EMC World: EMC reveals data archiving roadmap

EMC's product roadmap for email archiving includes plans for a Documentum Archive product, next-generation archiving for Exchange and Lotus Notes, and XML encapsulation.

LAS VEGAS -- EMC Corp. officials fleshed out the company's long-term archiving strategy this week at EMC World, detailing planned upgrades for email archiving and content archiving.

On Tuesday, Mark Lewis, content management and archiving division president, divulged updates to the Documentum portfolio due in the third and fourth quarters of this year. Those plans include a Documentum Archive product that will consolidate data archives from multiple applications, including email, files and databases.

Lewis calls the Documentum Archive product "the next evolution of EmailXtender," although DiskXtender will remain as a connector between file servers and the archive. EMC will also use its existing application archiving modules for applications like SAP as connectors to the archive. Another feature for Documentum due out in the third quarter will allow federated retention services, applying policies to multiple data repositories both inside and outside Documentum.

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In the fourth quarter, according to Lewis, email archiving will get another update through a project code-named Janus, which he described as "next-generation email archiving" for Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes. "For the first time, we're not going to be selling email archiving as a standalone product," he said. New applications and interfaces planned for Documentum in the third quarter, including new collaboration and social networking software, will have "day one" compatibility with the archive, he added.

EMC also plans to use a startup it acquired, called X-Hive, to bring XML encapsulation and eventually Web-based access to SaaS repositories to archive data. "We will either archive data directly in XML format or put it in schemas and store it within an XML environment," Lewis said. "This will add more structure to unstructured data and make it more easily searchable."

According to analyst Brian Babineau with the Enterprise Strategy Group, the additional flexibility in the archive could also boost processing power. "It requires significant processing to get content into repositories very quickly," he said. "A broader repository might be able to more efficiently handle archiving workloads."

Analyst Andrew Reichman, Forrester Research, added that Documentum Archive could easily lend itself to automated information lifecycle management (ILM) processes based on metadata that Documentum generates about files. "That software level is the place where you can successfully do ILM," he said. "At the block level, it's harder. Frequency of access is an inference about the usefulness of data, but Documentum policy flags could be more granular and accurate."

Reichman expects application vendors to take more of an application-centric approach to data management. "I see a shift of more storage control to the application," he said. "It will be interesting to see if EMC gets out in front of that as a software company, or if, as a storage company, they'll be a laggard."

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