CommVault and security specialist McAfee announced a new partnership today that will spawn integrated storage and security software products, joint product development and marketing activities with an eye toward battling Symantec in the channel.

The first item on the CommVault-McAfee to do list is the integration of CommVault’s Simpana storage management software with ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO), McAfee’s security risk management platform.

The Simpana-ePO integration will give McAfee ePO users the ability to report on the data protection and recovery state of clients to monitor various operations, such as the status of backups. When conditions are outside protection policy thresholds, alerts will be automatically triggered to warn ePO users. Additional integration features are expected to target expanded software distribution and data leakage profiling using Simpana’s search and eDiscovery features.

“Our goal is to help customers meet compliance needs and make sure they are protected from threats by bringing together backup, recovery, archiving, data management, and security technologies,” says Michael McMahon, CommVault’s senior director of worldwide OEM and alliances.

McMahon says CommVault and McAfee are not trying to blur the lines between their respective product lines. “CommVault is not going to be a security company and McAfee is not going to be a data management company.”

As such, the companies will “meet in the channel,” according to McMahon. “We are not going to resell each other’s products at this time. We are going to make sure our partners are armed with what they need to be successful in the channel in terms of education and integrated products,” he says.

Lauren Whitehouse, an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group, says storage and security companies have been collaborating (or acquiring one another) for quite some time. Symantec bought Veritas. EMC did the same with RSA. Whitehouse says the McAfee-CommVault alliance makes sense, given the complementary nature of their products, price points, and similar channel strategies.

“If you think about the punchlist that IT organizations have for deploying new servers and desktops, security and data protection are critical components for just about any workload. As long as the integration is successful, education exists, and end users see the value, it will make sense to continue down the integration path,” says Whitehouse.

Beyond technology integration, the obvious motivation behind the partnership is a common foe. The proverbial elephant in the room for both CommVault and McAfee is Symantec.

“Independently, McAfee and CommVault have been nipping at Symantec,” Whitehouse says. “Now, they’re joining together to face a common competitor. I’m sure this partnership will get Symantec’s attention, but they are a little further down the integration path than CommVault-McAfee, mainly because their resources are under one company umbrella.”

Additionally, CommVault has joined the McAfee Security Innovation Alliance and McAfee has joined CommVault’s PartnerAdvantage program to help expand product integration efforts, compatibility testing, and coordinate the companies’ respective go-to-market strategies.

The first integrated McAfee ePO and CommVault Simpana software offering is expected to be available in 2009.

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