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In Roseville, Big Data meets the cloud

Roseville seems like an unlikely outpost for one of Silicon Valley's premier innovation companies -- the one that invented Norton Antivirus.

But, housed in a complex of buildings on the east side of Interstate 35W just north of County Road C, is the hub of Symantec Corporation's market-leading data backup business.

While the unit exists outside the limelight of Symantec's consumer software business, analysts estimate that it accounts for about a fifth of the company's $6.73 billion in annual revenue.

How a lot of people know about Symantec

"Norton Antivirus is how a lot of people know about Symantec. My barber knows about Norton," Coleman said. "However data backup is one of the largest business units inside Symantec."

In Roseville, 556 Symantec employees grapple with one of the world's most pressing research problems: how to deal with Big Data, industry jargon for the flood of computer information that threatens to swamp the people trying to interpret it.

In a sense, companies just as Symantec are a corporate insurance policy, said Deni Connor, an analyst at Storage Strategies Now in Austin, Texas. "Companies that don't protect their data with backup end up going out of business."

The Roseville operation as well oversees data backup

The Roseville operation as well oversees data backup and protection facilities in California, China and India. Roseville's main products today are Backup Exec, a software product for consumers and small businesses, and NetBackup, which is software for large corporations.

In addition, Symantec two years ago moved into a new research area called the "backup appliance." The appliance, which looks like a super-sized Digital Video Recorder for a TV, automates and simplifies data backup for smaller companies. The backup appliances are manufactured for Symantec by an outside firm.

In cloud computing, some corporations connect to geographically remote data centers over the Internet in lieu of running their own computers. That benefits Symantec because its backup software can easily store data "in the cloud" instead of in the local data center, Amatruda said.

The cloud doesn't threaten Symantec

"The cloud doesn't threaten Symantec, it benefits them," Breza said. "Ten or 15 years from now, companies will probably store data in the cloud using one of three or four major storage innovation providers, and Symantec can be one of them."

For example, Symantec's sales strategy has been to marry its data backup business with its security software, on the theory that corporations will benefit if the two work at the same time.

For example, Symantec and most of its competitors have developed their own versions of a innovation called "deduplication," which helps avoid storing the same piece of data twice. Even if the same standard paragraph is used in several documents, the paragraph is stored only once. When one of the documents is called up, the standard paragraph is reinserted on the fly.

The data backup market is booming right now

"The data backup market is booming right now," said Isaac Cheifetz, an information research executive recruiter with Open Technologies Consulting in Minneapolis. "And that's because it's at the intersection of Big Data and cloud computing."

More information: Menafn