EMC Melds ECM, ILM, Virtualization Into A Single Storage Strategy


EMC managed to bring the storage industry's two top buzzwords--ILM and virtualization--together as part of a single industry trend this week at its EMC Technology Summit conference in New Orleans.

In several keynotes and press meetings this week, officials of the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage giant said the need to safely and cost effectively archive and retrieve data requires both a way to virtualize storage resources to make them easily accessible to different applications, and a tiered approach to migrate data based on its value.

Jeffrey Nick, senior vice president and CTO of EMC, said that customers are looking to build a strategy for ILM, and need a framework into which ILM can be plugged. "In order for ILM to be understood and adopted, customers are being asked, how does it fit with other dimensions of IT," he said.

EMC is focused on tightly coordinating the components of its ILM strategy with technology that supports data migration, protection and security, said Nick. This includes its Documentum enterprise content management, VMware server virtualization, and its new Invista storage virtualization, he said. It also includes the Smarts application-based storage management technology the company recently acquired.

"If we bring storage management capabilities, orchestrate them with an application-oriented view of the storage topology, the ability to manage resources like VMware and Invista do, and traditional enterprise content management capabilities, then ILM really starts to take shape," he said. "Then I can do intelligent data placement based on network information from Smarts, document information from Documentum, and decide where to place it based on the value of the data to the business."

By tying these technologies together, customers will be able to understand how their IT resources are being consumed, which applications are being served, and how their data is being processed. "They can then start to build out intelligent, automated ILM," he said.

Storage virtualization will in the near future make it possible to automatically move data to different levels of storage, whether part of an ILM strategy or in order to do software patches or technology refreshes, in a non-disruptive manner, said Mark Lewis, executive vice president and chief development officer for EMC.

Because EMC's Invista virtualization technology does not sit in the data path, it virtualizes customers' existing storage infrastructures and does not require the use of new arrays or storage management software, said Lewis. "Rule number one is, don't mess with a customer's existing infrastructure," he said. "Just build value around it. Don't change it. We have to conform to the users."