EMC is set to buy RSA Security in a move that marries one of the largest storage companies with one of the largest security players.

"The mandate is clear from our customers: We need to be able to ensure that the information is secure and encrypted," with identity management and other protections, said Joe Tucci, EMC's chairman, president and CEO. "These are the things that RSA brings to EMC."

The technology company that integrates security with information management, "will be a huge winner in the technology marketplace, and that company is EMC," he said.

"EMC is where information lives, and with RSA, it's where it will live securely," Tucci said.

"RSA is able to offer EMC customers [assurance] that only authorised users have access to information," said Art Coviello, CEO and president of RSA. "It's time security becomes an integral part of the information [storage] infrastructure."

Upon completion of the acquisition, RSA will operate as EMC's information security division. Art Coviello will become an executive vice president of EMC and president of the division.

"The notion of protecting the security of data as well as the integrity means the marriage of RSA and EMC makes complete sense," said John Halamka, CIO at Harvard Medical School and CareGroup Healthcare System in Boston. "It is two vendors I trust, and having them under one roof gives synergy."

Halamka already uses VeriSign, a digital signature package owned by RSA, and his organisation has nine million records that must be stored for 30 years. Due to the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Halamka said that he has to ensure that the data isn't altered and must keep track of who sees it and when they saw it.

Halamka said he is interested in seeing what happens to RSA's pricing, because VeriSign tends to be more expensive than its competition and EMC has a good way of packaging and integrating technology.

The deal echoes a similar union last year, when security firm Symantec bought storage vender Veritas in a deal initially valued at $13.5 billion.