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Mix storage and content management, and what do you get? A new category of application, information life-cycle management (ILM), is what industry behemoths EMC and Hewlett-Packard have been working to create from that union.
ILM combines technology and processes to let companies manage critical data from creation to disposal. It assumes that the value of all data is not equal, and changes over time: The most critical data should get the most reliable storage and services.
While pieces of ILM strategy have been around for years, the need for a complete solution has grown. Companies are struggling to comply with regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and HIPAA, and to plan for disaster recovery.
Storage companies, eager to bolster revenue by tapping into a hot new market, are jockeying for leadership. Storage titan EMC's acquisition of Documentum, a content management leader, and agreement to bundle OuterBay's database archiving software with the ILM technology from EMC's Legato acquisition, flesh out the company's software offerings. HP's planned acquisition of Persist Technologies, a leading provider of software designed for long-term storage and access of reference information, and partnership with systems integrator Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, while strengthening the company's ILM portfolio are also part of HP's "Adaptive Enterprise" strategy to bring IT in line with the business. And EMC and HP are not alone. Hitachi Data Systems and IBM are quickly getting in on the act, with Sun and Veritas expected to follow.
So far, potential customers are taking a wait-and-see attitude, citing unproven technologies and interoperability issues between rival products.