Software, Storage Vendors Converge Tools

Archiving, management are combined for economies in storage in recent offerings by Princeton Softech and OuterBay Technologies.

Driven by the cost of buying and managing a mounting number of storage devices coupled with pressure to comply with financial reporting requirements, IT organizations are looking for better ways to classify and manage corporate data.

Princeton Softech Inc. and OuterBay Technologies Inc. are among the data management software vendors looking to better enable content management and data archiving technologies to work together to achieve that goal. Such a marriage will help IT managers move inactive or unused data to lower-cost storage devices to save cash and prioritize active data in live production environments, advocates say.

In the end, customers will be able to optimize their storage infrastructures, improve application performance and institute data retention policies rather than pour more cash into new disks, networks, servers, administration and personnel, the vendors say.

Princeton Softech in December unveiled Archive for Servers ClarifyCRM Edition 2.0, which enables database managers to remove sets of data that are rarely used from their production databases. This reduces the size of the database and improves performance, officials said.

New in Version 2.0 is support for EMC Corp.s ATA-based Centera storage platform, Oracle Corp.s Oracle9i database and a new Universal Active Archive viewer to improve archive access for query execution, according to officials of the Princeton, N.J., company.

Separately, OuterBay, of Campbell, Calif., in mid-December announced a partnership designed to let storage solution provider EMC offer combined content management and data archiving technologies. EMC will follow up with an announcement next month that it is integrating OuterBays ADM (Application Data Management) 3.0 suite of archiving technologies into its ILM (information lifecycle management) offerings, according to Mark Sorenson, EMC senior vice president of information management software.

ADM 3.0 incorporates a data-retention-policy-based approach to monitor, forecast and manage data and storage growth among applications and database deployments. Key to EMCs ILM software is content management technology from the companys acquisition of Documentum Inc., which is expected to close this month. As such, ADM will manage structured information, and the Documentum technology will manage unstructured information.

Sorenson said OuterBays software will be integrated with EMCs ControlCenter suite, as well as with EMCs archiving technologies and the Centera storage platform.

"Documentum gives us a huge play in data management, but one missing piece we cant ignore is around unstructured information," said Sorenson, in Hopkinton, Mass. "We need to keep databases lean and mean for storage purposes."

By using ADM 3.0 to identify active and inactive data or to classify whether a business transaction is open or closed, customers can get off the "hardware treadmill" by optimizing infrastructure to place data in the best storage and server location available, said OuterBay CEO Michael Howard.

"Being able to slim down a mission-critical environment on a diet [causes] a ripple effect on backup, disaster recovery, content management, leveraging storage devices and getting data under control," Howard said.

Tektronix Inc. saw performance of its Oracle production environment decline as it was overrun by data growth just as financial reporting requirements made performance more important than ever. The environment serves 800 concurrent users in 27 countries and is stocked with different financial and legal reporting requirements. The Beaverton, Ore., company turned to OuterBay technologies to enforce data retention policies and manage its database archiving.

"We needed to have some way to archive that purged data into an environment users could access for audit and statutory reporting," said Lois Hughes, Tektronixs senior manager for business application systems, global accounts receivable, tax and invoicing.

Tektronix runs OuterBays LiveArchive, a component of ADM, to identify inactive business transactions, relocate inactive data to a live archive and retain transparent access options, said Hughes. Content management and its database relationship is crucial to Tektronix, Hughes said, since the company is required to maintain financial and order transaction data online for a maximum of six years.

According to industry experts, greater numbers of customers seek to perform content management within the relational database for structured data analysis. Therefore, moving that capability off the main production database and onto a lower-cost storage environment is essential. "Content needs to become a first-class citizen in the world of online integration," said Carl Olofson, an analyst for IDC, of Framingham, Mass.

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