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Symantec aims Data Insight 3.0 at unstructured data management

Symantec representatives say Data Insight 3.0 can facilitate unstructured data management by showing who owns and can access file data.

Symantec Corp. took another step toward integrating its storage management and security technologies this week when it released Data Insight 3.0 for unstructured data management items such as documents, presentations, spreadsheets and emails.

With the Version 3.0 update, Symantec also extended platform coverage to include Unix file servers, the Network File System (NFS) protocol, and extended coverage with Microsoft SharePoint and the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). The latest version of the data management application is integrated with Symantec’s Veritas Storage Foundation storage management software.

Data Insight allows organizations to identify where data resides, to identify data owners or assign custodians, determine who has access to the data, as well as how and when it's used. Those capabilities are especially useful for file data, which isn't stored inside databases and is proliferating rapidly in many organizations.

Ketan Shah, Symantec’s principal product manager for its Storage and Availability Management Group, said the next step for Data Insight will be to incorporate automated data movement capabilities through internal partnerships with Symantec product lines such as Enterprise Vault, and external partnerships with cloud providers, among others.

Steve Coplan, senior analyst, enterprise security practice at 451 Research, said NFS support is significant because it provides better support for NetApp Inc. and other mainstream NAS products. "In terms of the competitive dynamics of the storage world, that's significant," Coplan said.

Symantec’s Shah said the performance improvements in Version 3.0 will also help administrators in “big data” environments. According to Shah, Data Insight doesn't use a relational database but a massively parallel data store, which keeps the index from becoming a bottleneck. The performance improvements include custom and in-memory joining of queries and inverted indexing.

451 Research's Coplan said another goal for Symantec with Data Insight is to bring together the vendor’s storage and security tools. “Symantec’s aim from a strategic perspective is to unify storage management and security management,” he said. “Data Insight is the one area where you can actually see that argument having some merit.”

One area of improvement toward that goal is Data Insight’s reporting and analytic capabilities. Symantec’s Shah said once data discovery and custodian identification and assignment are completed, Data Insight can provide the custodians with data lifecycle management reports, compliance reviews and data loss prevention (DLP) reviews. Administrators can set data retention guidelines based on data types and data ownership. Data owned by groups such as human resources or senior management can be secured with specific retention and permissions guidelines.

The Data Insight software is a standalone product that can also be bundled with Symantec’s DLP products, but must be purchased separately from Veritas Storage Foundation. It's priced by user or terabyte, beginning at $5,000 for smaller organizations with up to 250 users.

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