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The proposed merger of Veritas and Symantec could bring much-needed convergence between security and storage management.

On the surface, it might seem like storage and security management have little to do with each other, but uniting these tools, although it would be a difficult and long-term undertaking, could greatly simplify end-to-end data management.

A successful Symantec-Veritas merger would allow the combined company to create solutions that not only detect security problems but also query the backup and data replication platforms to quickly find and restore clean server images to compromised systems.

For storage and security to merge, vendors in general must first establish communication standards to link their tools. Vendor lock-in remains a chronic problem in the storage industry. Therefore, I’m hoping that instead of developing proprietary communication protocols among their product sets, Veritas and Symantec would work with other software vendors to create meaningful standards.

The union of Symantec’s and Veritas’ technologies would be very difficult: The recent acquisition histories of these two multibillion-dollar companies give us a hint of the rough waters ahead.

In mid-2003, Veritas completed its acquisition of Precise Software, but it wasn’t until this month’s release of Veritas Backup Exec Suite that the company finally linked Precise’s SRM (storage resource management) software to its backup software in a satisfactory way.

Click here to read Labs’ review of Veritas Backup Exec Suite.

If it took Veritas close to a year and a half to connect two sets of storage management tools, you can imagine how difficult it would be to link vastly different storage and security tools.

Symantec’s 2003 acquisition of PowerQuest gave Symantec its first taste of the storage market, and its good experience with PowerQuest bodes well for a merger of storage and security technologies.

Based on the meetings I’ve had with Symantec during the past 18 months, I believe it’s making solid progress in attempting to merge PowerQuest’s storage technologies with its bread-and-butter security technologies.

Even with that experience, however, Symantec’s $150 million PowerQuest acquisition pales in comparison to the proposed merger with Veritas—which is valued at roughly $13.5 billion—both in terms of complexity and impact on the company.

Still, the convergence of storage and security is becoming an imperative. Whether it’s Symantec and Veritas together—or some other company— that spark this convergence, the industry as a whole will benefit.

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