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HP launches archiving system for ILM

HP is offering a new archiving system and a set of services as a "complete solution" for Information Lifecycle Management. But can ILM be solved by a vendor?

Hewlett Packard Co. is putting technology acquired from Persist Technologies to work in the form of the HP StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System (RISS) archiving appliance. HP is wrapping the RISS with new services and a partner program to offer what it calls a "complete Information Lifecycle Management solution."

David Kaercher, vice president of IT for Allianz Life Insurance, Minneapolis, Minn., isn't convinced there is a complete ILM solution. "ILM is not a new concept. It's about business, applications, databases and storage. You can't buy ILM. There's a lot of different ways you can look at ILM and different methodologies for implementing it."

HP claims its strategy is different. Its RISS archiving appliance is the foundation of the ILM "solution," and not the entire plan. HP's accompanying services include an ILM business requirement assessment that helps users develop data policies and classifications as well as educating end users on electronic record archiving requirements and regulatory compliance.

HP is also offering electronic vaulting services, including design, implementation and management service for disk-to-disk backup at a customer site or a secure HP host site.

HP has signed deals with a number of vendors to wrap these services around the RISS appliance. The newest additions to the HP partner program, which is based its StorageWorks family, include Advanced Digital Information Corp., CaminoSoft, Grau Data Storage, Orchestria, Pegasus Disk Technologies and Princeton Softech.

GlassHouse Technologies Inc. storage consultant Natalie Mead believes ILM is not a new concept, but prior to issues raised by Sarbanes-Oxley and what happened on September 11, customers didn't really worry about the ILM aspect of storage management. "Today ILM is everywhere. With all of the regulations coming along, it's suddenly on the minds of users more often because it's in the news. Upper-level managers now understand how important compliance is and want to be informed on how well applications and backups are running, and [on] what [their IT organizations] are doing to archive data," she said.

As it happens, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), the de facto standards body for the storage industry, is developing a set of definitions and standards for ILM. "The end user will first see a set of data classifications that they can start using to [build an ILM strategy]," said Leroy Budnik, a voting member within the SNIA ILM Initiative (ILMI). "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."

Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst, Enterprise Storage Group Inc., Milford, Mass., has gone as far as to call Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) a "rationalization for everything that [vendors] do," but sees storing and managing archived reference data as the future of storage. "ILM or DLM or whatever you want to call it is not products. ILM is a series of processes and policies that say where you put data and when you put it there," Duplessie said. "Reference data is not new. Using reference data is what's new."

Duplessie said that reference data will soon represent more than 60% of all data under management. "You now throw away 90% of your data. That's going to change," he said.

Sixty-one percent of users polled by said ILM is about strategy and not technology and 13% are waiting for the industry to develop standards before they buy any ILM products.

The RISS archiving appliance is available now. Pricing for the system and accompanying services has not been announced.


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