HP Talks Up Information Life-Cycle Management, Outlines Road Map

The company is in the process of bringing its various storage technologies, servers and professional services together to tackle customer issues such as how to store data for the long term while dealing with technological issues that occur before the data expires, said Rusty Smith, director of HP's Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) division.

The company is also addressing other issues, such as the increase in capacity required to handle data that, due to new regulations, must be stored for a longer period than in the past, as well as how to extract information from that stored data, said Smith.

While storage-centric vendors such as EMC, Veritas Software and StorageTek have already discussed ILM strategies, HP is the first systems company to do so, Smith said. "When you create data to be archived, it is not created by storage," he said. "It is created on servers and on applications running on the servers. Instead, it's a business-process issue."

HP's ILM strategy makes full use of the vendor's range of storage products, including high-performance and low-performance disk, tape and optical technologies. For the parts it does not develop internally, HP will partner, said Smith. "We know how to partner to go to market. We don't need to buy a Legato," he said, referring EMC's acquisition of Legato Systems earlier this year.

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HP is already partnering with a number of other vendors, including developers of software for financial services, e-mail archiving and hierarchical storage management, Smith said.

Tools to manage data manually as part of ILM are available, said Smith. However, over the next six to nine months, HP will gradually introduce tools to automate many of the processes necessary to manage data over the long term, he said. At the same time, the company plans to unveil new software partners. The next two to three years will see enhanced automation, he said.

A key part of the ILM process is consulting services for processes such as deciding what data to keep and what not to keep, and when to move it from high-performance storage to lower-cost low-performance storage and then on to optical or tape storage, Smith said.

As a result, HP will depend on its professional-services arm to play a big role in ILM, said Smith. However, the company will also look to partner with both large and small channel partners, he said.

"For large hospitals with huge issues related to retaining data, we will bring in large service providers," Smith said. "But a lot of community hospitals face similar challenges. We will work with VARs, and are now looking at developing bundled services for VARs to offer such customers in the long term."