HOPKINTON, MASS. – Raw data is growing at a rate of more than 60 per cent year-over-year and IT managers are struggling with this rapid information overload, according to a senior executive at EMC Corp.

At its annual International Press

Day Thursday EMC committed itself to furthering information lifecycle management (ILM).

“IT managers are struggling with information growth with structured and unstructured data. How do you manage that growth? The new approach is ILM. This is not an EMC strategy, but we want customers to adopt this and we are promoting it,” said David Goulden, executive vice-president, customer operations for EMC.

EMC believes the promise of ILM is to reduce costs and make the data available to a broad range of users and become more predictable.

“ILM is the key to solving the business problems you have,” Goulden said.

Currently, protection and recovery issues and the need to find data fast compound the rapid rate of information growth. “(In the past), people needed to get info in at least four hours. That increased services levels, but today you really need (the data) now,” Goulden said.

Another factor is compliance regulations such as Sarbanes Oxley and PIPEDA. Goulden said there are more than 20,000 different regulations around the world. “Today, you are keeping data twice as long, while actively disposing of it. If I am a storage manager I face 200 per cent growth of information in my IT environment (because of compliance regulations),” he said.

The complexity of managing critical applications is also adding cost and taking up resources. “Now if storage budgets were up this would not be a problem, but it’s not so it is a big challenge. To get out of this bind, we need a new approach to managing the information. Historically, we managed it with high-end storage platforms or tape. That has to change,” Goulden said.

EMC has broken down its ILM strategy into three pillars: applications, information and hardware. Goulden admits those three pillars sounds simple, however he stated that EMC’s take on ILM is a centric one where the company understands it more than just storage.

EMC is trying to encourage customers to map its ILM adoption in three phases.

The first is based on customers establishing three separate tiers of storage. Goulden believes that by just doing this customer will be able to save about 20 to 30 per cent of their storage budget.

Application management is the second phase. EMC wants customers to set up policies such as email after 30 days moves from primary to secondary. Then 30 days after than it moves into archived mail and after a year it gets deleted, for example.

The last phase is still a ways off. Future ILM, EMC believes, will be enterprise wide, where customer will establish repositories supported by storage virtualization and applications will have policies.

“What we find is they address key initiatives in business such as dealing with consolidation, business continuity, and back up to disk. The second phase is more comprehensive where you set up archives and compliance. In the third phase you deal with enterprise and content management,” Goulden said.

Mark Lewis, executive vice-president and chief development officer for EMC, said, from a product perspective EMC’s ILM plan will be in two areas. In the information management product side will comprise of Documentum, Xtender and Smarts products, while in storage virtualization area will be covered by VMWare and EMC’s latest product release Invista.

“We want to bring ILM to all levels right down to the dentist office with a few nodes. The difference is how you implement it. And, the degree of networking is a matter of degrees. Everyone needs to manage the information and compliance issues so what we try to do is bring more simply and complete solutions to the SMB market and at the high end it will be more a la carte options. ILM is technically for everyone who has information. EMC will address ILM from SMB up,” Lewis said.

Go to market

Goulden also said for EMC to become a leader in ILM, it needs to increase its base of third party partners, bring out more technology products, partner with distribution and increase services.

According to industry analyst figures, the worldwide ILM marketplace is valued at more than US$50 billion this year.The company now has more than 8,000 employees dedicated to services. In the past, EMC services were just implementation and maintenance, Goulden said. But, today the company has hundreds of services such as business impact analysis.

Over the years EMC has made huge changes in its partnering strategy and today indirect sales worldwide is more than 50 per cent of total revenues. The company has also committed more than US$1 billion in research and development. A significant portion of that will be to develop ILM solutions.

Goulden also said that ILM will go beyond enterprise and EMC will go after commercial and SMB markets.With that, Goulden said the company would be increasing its channel base around the world. “In 2002, EMC had a single go to market strategy and that was the enterprise. Our entire sales force was a one size fits all (company) and it was all enterprise. In 2003, we started to break out a new team to go after the commercial space and hired a new leadership team for that,” Goulden said.

Goulden added this team moves products in the commercial market entirely through channel partners. “Only go direct if the customer specifically wants that,” he said. In 2006, EMC will set up a third sales team to go after the SMB market with inside sales, telemarketing and more partnerships with volume-based resellers.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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