Standard interfaces

By eweek  |  Posted 2007-08-23 Print this article Print

Vizard: How does the storage management software paradigm work on top of this? Is there something that I have to custom craft or is there some set of tools that you guys provide that kind of connect back to the main storage array that helps with the whole process?

Koclanes: One of the objectives we had with this product was that it should not require any kind of proprietary API development by the IT department if they had a home-grown application or by any of the standard applications. It presents itself as an NFS or an FTP type interface. So any normal file application that can write to a file system, whether its Windows or a UNIX-based system, can integrate it without any special development. In addition, theres a Web-based GUI that allows you to set up policies, to configure this so that it matches your rules. Maybe you want two pieces of compliant media every time you write to this NFS share. You want to make sure theres a copy locally and a copy youre going to put in an off-site vault. Thats just a policy. Likewise, we have a layer software that lets you manage a pool of these as if it was one appliance. We call that our Enterprise Active Archive. That has application interfaces to enable things like encryption at the file level, it enables you to set retention periods, do single instance verification and gives you one name space across a series of appliances.

Vizard: And does that plug into some larger storage management software system that people have out there, because theyll have a commitment to IBM or a commitment to NetApp or EMC? How do you bridge that gap?

Koclanes: We are delivering an application storage solution that offers a bunch of services that are available to the application. We are not a content manger, were not a data classification, were not an e-mail archive application company. You will find that our customers and our partners are already representing a number of those applications and we are a target for where they can store the objects that they classify, manage, have a workflow process around. So they all write to a set of directory structures and file systems and think of it more as were a location where those directory structures or file systems exist. So its a seamless integration for them. Its very simple. But when they write to these locations, they can define capabilities that can be delivered by the services. That its encrypted at the file level, that you can set a retention period through that application and it will be enforced. Disposition can be enforced. You can do things like override that retention period by placing specific objects on legal hold. Those are all services that we offer out of what looks like just a big file system to the application.

Vizard: What is your best advice, then, to storage providers today who may be struggling with their profitability equation around storage fees?

Koclanes: I think theyll find that they can be the thought leaders and be respected as someone who can help all these companies, IT organizations, address the concerns of their records managers, their compliance officers, their legal requirements, or even potentially green dictates from above. Currently, these IT organizations are looking for direction. So youre now adding much higher value as a solution provider. Because youre not just coming in and selling a generic box that they could practically buy from anywhere, youre coming in and offering them a way to respond to these requests of how am I going to deal with these compliance issues, IT governances issues, these green dictates, and at the same time optimize your storage operation? If theyve got these business drivers that I just talked about, but at the same youre struggling with how am I dealing with my overall storage growth - if I could take some of that growth and, say, its fixed content, Ill put it on this other tier of storage which uses less power, costs less to maintain, doesnt have to be migrated every three to five years, and, one other key point - it doesnt need to be backed up because you know its on a permanent copy - then my whole operation is going to get more efficient. So the solution provider can sell that benefit to the storage organization and then also show them how they can get this project bought off by the business drivers of green initiatives, compliance initiatives, risk management and security initiatives.



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