New Storage Sector Rises from Regs Page 2


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HP's modus operandi has been to provide archiving solutions to customers with the help of such firms as Persist and even Legato. By moving to acquire Persist, the company is ostensibly defending a valuable piece of its ILM strategy now that EMC has assimilated Legato.

Retrieving data can be costly, according to Persist CEO Paul O'Brien. "Suppose you have a top executive who sent a contract that a governing body asks to see," says O'Brien. "You'd have to go back and restore the server and do searches for the single file. It could cost them $1,000 per request, and if you get five per day, it could be a big problem."

Persist uses grid-like modular technology called SmartCells to find files by parsing metadata , or "data about data." For example, an e-mail includes – among other pieces of metadata information – the sender, the recipient, the time it was created, and the IP address it was sent from.

The Persist software portfolio also includes an index and tools to search and retrieve structured and unstructured content, which is a big part of what interested HP in the company.

Persist rival Legato is now an EMC unit. Denise Reier, a Legato vice president, oversees the e-mail archiving segment of Legato's business, including an application called E-mail Extender.

"Customers are driven by two different pain points," Reier told internetnews.com. "One is risk reduction — they don't want their name in the headlines in litigation or to be caught with any 'smoking gun' e-mail. But they must balance that with the cost of procuring additional solutions to archive data. Storage management is not enough."

Like Persist's product, E-mail Extender provides indexing and analyzes metadata. However, while most vendors offer the ability to find an e-mail addressed to a distribution list with hundreds of recipients, E-mail Extender can extract the exact name to whom the file was sent to even though the sender is listed as a distribution list alias.

As for specific compliance rules, ESG's Gerr says that despite the very broad Sarbanes-Oxley Act popping up as one of the top compliance rules listed by vendors and customers, HIPAA is a larger opportunity for storage vendors.

"Sarbanes-Oxley is not that big a deal as it relates to storage industry," he explains. "Sarbanes-Oxley is horizontal. It's about process and about setting an acceptable level of internal controls ... It's not like HIPAA, where you're required to keep a digital MRI for a patient for 90 years or so."

What's Next?

Despite the furor to forge ILM strategies, not all corporations are hopping on board, according to new research from Tower Group. The research group predicts this will change as more companies stumble on data backup and end up slapped with fines.

"Tower Group believes that institutions may be looking at substantial technology investments in order to meet the requirements of financial transparency bubbling up from the transaction level," says Virginia Garcia, a senior analyst at Tower Group.

ESG's Gerr agrees that technology will shape the evolution of ILM as it proceeds to deal with compliance issues.

"I believe there will be a new cry heard coming from the vendors that are today all jumping on the ILM bandwagon, and that is that 'metadata is king; control the metadata and you control the information,'" says Gerr. "To me, this is why EMC's purchase of Documentum is a potentially (depending on execution, integration, marketing, and ultimately, talented sales) brilliant move."

As for specific technologies, Gerr sees optical backup solutions as a possible solution to the overwhelming number of disk and tapes in corporate storage vaults. As an example, Gerr cites Plasmon, which has developed a new, ultra-dense optical storage technology that provides three times the density of disk storage at a fraction of the cost.

It appears compliance is here to stay, and so long as it does, ILM is too.

Feature courtesy of internetnews.com.

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