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Symantec execs talk strategy

Symantec’s keynote stage Warp Drive

In keynotes and 1:1 executive briefings at Symantec Vision this week, Symantec officials have opened the kimono about plans for future integration of their products, including integration of software pieces from storage and security units.

It won’t be product integration per se, as has been done with individual backup products NetBackup and PureDisk because changes to product-level code across different disciplines of IT could be an impediment to adoption for users, according to CTO Mark Bregman. “That kind of integration suggests things bolted together, and our approach will be to let the separate products talk to each other,” he said.

Symantec will use IP acquired in its Altiris acquisition, extracting data through Web Services standards and APIs for legacy applications. Some products are already shipping with the necessary Web Services support today, such as Symantec Endpoint Protection and Backup Exec System Recovery (BESR). The overall integration platform, which will be included free in products going forward, is referred to as the Open Collaboration Architecture, or OCA, within Symantec. A small team of engineers has been assigned to build the connectors to it for each product. Currently, applications that support it like BESR can issue reports through the architecture, but taking action is still a ways off, Bregman said.

One of the use cases for OCA discussed by execs is endpoint virtualization using a combination of IP from Symantec’s AppStreams and Vontu. The technology is tangential to storage, but will be Symantec’s way of addressing what it calls the consumerization of IT–i.e. the use of mobile devices for work and personal computing. According to Enrique Salem, AppStreams’ application streaming software would make an application and its data temporarily available on a mobile device. To keep corporate data from floating around on personal devices, Vontu’s data loss prevention software would track data created on the mobile device and clean up the data once the AppStreams session is over. Vontu’s software could also prevent users from forwarding sensitive corporate material elsewhere. OCA underpins all of this, and Salem said Symantec is rolling out the pieces today. It remains unclear if Symantec will prepackage this as a storage security application for mobile devices, but Salem said it can be put together today for users want it through Symantec’s professional services.

Users around the show say it’s a nice idea, but there are improvements they’d like to see to Symantec’s existing frameworks first. Users of Symantec’s OpenStorage API integration with Data Domain say there’s room for improvement there–with the current version, users must manually select a replicated copy of data from a secondary site in the event of an outage. 

Elsewhere, a storage director for a financial company said he’d like to see summary reports from Symantec’s management products that put data into business terms like RTO and RPO (Symantec CEO John Thompson said Symantec would prefer to hook OCA into third party reporting tools like Crystal Reports, because “one organization’s great report is another organization’s pain in the butt.”). This user also said he’d like to see more product-level integration. “Anything with catalog integration is high on our wish list,” he said.

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Have you run into any roadblocks with the reuse of components in SOA and Web services?
just starting to formally address reuse...