What do you mean by manual effort?
I'm talking in terms of lacking an automated way to determine that this set of data has these retention properties and when you reach five years, for example, [tape archiving] just happens. I'm thinking about making our staff more efficient around the decision-making around when and what moves, not so much about "You've got to go move this to that." We can have operations staff do that. But I'm sure we have data sitting there in near- or real-time accessibility that doesn't need to be. It could be moved off to tape.
So it's more about classifying data?
Yes, in a more automated way -- whether it's ticklers that say, "This is the kind of stuff that's coming up in the next few months to be addressed" -- we just haven't explored it yet.
Are you thinking about an in-house solution or something off the shelf?
We're reluctant to do something in-house. Our typical strategy across technology is in-house; we build what's a core competency that's a differentiator. This, in my mind, is not a differentiator. There have got to be folks that create these types of products and that's their core competency. My strong bias is that now that we've recognized the need, as we have the cycles and bandwidth to address it, we begin looking at potential partners.
SNIA is working on a standard as part of SMI-S, which would allow migration of data across tiers of storage. How important is that to you?
My team does work with SNIA to some extent. My fundamental view is we are, and ought to be, vendor-agnostic. My team's a big believer in standards. In this case, standard interfaces and the ability for a heterogeneous group of vendors to be able to be utilized across the whole data life cycle, I think, is the right direction.
Aren't you mainly an EMC shop? Do you try to standardize on one vendor?
We do. But again, in the end, we're vendor-agnostic. We're looking for the best combination of price, quality and availability. Right now, we're an EMC shop, so as we do mergers and acquisitions, we stick with EMC. It doesn't mean we won't continue to look at vendors whose offerings become potentially higher in quality, availability and resilliency at competitive cost points. A fundamental tenet is [that] we're vendor-agnostic.