Can EMC 'Unite the World Through Content'?


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EMC's move to acquire Legato in July hardly took the storage industry by surprise — the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage systems provider had telegraphed its interest in archiving software for months before the purchase, and analysts had also been talking up the possibility.

But EMC's bid to purchase Documentum earlier this week raised more than a few eyebrows, particularly among rivals in the enterprise content management (ECM) space such as Interwoven, Open Text, and FileNet.

After all, what would a leading storage vendor want with a supplier of ECM solutions like Documentum, whose solutions include document work flow, Web pages, and records collaboration?

In short, EMC wants to back up its fixed content infrastructure foundation with a software platform that manages unstructured data, which includes anything from audio, video, and e-mail attachments to X-rays and other forms of Web content that cannot be stored in databases.

Indeed, EMC claims that some 80 percent of all data is unstructured. The plan is to combine its Centera content-addressed storage (CAS) system with the Documentum 5 ECM repository to provide a complete information lifecycle management (ILM) solution.

"We already have a strong infrastructure layer for fixed content requirements," says EMC President and CEO Joe Tucci. "Centera is the fastest growing platform in this space. With Documentum, we are now adding an intelligence layer, which brings structure to unstructured information, enabling our customers to put their data in the right place at the right time, allowing managed access to data tagging, compliance assurance, and collaboration, while providing full audit and information tracking."

As a marriage of storage and content management, ILM is being seized upon as a necessary strategy for storage vendors such as EMC and HP. It enables a customer to create content, and manage and store that data from its origination until it's ready to be destroyed.

Just a few years ago this concept hardly had the importance EMC or HP now place on it. But numerous accounting scandals in recent years have triggered new laws, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which mandates strict records compliance guidelines. In the health industry, the new HIPPA regulations dictate that a patient's personal information and health history be kept on file for 20 or so years. Much of this information is stored in Word documents or spreadsheets — or unstructured data.

Combining the effects of these new regulations with the sprawl of e-mail and other digitized content being created on an annual basis, and the industry has a growing challenge — where to store and how to manage the deluge of data piling up across the enterprise.

By attempting to acquire Documentum, likely the last large piece in the large ILM puzzle, EMC believes it has found the answer to helping enterprises manage the data deluge. Legato will likely fill those gaps, too. When it's all said and done, EMC's Tucci contends it will be equivalent to some $2.2 billion in software license and software maintenance license revenues for the last four quarters. This is paramount for EMC's goal to reach software revenues of 30 percent.

Page 2: The Goods

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