StorageTek Takes Wraps Off E-Mail Archiving Solution

StorageTek's Lifecycle Fixed Content Manager 100 appliance protects e-mails and IMs from deletion until the expiration date established by the content application.

In what is intended to be the first of a series of life-cycle storage management products, StorageTek has introduced an e-mail archiving solution that gives organizations better storage and archival features for fixed content.

The Lifecycle Fixed Content Manager 100 appliance, which includes both hardware and software—some of it based on Permabits Permeon—offers record-level retention, fast retrieval and dynamic capacity allocation. The product uses standard NFS (Network File Server) and CIFS (Common Internet File System) file interfaces to read and write data, and to set retention periods.

To ensure the most comprehensive e-mail archiving scenario possible for its customers, StorageTeks product currently supports e-mail and archive applications from CommVault Systems, iLumin Software Services and iXOS Software AG, with support for Veritas Softwares KVS and AXS-One Inc. by March.

The product, which handles capacities from 2TB to 18TB, is appropriate for most medium- and large-scale environments, although true enterprise-class customers will probably need more than the 18 TB maximum, acknowledged Mark Lewis, StorageTeks senior product manager for ILMS. Lewis said StorageTek plans to introduce subsequent products to provide larger capacities.

The product also helps organizations meet SEC 17a-4 WORM media requirements, which stipulates that financial institutions must store electronic communications and messages like e-mail and instant messages electronically for long periods of time, and that those records must be easy to retrieve and view. The Lifecycle Fixed Content Manager 100 addresses this requirement by protecting records from deletion until the expiration date established by the content application, Lewis explained.

Lewis pointed to a large brokerage customer of StorageTek that was assessed a multimillion-dollar fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission for lack of compliance with SEC 17a-4 in 2004. The SEC stipulated that the fine would be reduced by 80 percent if the problem was rectified by this month. By using an early version of Lifecycle Fixed Content Manager 100, the brokerage was able to take advantage of the fine reduction, he said.

The introduction of Lifecycle Fixed Content Manager 100 is an important and long-awaited milestone for StorageTek, said Peter Gerr, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, of Milford, Mass.

"It finally brings a long-term fixed content archiving solution to StorageTeks product portfolio, which it was in dire need of," he said.

In some ways, however, StorageTek is playing catch-up to others in its market segment. Those with similar products include market leader EMC Corp. with Centera and Network Appliance Inc. with SnapLock, as well as Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM.

"StorageTek is somewhat late to market with this type of product, but it made the right decision in the end in terms of choosing a partner," Gerr said. "Our expectation is that the StorageTek field is very anxious to get their hands on this product and that many of its customers are looking to deploy this type of disk-based solution."

The Lifecycle Fixed Content Manager 100 is just the first product in a projected line of related products that will expand capacity and performance and add more content management partnerships as well as document management functionality, Lewis said.


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