Symantec has set out a plan to further integrate its diverse products under a common management platform as well as support third-party products by means of its published interfaces.

The Open Collaborative Architecture is a "work in progress" that includes bringing together Symantec's endpoint security suite and backup and recovery products with asset management offerings obtained via the Altiris acquisition late last year, says Kevin Murray, senior director of product marketing.

The first phase of the plan had already been put in motion, with the Symantec Client Management Suite, the Server Management Suite, and the IT Service and Asset Management Suite supported under the Altiris framework, Murray said.

The next version of the Symantec data-leak prevention client is expected to have the Altiris management client embedded by early next year.

Future efforts include bringing Symantec Endpoint Protection, BackUp Exec System and Veritas Configuration Manager under the Open Collaborative Architecture framework. The "centre of gravity" in this technical effort lies in server-based integration technology called Notification Server that will be built into future product offerings, Murray said.

The other purpose of the initiative is to provide an open set of APIs and a software development toolkit that companies can use to provide functional support for their own products under the Symantec management umbrella.

Bit9 and Savant Protection, which offer approaches to application "whitelisting," as well as Dorado Software, a network and services management firm, have also announced support for the Symantec architecture. The software-developer program grew out of the earlier Altiris partner program, which has about 60 industry participants.

In addition, Dell is standardising system management offerings for all of its enterprise-class machines on the Symantec Management Platform. The Dell Management Console will act as a "modular plug-in" to the Symantec platform, according to Sally Stevens, Dell's director of product marketing.

HP's client manager is also based on the Symantec architecture, Murray says.

Murray acknowledged that Symantec had no announced timeframe for reaching its desired end goal of all this integration effort, which was to be able to provide customers with the option for "a single common console" to manage all Symantec products.