After two years of planning/development and the importation of intellectual property from three of its recent acquisitions, storage giant EMC on Sept. 18 introduced a new set of enterprise products and services designed to provide automation for intelligent file management.
EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass., becomes the first large OEM to enter its own home-brewed product, called EMC Infoscape, into the so-called intelligent information management market. A number of smaller—mostly startup—companies are already elbowing for room in this space.
EMC Infoscape is a new software suite that aims to solve customer issues involving information security and compliance, legal discovery for files, and automated, policy-based storage optimization.
Infoscape will be escorted into the marketplace alongside a new EMC services offering, EMC Enterprise Information Management Strategy service, which will offer customized coaching in IT services management, security and compliance, and legal discovery.
"Weve leveraging various technologies from [recent EMC acquisitions] Smarts, Documentum, and Legato into Infoscape," George Symons, EMCs chief technology officer, told eWEEK. "Were really serving the business needs of CIOs, CSOs [chief security officers], and legal counsel with Infoscape."
Key features of EMC Infoscape, as listed by EMC, are:
- employs user-defined policies for ongoing information management
- uses service-level agreements between IT and lines of business
- optimizes storage environments by classifying files based on business value, file metadata and content
- aligns information with appropriate tier of storage
- identify duplicate files
- automatically migrate files based on policy
- comprehensive analysis and reporting
- gap analysis, charge-back analysis, service modeling, cost modeling
- optimizes tiered storage utilization for files
At first, Infoscape will run only in an EMC Celerra storage environment. Future plans are for it to work in EMCs Clariion and Symmetrix servers in the second half of 2007.
Is there anything revolutionary here?
"ESG believes that information classification is revolutionary as the one aspect of information lifecycle management that has fallen short is the ability to understand data with context and assign a value to that data," Brian Babineau, an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group, in Milford, Mass., told eWEEK.
Information classification and associated solutions allow organizations to prepare data and then take action against it. ESG, Babineau said, refers to the preparation and management of data as intelligent information management, and it believes that this helps organizations manage a subset of data more discretely—that is, take specific action like archive, encrypt, filter, move, copy, delete and so on.
"EMC is the first large OEM vendor to introduce their own solution," Babineau said. "NetApp partners with Kazeon. Also participating in the information classification market as it related to unstructured data (file system data) are Kazeon, Scentric, StoredIQ, Njini, FAST Search, Index Engines and Mathon Systems."
Babineau said that ESG research estimates that 46 percent of organizations have been through an electronic discovery in the past 12 months.
"This requires organizations to quickly locate relevant files for review by internal and opposing counsel," Babineau said. "By indexing file content and associated attributes (also known as metadata) this retrieval process, which also can apply to retrieving data from online backups, is much quicker as the search takes place against a rich index."
Archiving is just one information management action, Babineau said, but its one thats very important.
"Clearly, with EMCs archiving software and hardware portfolio, customers can benefit by [being able to] intelligently identify what files could be archived onto lower cost storage systems," he added.
Where EMC differentiates itself is helping customers locate data that can be indexed, Babineau said.
"Other vendors have solid solutions and got to market earlier; they need customers to tell them where to find that data that needs to be indexed. Because EMC has Smarts and other file system resource management tools, they can help customers locate data that they may not otherwise know exists and then leverage InfoScape to manage this information more intelligently.
"In my opinion, its the resource management piece of InfoScape that is the biggest news here," Babineau said.
The base Infoscape software module will cost $214,000 for a 10TB entry-level system. Capacity licensing starts at $9,000 per terabyte, an EMC spokesperson said.