HP unwraps expanded data management plan

Hewlett-Packard (HP) is expanding its data management initiative through partnerships, with hopes of targeting companies in the financial services, health care and life sciences industries with products and services that help them comply with often rigorous data tracking requirements.

The expanded initiative, announced Wednesday, is aimed at helping companies deal with changing business needs and regulatory requirements like data archiving and recovery by providing them with a range of storage, software and server products as well as services.

In that vein, HP also introduced its new OpenView Storage Area Manager 3.1 software Wednesday, which provides users with a centralized view of storage capacity from Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Exchange products as well as capacity reports.

"With these announcements, I think we are laying the foundation and vision of where we are going in the future," said Patrick Bonelli, vice president of network storage solutions for HP in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The offerings are particularly relevant given the changing business and legal requirements companies are now subject to, HP said.

Legislation such as the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which sets out detailed data tracking and retention requirements for financial firms, have created a new market for IT vendors offering to help companies manage their often myriad documents and data pools.

HP, through what it is calling its "Information Lifecycle Management" program, said that it is focusing on helping companies with data retention, availability and recovery, as well as the ability to extract information from e-mail and Microsoft Corp.'s Office documents.

The high costs of storage will help drive companies' needs for these products, according to Bonelli. By managing information and monitoring storage capacity and resources, companies can cut costs and improve efficiencies, he said.

The expanded initiative is built on the company's partner program, which it hopes will help in targeting specific industries. In the financial services sector, for instance, HP said that it is allying with firms like information protection and application availability software provider Legato Systems Inc.

Looking ahead, HP said that it is working on defining a data management architecture that enables a common framework for the control of data. The company also hopes to introduce a console that will provide companies with a unified and automated way to implement data policies and movement. Bonelli declined to comment further on these projects.

HP already offers backup and recovery, data replication, e-mail archiving and data sanitization services as part of its Information Lifecycle Management program.

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