HP introduces storage management plan

Hewlett-Packard Co. added new services to its information lifecycle management (ILM) initiative on Wednesday, focusing on helping customers understand the long-term requirements of managing large IT infrastructures. And while HP said ILM is quickly becoming mission critical in certain sectors, one analyst noted that the concept still has a way to go before it will be implemented by most organizations.

HP’s ILM initiative -which is targeted towards the financial services and health care sector because of rigid data tracking requirements in these industries – falls under the company’s adaptive enterprise strategy, according to Barry Gregory, storage business development manager for HP in Ottawa.

He said this initiative is about taking a “laser focus” on wrapping solutions around helping customers create and modify, replicate and distribute, archive and recall, and protect and recover their data.

“If you think of customers and the unbelievable growth they are experiencing in their storage environments today, ILM is an initiative to help them manage their storage both in terms of designing it and in terms of the long-term management of it including things like archive retention,” Gregory said.

He used the banking industry as an example of environments that have “unbelievable retention legislation requirements” that reside within the organization and said the growth in storage has gone way beyond people’s ability to manage it today.

Gregory said organizations are burdened with finding ways to provide information quickly and easily to end users without burying their systems and networks with information that doesn’t need to be current.

“Some stuff you need at your fingertips and some stuff, you need it and you want it, but you don’t need it at your fingertips – and that’s what ILM is all about,” Gregory said. “It’s about putting the information where you know you can find it but you don’t have everything sitting on your desktop because you couldn’t manage that.”

E-mail is a good example of an application that doesn’t need to be kept on a high performance disk, but rather can be moved to a lower performance, lower costing disk, said David Hill, vice-president of storage research at Boston, Mass.-based Aberdeen Group. A day or two after receiving an e-mail message, you aren’t going to do anything with it, he pointed out. You are not going to read it, you don’t change it, and it’s read only for the most part. It doesn’t have to be on a high performance disk because you don’t use it that often. While you might still need it in case you want to go back and check it, he explained, you don’t need it instantaneously.

Hill said ILM is an infrastructure issue that, as a concept, is still incomplete. He added that although it is not mission critical for most organizations today, companies should spend the next three years, while waiting for the rest of ILM’s tools to come to market, deciding on how they are going to handle their storage plans.

Also on Wednesday, HP introduced its new version of OpenView Smart Plug-in for PeopleSoft Inc. which was designed to support the latest HP OpenView, PeopleTools and OS applications.

HP is online at www.hp.com, and in Canada the company is at www.hp.ca.