Sun looks to intertwine storage, ID management

Sun Microsystems hopes integrating its data storage and identity management software will help differentiate the company's storage offerings.

Sun Microsystems is hoping that an integration of its data storage and identity management software will help differentiate its storage offerings from those of other players in the field. The company is currently laying the groundwork for such an offering, both from a product and a marketing perspective, according to the head of Sun's storage business.

Mark Canepa, executive vice president of Sun's Data Management Group, described engineering work to bring together the vendor's storage and identity management products as "a work in progress."

"You're going to start to see some of it this year," Canepa said. However, he stressed that Sun is likely to redefine the exact nature of the combined software over the course of 2006.

Products involved include Sun's SAM-FS policy-based file-archiving software and the identity management technology Sun acquired in late 2003 through the purchase of Waveset Technologies, according to Canepa.

While identity management is becoming less about access by people and more about access by applications, the concept of storage itself is also changing, he said. "It's about how to store data, where to store it and how to move it around," Canepa said.

He gave the example of how a combination of identity and storage management might work in the context of a company's e-mail retention policies based on the different responsibility levels of its workers.

For a new rank-and-file employee, a firm might set policies to store the staffer's e-mail on its primary storage devices for 90 days, then save the messages to tape for the next 90 days, and finally delete the messages 180 days after the employee first received them. By contrast, when the same company hired a new executive vice president, the combined ID and storage software would learn that his or her e-mails should be kept on primary storage devices for 180 days and then be archived for "an infinite retention period," Canepa said.

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