their primary tool to recover data, new search capabilities in NetBackup will provide better control and help them identify data that needs to be held for eDiscovery purposes, the company said. Symantec Enterprise Vault 10 will supplement those search capabilities as a complete archiving and eDiscovery product for the legal compliance officer and IT user.

Symantec also partnered with CommonDesk, Actiance (formerly FaceTime), Hanzo and Socialware, to allow its Enterprise Vault 10 product to automatically archive social media postings for compliance, eDiscovery or corporate governance purposes.

Enterprise Vault 10 can be set up to archive postings from blogs, or from social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and YouTube.

Organizations can comply with requirements for social media communications without restricting or banning the use of those tools.

Another new feature of Enterprise Vault 10 is the Data Classification Service, which leverages Symantec's data loss prevention (DLP) technology. DLP analyzes email content and metadata in an attempt to automatically classify the content and assign it the appropriate archiving and retention policy for that message, or even flag the message to be reviewed for compliance purposes.

"At the web gateway, we filter it. At the archive, we retain it. In the event of an investigation, we give you the tools to search it," Regan said.

The classifications can also be used as filters to speed up the search and review process for eDiscovery, Regan added.

Additionally, customers that have implemented Symantec DLP can share classification policies to simplify the automated classification of information. Enterprise Vault also adds new integration with Symantec's encryption technologies to allow organizations to classify, store, and discover encrypted information.

"The new components of Symantec's Enterprise Vault focus on solving what we expect will soon be new challenges in the overall archive and information retention space around social media content and advancing SharePoint management," said Brian Babineau, vice president of Research and Analyst Services at Enterprise Strategy Group.

In June, Symantec will release its SaaS email archiving service under the name Symantec Enterprise for a flat fee per mailbox per month.

Symantec also announced Enterprise Vault Cloud Storage for online storage provider Nirvanix. The hybrid storage model allows customers to store data onsite and then replicate it offsite to Nirvanix's data centers.

Veritas Operations Manager 4.0

Lastly, the company introduced Veritas Operations Manager 4.0, a centralized management platform for Veritas Storage Foundation and Veritas Cluster Server that automates previously manual tasks and monitors the health of IT resources, the company said.

Veritas Operations Manager allows customers to set up service level agreements by using virtualization and private cloud attributes, such as chargeback and reporting capability across multi-vendor storage environments.

Operations Manager 4.0 also identifies dependencies for applications running on virtual servers. For example, if an administrator were to install an OS upgrade on a server, the software would show exactly what hardware would be affected throughout the storage network right down to disk drives.

The company also announced Veritas Operations Manager Advanced, which offers deep reporting for physical and virtual server environments and the planned ability to take action and optimize servers and storage. Veritas Operations Manager Advanced includes agentless deployment and maintenance capabilities, which allow organizations to get up and running quickly, Lamorena said.

"As customers are moving from a physical to a virtual and a private-cloud world, they expect IT on demand, with built-in chargebacks. They're looking at being agile and hardware agnostic," said Lamorena. "We want to give customers visibility into how their storage is being used from applications standpoint. The concept is that you can see what's going on in storage, but you can also take action with one mouse click."

For example, Veritas Operations Manager offers storage administrators the ability to take action from the centralized management console to control and in order to identify wasted or unused storage capacity and place it back into a usable pool.

Administrators can also allocate storage to servers based on business requirements, utilize thin storage provisioning capabilities, implement policy-based storage tiering. It also automates the start and stop of multi-tiered applications running in physical and virtual environments to increase uptime and administrator efficiency.

The software can also be used to create customized health checks, offer patch information, warning alerts and root cause analysis views.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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