EMC Leads Information Lifecycle Management Charge

 
 
By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2004-10-04
 
 
 
Storage customers are getting the chance to kick the tires of EMC Corp.s information lifecycle management products in areas such as replication, file management and application integration.

The Hopkinton, Mass., company is launching new products designed to guide customers toward a tiered storage infrastructure that will provide the capability to sort, access and store the vast amounts of data growing daily within enterprises.

"IT has a unique position as custodians of information," said Chuck Hollis, vice president of storage platforms at EMC.

To reduce remote protection storage costs, EMC on Monday unveiled EMC Open Replicator for Symmetrix. Available in the first quarter of 2005, the new software uses existing SAN (storage area network) deployments to makes copies from EMCs DMX box to external storage. Open Replicator plugs into existing storage arrays from vendors including IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Hitachi Ltd. The tool offers a "live restore" function to shorten remote recovery times and start an application before data is copied back to a destination without using tape, said Hollis.

Also targeted for the first quarter of 2005 EMCs Symmetrix Triangular Automated Replication, or STAR, technology, which integrates with its SRDF product to coordinate automated remote protection for three or more data centers. Should a primary data center fail, the technology self-synchronizes the other locations in a network to maintain application uptime without data loss.

Customers such as Paul Stonchus, first vice president and data center manager for Clarendon Hills, Ill.-based MidAmerica Bank, which is owned by MAF Bancorp Inc., said he "totally embraces" the ILM concept put forth by EMC.

"Ive been around computers for 24 years and come from a mainframe background. I can see where [systems] evolve into a heterogeneous environment and realize we have quite a bit of redundant data we back up on a regular basis," said Stonchus. "The basic problem with backups is youre using the same backup strategy for most of your backups regardless of the data."

Stonchus said a storage strategy assigning specific business value to information through its livelihood is critical. However, he says software vendors will be a bottleneck when it comes to ILMs advancement until they more readily embrace storage devices.

"I would like to see my applications write natively to Centera disk devices. I shouldnt have to install a middleware piece of software to do that for me," noted Stonchus, who has deployed EMC Legatos DiskXtender software to plug into EMCs Centera storage hardware.

To read about the latest Centera upgrade, click here.

MidAmerica Bank runs a stand-alone SAN connecting an EMC DMX 800 storage device to a Unisys mainframe. The financial institution also uses a CLARiiON CX 600 storage device connected to about 32 Windows 2000 servers.

Infrastructure consolidation is also on tap for EMC as it urging customers to implement its VMWare technology to shave costs by enabling fewer servers at remote site locations.

In terms of aggregating and managing content repositories, Hollis said EMC will focus on building predefined and template policies for its Documentum Content Storage Services offering, as well as modeling what-if tools to enable customers to determine the impact of policy alterations on their environment. He did not elaborate on a timetable for when that technology will be available.

Enhanced policies for consolidation are at the heart of EMCs new Celerra FileMover, which aims to clean up files in a storage environment that are hardly or never used and not tied to any applications, or automatically shift files that grow in importance. The policy engines used are Legatos DiskXtender, Archival product and Enigma. The open API nature of Celerra FileMover means new policy engines will be added down the road.

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