Symantec Shakes Up Archiving

Vendor to announce an overhaul of its email archiving strategy next week

January 27, 2007

4 Min Read
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Symantec will overhaul its archiving story next week in an attempt to cash in on users' growing email paranoia, and rival EMC, which acquired Legato in 2003, is planning its own upgrade for later this year.

Both vendors are looking to widen the scope of their current offerings, with Symantec revamping its pricing and tying its Enterprise Vault archiving technology closer to its security products.

Email is fast emerging as the "smoking gun" of corporate litigation, prompting many firms to rethink their retention strategies. (See Email Looms as IT Threat and Stop That Email!) Email archiving has already proved to be crucial in at least one high-profile legal dispute. (See A Fine Mess and Storage Goes to Law School.)

Symantec, which has been struggling with its storage business, is looking to repackage its email security products into what it describes as its "Information Foundation." (See Symantec Struggles Continue and Symantec Reports Q3 Results.) Planned for availability starting Monday, the package includes the Symantec Mail Security gateway and Enterprise Vault products.

The idea is that products within Information Foundation are sold as a pre-integrated package and priced with a single subscription fee, removing the need for users to juggle separate software licenses.As of Monday, pricing for Information Foundation starts at $95 per user per year. This represents a discount compared to buying the products separately. The per-user price for the previous version of just Enterprise Vault, for example, worked out at over $200.

Symantec is clearly willing to wield price as a cudgel in an attempt to lure users onto its platform. At least one analyst thinks it's a shrewd move. "Its a good deal, it aggregates the [system] management, adds better security, and potentially reduces the cost," says Chris Christiansen, vice president of security and services at IDC.

That said, Christiansen thinks that at this stage, the offering is most relevant to firms that have already deployed some pieces of Symantec kit. "As a total rip and replace, that would be a difficult decision," he says.

Long term, Symantec is looking to extend this package beyond email security and archiving. "We're looking at things like databases and voice and Web content," says Nick Mehta, Symantec's vice president of product marketing.

On Monday the vendor will also take the wraps off version 7.0 of Enterprise Vault, adding support for Exchange 2007, Windows Desktop Search (WDS is a new technology built into Vista and Office 2007), and Microsoft's Rights Management Server (RMS).RMS is essentially a digital rights management system, which limits employee access to information. According to Symantec, Enterprise Vault 7.0 lets users archive, index, and search email even though it has been digitally protected by RMS.

Symantec appears to have beaten its main rival EMC to the punch with its support for Exchange 2007, WDS, and RMS, although Chris Gray, senior director of business strategy at EMC's email archiving division, says the same support will be available on his firm's EmailXtender product sometime in the first half of this year.

EMC, he added, is also planning a major upgrade of EmailXtender for later this year. Though Gray was unwilling to reveal any product specifics, he said it will include new classification features and better integration with metadata held on EMC's Documentum platform. (See EMC Tailors Documentum and Content Capture Considered.)

Both Symantec and EMC also are taking a different approach to archiving instant messages. Previously, Symantec users would have had to run both Enterprise Vault and separate software called Symantec IM Manager to archive their IMs, although this is now built into Enterprise Vault.

EMC, for its part, will continue to rely on third-party software, such as Microsoft's Live Communication Server and SameTime from LotusNotes, for archiving IMs. "SameTime is doing some fantastic stuff [and] Live Communication Server is increasing in functionality," says Gray. "We don't believe that our market is demanding that we provide a single solution."Symantec has also changed its pricing model for Enterprise Vault 7.0, which is available now. Previously, the software was sold on a group basis, which started at $5,160 for 25 users, roughly $206 per person. The vendor has now ditched this model, and will charge $40 per user for each installation of Enterprise Vault 7.0, a similar price range to that of EMC.

Analyst firm IDC predicts that the market for email archiving, which was worth $318 million in 2006, will reach more than a billion dollars by 2010. (See Email Archiving to Grow.)

— James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • IDC

  • EMC Legato

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Morgan Stanley

  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

  • Symantec Corp.

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