McAfee and Brocade Communications Systems on Tuesday announced a strategic partnership to co-develop security applications that will be integrated into the Brocade family of networking products.

Company officials said the end-to-end network security applications will give network-equipment customers peace of mind as they collect, share, and analyze increasingly larger data loads from a variety of on-site and cloud-based sources.

McAfee (NYSE: MFE) and Brocade (NASDAQ: BRCD) said the multi-year agreement will focus on extending network management integration to incorporate more metrics and security intelligence data.

"Keeping data secure is a battle that must be waged on multiple fronts, especially at the network level," Dan Ryan, general manager of McAfee's network security unit, said in a statement. "Working with Brocade to bring a comprehensive set of network security solutions to market makes perfect sense -- the coupling of the strengths of both companies is expected to deliver a set of solutions that customers can depend on to protect their most valuable data assets."

The new McAfee and Brocade network security products will include McAfee's Firewall Enterprise with intrusion-prevention technology operating with Brocade's NetIron MLX series of high-performance routers.

Customers will now be able to improve firewall scalability with Brocade ServerIron application delivery controllers that load-balance the McAfee Firewall Enterprise suite to protect against DNS and SYN attacks.

McAfee officials also said that Brocade IronView Network Manager and its use of open-standard network management protocols will enable enterprise network infrastructure to automatically take action in response to security events generated from the company's network access control, intrusion prevention, and firewall components.

According to a recent survey on IT spending intentions conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), information security initiatives ranked in the top four among a list of 25 IT priority areas for 2010.

McAfee shares rallied up $2.60, or 7 percent, to $40.49 in Tuesday's trading following this latest strategic partnership announcement.

In January, the security software vendor joined forces with Verizon to provide an upgraded version of Verizon Internet Security Suite (VISS) to more than nine million FiOS Internet and high-speed broadband customers.

A similar pact was inked in September with Adobe Systems under which the two software giants will co-develop new software that protects sensitive company information, such as regulatory compliance and intellectual property data both within and outside the enterprise.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.