Update: ILM standards war heats up

The SNIA is, in fact, working on technical standards for Information Lifecycle Management, but there appears to be some politics to get over first.

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The Storage Networking Industry Association's Data Management Forum has launched an Information Lifecycle Management initiative (ILMI) to create a set of definitions to help users create an ILM strategy, but, "competing views" inside the group are holding things up.

According to Leroy Budnik, a voting member within the SNIA ILMI, vendors participating in the initiative haven't been able to agree on a definition for ILM. However he maintains that the details will be ironed out by the Fall when the SNIA expects to unveil its work.

Participating vendors include Sun Microsystems, IBM, EMC and Revivio . The group plans to release a set of definitions and data classification guidelines to the end user community by October. Budnik declined to provide more details on the exact nature of the debate between the vendors, but like any other standards initiative each company pushes its own agenda and methods for consideration as the de facto approach. ILM it seems, is no different.

"The end user will first see a set of data classifications that they can start using to [build an ILM strategy]," Budnik says. "Users need to start thinking about how are they going to classify their data so two years from now [when products are available] they will already have a body of thinking on the subject."

Budnik believes parameters need to be established through consistent terminology so "if someone comes up with the same idea it can be defined under the same language. Then we can come up with data structures. The vendors are offering products, but they can't keep their definitions straight. People seem to define ILM as just another backup strategy when that is not the intent," he says.

Budnik continues: "Although some suggest that there would be no programmatic standard like SMI-S, I believe that common data structures will evolve to define content management rules," he said.

Michael Peterson, president of Strategic Research Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif., said there is a "huge" need to unify the industry's definition of Information Lifecycle Management. "ILM is much more than people think." Peterson said SNIA's ILM work is "well underway."

Peterson and the technical co-chairs of the ILM project have already authored white papers on the proposed standard that can be found in the ILM section of the SNIA website.

SNIA is planning a mini-conference focused on ILM dubbed "the authoritative conference on ILM best practices and implementation methods," which is scheduled to coincide with the October 2004 release of the ILM definitions. The conference will be co-located within the ARMA Information Management Conference at the Long Beach Convention Center.

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