StorageTek Outlines Information Life-Cycle Management Strategy

That was the message from Pat Martin, chairman, president and CEO of StorageTek, who addressed attendees at the company's annual Forum end-user conference in San Diego this week.

Martin pointed out that 90 percent of the data in a data center is never accessed, and 80 percent of that data is replicated into multiple copies. Among the pain points facing the industry are difficulty in managing the storage environment, limitations of primary hard drive-based storage, difficulty with backups and restores, and new compliance regulations, he said.

Of these, the biggest issue is archiving of data related to new compliance regulations, said Martin. "God forbid you should ever have to retrieve something," he said. "The chance of being able to find anything in that morass of information is low."

Currently, the most common way to manage storage growth is to throw more disk storage devices at the problem, Martin said. The StorageTek CEO, however, disputed comments made a few years ago by Michael Ruettgers, chairman of EMC, that tape is dead. Martin said it is disk that is dead. "Right now, I would argue that the most ineffective storage in your data center is disk," he said.

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The solution is to implement an information lifecycle management strategy under which the management of the data relies on multiple products from primary disk-based storage to disk-based backup products to tape, and not on a single product, said Martin.

"If I am a disk vendor, the only solution is to sell more disk," he said. "If I only have a hammer, every problem is a nail. ... Anyone who says disk is the only solution, or tape, or network storage, is flat wrong. You must have an integrated solution."

In a separate meeting, Martin told reporters that while StorageTek is committed to information life-cycle management, no company, even his own, has all the parts. "We don't have all the software," he said. "EMC and IBM don't have all the software. ... We are looking to close the gaps, and investing in it both internally and via acquisitions."

StorageTek remains focused on the storage part of the IT business and will continue to partner with other vendors in such related areas as information life-cycle management and enterprise content management, Martin said.