Veritas Software and Network Appliance are tightening their relationship to better integrate the two companies' product development and sales and marketing teams.

The partnership is expected to yield products that better integrate Veritas' software with Network Appliance's hardware in three specific areas: disk-based data protection, compliance and regulatory archiving, and storage management, according to Veritas' vice president of business development, Robert Soderbery.

"We will have another milestone later this fall that will go into more details about greater levels of integration and more design areas," said Network Appliance's vice president of strategic alliances, Phil Williams.

Beginning immediately, Veritas and Network Appliance will also start training their sales and support teams to handle each other's products, the companies said. "We have signed a new agreement to extend our partnership to focus on collaboration of joint sales, marketing, and support for our solutions," said Soderbery.

The expanded relationship is the latest step in a partnership between the two companies that began in October 2002, Soderbery said. "We've been working for a long time on integration," he said.

Network Appliance currently sells a variety of storage devices that are integrated with Veritas products, including its NetBackup and StorageCentral software, but the two companies are now expected to develop more tightly integrated products that include enhancements like special management features for Network Appliance platforms, according to The Yankee Group analyst Jamie Gruener.

"I think this is one step in a multi-step announcement that's going to be happening over the next year. The intention is really to build a stronger alliance here."