EMC Releases Records Retention Storage System

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When Enron was found to have shredded incriminating documents, it touched off an avalanche of concern for increased records retention, and with that concern, created opportunities for storage-oriented firms to release new products that address the issue.

EMC Tuesday became the first to tap an emerging market for records retention products when it released a
specialized content addressed storage (CAS) system, dubbed EMC Centera Compliance Edition, that is designed to meet more stringent records retention regulations.

The Hopkinton, Mass.’s firm built from scratch the specialized server to meet the challenges associated with retaining such content as document images, e-mail, X-rays, and medical records. Centera boxes, which compete with machines such as IBM’s Shark and Hitachi’s Freedom and Lightning systems, are considered by analysts to be very reliable and also offer the ability scale to hundreds of terabytes without requiring additional management overhead.

Enterprise Storage Group Steve Duplessie acknowledges that minding records retention regulations “is becoming the hottest issue in IT.” He also
predicts data permanence will become a rule in every IT department.

“As a result, there will be a huge demand for cost-efficient disk-based systems capable of storing objects permanently, in an unalterable state,”
according to Duplessie. EMC Centera is the first such solution, and EMC Centera Compliance Edition has already proven to meet today’s toughest regulatory

The Centera Compliance Edition includes retention enforcement, which enables compliance officials to set retention periods on electronic records, and
satisfies regulations such as the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) rule that all e-mails must be saved by investment firms and the like for
three years in case they desire to inspect them.

CAS also ensures that deleted data cannot be recovered using disk scanning tools, pursuant to Defense Department regulations for data destruction. Lastly, the machine provides application access security, which permits systems operators to establish access security and authorized activities at the application or server level, and ensures the privacy of sensitive records for regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

A records retention expert vouches for the importance of such systems. Robert Williams, president of records management consulting firm Cohasset
Associates, believes electronic records management is an important issue IT firms must address.

Despite the new laws and regulations, Williams says most organizations cannot access electronic records they created just a few years ago, “much
less demonstrate in a legal proceeding that those records are still accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.”

Pricing for EMC Centera begins at $64,000 (MSRP) for Centera hardware and $84,000 for Centera software. That adds up to $148,000 for a system configured with 4 terabytes of storage. Other new Centera features include Content Parity Protection (CPP) for improved capacity utilization and enhanced replication
management, which lets users set policies for replicating content.

In related news, EMC also announced early financial results for the first quarter of 2003. EMC expects total consolidated revenue to be within the range of $1.35 billion and $1.4 billion, and earnings per share to be at least $.01 per diluted share — all in line with analyst expectations.

The company will report earnings April 16.

This story originally appeared on Internet News.

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Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for CIO.com covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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