Software // Information Management
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4/8/2011
08:05 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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HP Says Holistic Approach Busts Information Glut

Services and upgrades are aimed at managing, securing, retaining and retiring information. But is HP's approach too dependent on partner software?

HP introduced what it describes as a holistic approach to information management this week, and you have to give the company credit for tapping all the assets it has available, including backup and recovery, archiving, and records management software as well as a healthy dose of services.

What HP lacks is enterprise content management, data integration, data quality and master data management software. For these the company turns to partners. HP's new CEO, Leo Apotheker, says the company intends to grow its portfolio of software, and information management would be a key place to start. I'll share a few thoughts on acquisitions in a bit.

It's a good bet that any customer that truly needs these missing pieces has already invested in at least a few products. So HP's services-centric approach may, in fact, be a good fit for companies that have some software but that haven't been able to put together a coherent strategy.

With data stores growing at alarming rate, many organizations are at a breaking point. Among the 331 respondents to the InformationWeek Analytics 2010 State of Enterprise Storage survey, 87% of firms manage more than 1 terabyte of information, and 29% administer more than 100 TB. Only 15% of respondents reported relatively manageable data growth rates below 10% per year. A majority (62%) have data growth rates of 10% to 24% per year, and another 15% say they face 25% to 49% increases each year.

What exactly is a holistic approach? HP says it means creating a single view of what information is being managed and what's being protected. It's about ensuring that information is protected as soon as it's created, retained as required, and retired when it's expired. It includes backup and recovery, archival, records management, and e-discovery capabilities are in place.

Can HP deliver on that promise? The strong suit in this week's announcement is new consulting services aimed at resolving the human and policy dimensions that often don't get attention. The HP services team is providing "transformation workshops" that bring together legal, IT, business leaders, and information security officers to establish policies, identify best practices, and plan the long-term strategy.

As for the software, HP announced a series of upgrades. The HP Integrated Archive Platform has been bolstered to scale to 1 petabyte of data, 300,000 users and 20 million email messages per day. HP's Trim enterprise records management system has been enhanced to support retention policies across multiple jurisdictions, helping companies comply with requirements that vary among different countries. Trim also adds a bulk-loading capability, crucial for large-scale record updates.

On the archiving front, HP Database Archiving software has been integrated with Trim records management. This ensures archiving as well as retention of data from legacy systems and retired applications.

On the backup and recovery front, HP Data Protector gains snapshot support for 3PAR and non-HP arrays, with down-to-the-second snapshot recovery promised from HP StorageWorks P4000 storage area networks. Finally, the HP Data Protector Reporter has been enhanced to deliver enterprise-wide, multisite analysis and reporting on backup operations.

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The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
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