Moving Data Out of Silos

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The explosive data growth trend of recent years has largely resulted in the proliferation of information management point solutions. But despite the myriad of applications for data protection, migration and compliance archiving, no one product combined these features and supported all data types. Consequently, “data silos” resulted where one application is used for e-mail, another for files system, and another for databases — each requiring separate IT skills.

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Alpharetta, Georgia-based Scentric has released a product it believes solves this issue, known as Scentric Destiny.

“Enterprises will no longer be limited to focusing on a single data type — files, e-mails, or databases — or be relegated to a patchwork of point solutions that often result in operational complexity and large information gaps,” says Larry Cormier, senior vice president of marketing at Scentric. “In addition to being the first to provide universal data classification, Scentric Destiny is specifically built for scale and performance in large, distributed enterprise environments and features an innovative user interface designed to enable collaboration among business, compliance, and IT managers.”

The company characterizes it as the world’s first universal data classification solution. It allows companies to tag all types of data with meta names so that they can organize and search their content for better retrieval. Cormier lists benefits such as the following:

  • reducing the time and cost of managing data as its value changes over time
  • optimizing existing storage investments while alleviating traditional data management burdens, such as rising compliance demands
  • creating and meeting corporate policies and best practices for protecting and storing data
  • meeting business and government regulations for moving, copying, archiving and deleting data
  • and creating a business-level understanding of data — including how it is being used, and why it is growing.

Scentric Destiny catalogues, classifies and controls all forms of data — regardless of where it is stored. Powered by its patent-pending classification engine and centralized management console, it is designed to encourage cooperation between IT and business users to help solve data management issues which can cross boundaries of responsibility and knowledge.

“It combines power, ease of use, customization and scalability and presents organizations with the opportunity to finally manage long-term data growth,” says Cormier. “Scentric Destiny can also translate regulatory requirements into managed and documented IT processes, and create a universal system for performing time consuming searches for documents.”

Catalogue, Classify, Control
According to Cormier, this tool utilizes three processes to accomplish its goals.

Catalog — it maintains a scalable distributed catalog of all managed data such as Windows files, Exchange e-mails and SQL Server data. The catalog consists of key metadata attributes like “file owner” or “e-mail sender” as well content indexes for file e-mail data.

Classify — data is grouped into manageable objects including business processes, business units, departments and other logical structures that reflect how a company operates. These are combined with policies that classify data into relevant subsets and define the actions to be taken with data in those classifications. Classification allows for combinations of any of the metadata or content stored in the catalog.

For example, a set of files might be defined by owner, size, time since last modification or further restricted to only those files that also contain a specific set of words or phrases. Operations available on classified data range from simple tasks like copy, delete and move to more complex tasks like sending data to an archive device or to a custom script.

Control — once policies have been created to handle processes like SOX archiving or stripping attachments from e-mail, they are applied to appropriate data groups where they operate automatically to handle the mundane but time-consuming tasks of data management and reporting. Policies are administered centrally but operate in a distributed fashion that ensures scalability and efficient use of resources.

Scentric is hardware and software agnostic and can manage all data types. The application itself runs on Windows platforms: Windows Server 2003 or 2000 for Scentric’s Policy Server, Intelligent Data Manager & Catalog modules. For the console application, Windows XP is also supported.

In terms of cost, Cormier reports that the average sales price is around $100,000 in the first year with deals ranging from $50,000 to $750,000. Future releases, he says, will add deeper analysis functions of data, not just to gather the age and content of information, but to understand usage patterns and cull the value of data.

“Scentric’s classification approach, from content and metadata indexing to automated, policy-based data movement, helps customers address fundamental information and storage management challenges and makes it suitable for applications ranging from compliance to tiered storage,” says Laura DuBois, research director for storage software, IDC.

Article appeared originally on Enterprise IT

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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