Storagetek next year plans to flesh out its ILM (information lifecycle management) strategy with a raft of products designed to help customers manage data from creation to obliteration.
In the past six months the storage industry has turned its attention away from virtualization toward the emerging trend of ILM. Hewlett-Packard, EMC, IBM, Network Appliance and ADIC all have embraced the notion with broad strategies that address storage management complexities and compliance issues.
StorageTek, too, has embraced the nebulous term but has endeavored to define it by outlining products it will release next year to fill out its strategy.
StorageTek plans to introduce several products: a midrange version of its StreamLine SL8500, a tape library that can be serviced without outage, and supports various media types and interfaces; an open systems version of its Virtual Storage Manager software product; a compliance edition of an HSM (hierarchical storage manager) product; and a WORM (write-once read-many) technology that works across both disk and tape, said Todd Rief, director of corporate strategy at StorageTek.
Rief said all of these products will arrive next year. They are designed to address four major pain points targeted by ILM -- managing the complexity of storage, handling primary storage, dealing with backup and recovery, and archiving and compliance.
“The key to helping customers understand ILM is to approach one issue at a time,” Reif said.
StorageTek has been fulfilling its ILM strategy since June 2002, with a combination of services, new products, and technologies from partners such as Storability Software and FalconStor Software. For example, StorageTek OEMed Global Storage Manager -- an SRM (storage resource management) product that assists in automating management tasks across storage systems from multiple vendors and types of storage, including SANs, NAS, and DAS (direct attached storage) from Storability Software.
As for the other customer pain points, StorageTek relies on its own technologies, such as BladeStor, to address costs associated with having too many copies of data on costly primary storage.
Meanwhile, ADIC will expand its ILM offerings to include tools for managing, accessing, and protecting data over time. This expansion entails increasing support for additional OSes, and teaming with partners to create storage solutions tailored for specific applications.
Some customers are skeptical of the new ILM concept, said Reif.
“Two thirds of the people I talk to understand what ILM is, but they want the tools nondisruptively,” said Reif. “Others get it, but ... are going to throw more disks at the problem for now.”
Arun Taneja, a consulting analyst at the Taneja Group said ILM is attractive, but said more clarity from vendors is needed.
“The basic concept of ILM is appealing, but so much baloney surrounds it,” says Taneja. “It is hard for end-users to separate the wheat from the chaff.”
Taneja said StorageTek’s competency with data protection through HSM is something primary storage vendors like EMC are not as well versed in.