Compliance-Related Issues Propel Storage Market

Solution providers concerned with compliance-related storage issues applaud such vendors' moves as timely, and many expect compliance to be a major driver of storage technology in the future.

Don James, vice president of sales and marketing at FusionStorm, said the San Francisco-based solution provider is starting to work with customers on compliance issues and is planning to conduct a series of seminars on the subject with vendor partners Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and others.

"The market is definitely interested and concerned," James said. "E-mail is a problem. It grows and grows, and now customers have to keep it."

Other solution providers agree. "We're in the talking stage, but not everyone is looking at compliance issues yet," said Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of Nth Generation Computing, a solution provider in San Diego. "[Companies] are still trying to figure out what they need to do. A significant amount of our focus is going into this area."

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The federal government's involvement in compliance means the issue has moved to the front burner, said Joseph Fannin, CEO of Net Source, a solution provider in Littleton, Colo.

The impact is already being felt in the optical-disk space, where vendors that used to complain about sales going up and down now report strong orders, Fannin said.

But the compliance issue has yet to fully hit the market for hard drives, although that will change in the short term, Fannin said. "For disks, customers are not pressured yet," he said. "No one wants to just jump in. The smart [customers] will start looking at compliance now. They know that if they wait six months, they'll have to move too fast."

IBM recently introduced software that will allow applications to treat its new FAStT EXP100 expansion unit for its FAStT storage arrays as a WORM (write once, read many) device to prevent data from being deleted, said Alan Stuart, senior strategist for storage software at the Armonk, N.Y.-based vendor.

By next April, IBM also plans to unveil a WORM version of its model 3592 enterprise tape drives and media, he said.

In addition, the company unveiled archival and retention capabilities for both regulated and nonregulated data in its DB2 Content Manager application, Stuart said.

HDS, Santa Clara, Calif., unveiled a software application, called Message Archive for Compliance, that allows data such as e-mails and instant messages to be written to one of the company's Thunder or Lightning storage arrays in a format that allows reading but not alteration or deletion for a mandated retention period.

Other storage vendors are taking the wraps off new products also.

EMC, Hopkinton, Mass., unveiled the Centera array, which offers content-addressable storage, and Veritas Software introduced Data Lifecycle Manager 5.0, an option for its NetBackup 5.0 and Backup Exec 9.1 applications. The product allows data to be backed up for compliance purposes based on customer policies and works for data that's been backed up already.

Information backed up via Data Lifecycle Manager can be tracked as it migrates and set for automatic deletion after a certain period of time, said Michael Sotnick, vice president of partner sales at Veritas, Mountain View, Calif. The offering is being aimed initially at Microsoft Exchange and Windows NT file system (NTFS) formats, he said.

For its part, Hewlett-Packard has yet to make a major push into the compliance space. But channel sources said the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor plans to introduce about 30 different products aimed at compliance and information life-cycle issues next quarter.



EMC's Centera

EMC: Taking a hardware-based approach with the Centera, including a Compliance Edition, aimed at fixed storage, or what the vendor calls content-addressable storage. Once stored on the array, data cannot be altered or deleted.

HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS: In October, introduced Message Archive for Compliance to enable companies to retain unalterable archives of e-mails and instant messages for a fixed period of time on existing HDS hardware.

IBM: Debuted e-mail archiving and records management services, archival and retention capabilities for DB2 and Lotus, and expanded policy-based data-retention capabilities for Tivoli Storage Manager.

VERITAS SOFTWARE: Unveiled Data Lifecycle Manager in November. The offering allows Veritas' backup software to handle e-mail and file archiving for new and legacy data.


EMC's Centera


EMC's Centera