Taking a Unified Approach

By Charles Garry  |  Posted 2006-03-13 Print this article Print

If you are a high level IT manager I urge you to stop this activity now. Why repeat the mistakes of the past if you dont have to? With all due respect, the distributed systems management market had to grow up and mature. They had no real example to learn from.

The ILM space has no such excuse. ILM is an enterprise strategy not a series of niche approaches. Information is information, whether it is structured data in a database table, semi-structured data in an e-mail or unstructured data in a document. At the end of the day you should desire a single point of management.
There are many reasons—technical and business—for a unified approach. But Ill just mention one. Some day, someone is going to need to search for some information. They may not know if that information is in a database, contained in an e-mail, or in a Word document. They just need to find it.
It is likely they will be under some time constraint. Wouldnt a unified ILM software architecture enable that search better than a hodgepodge of point products, each with its own metadata store and user interface? Click here to read why the emphasis on data integration and coding in SQL Server 2005 will force database specialist to learn programmers tricks. Lets not fool ourselves either; enterprise search is the ultimate killer app for ILM. In speaking with Sai Gundavelli, CEO of Solix, an ILM vendor, he articulated this vision best when he told me that Solixs mission is to organize all enterprise information. Now, organizing information is like organizing your tax records or your garage. The goal is ultimately to make not only your day-to-day work more efficient but to make things easier to find later on when you need it. That is a simple yet very profound vision when applied to enterprise data. We are now seeing the pace of consolidation heating up in the ILM space with EMC and Hewlett-Packard leading the way. Both have the vision, I believe. But like the systems management vendors of the past, they are trying to accomplish it through a series of acquired point products. One can only assume that they, like CA and BMC before them, are busy figuring out how to cobble together a unified ILM software architecture from a bunch of piece parts. I call this approach a market vision which typically precedes any actual technical vision, unfortunately. At least for me, small companies like Solix offer some hope of relief, as they not only have a unified ILM vision for the market but have designed their software from day one to eventually handle such a task. They are the first, but hopefully not the last vendor in the ILM space to deliver software built with the realization that ILM is really one broad concept, not a niche strategy. Its not important that any vendor can actually do ILM for any source of data on any platform today. But we should at least ask the question: Have they been designing their software for this eventuality? After all, no one wants to repeat the mistakes of the past because thats just silly. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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