IBM unveils data retention system

IBM Corp. last week announced the launch of a new system designed to help enterprises comply with regulations such as Canada’a Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the U.S.

TotalStorage Data Retention 450 is touted as an all-in-one device that combines server, storage and software retention components into a single, securable cabinet. Embedded on the company’s eServer p615 using POWER 4+ processors, IBM said the offering also supports its TotalStorage Enterprise Tape Drive 3592 and Linear Tape Open family of offerings.

Core to the 450 is the company’s Tivoli Storage Manager for Data Retention, which IBM said is designed to enable users to both protect the integrity of data as well as enforce any existing policies surrounding data retention. The automated technology allows enterprises to, via policies, store data for as long as they need to — indefinitely, if required. For companies struggling to deal with mounting amounts of data, along with regulations such as PIPEDA, this means they have a tool to help manage what might otherwise be unmanageable. Other potential customers that could benefit: companies which may be subject to audits or litigation, IBM said.

The software will also verify that data has been correctly written and ensure that no modifications are made after the information has been stored. IBM, however, is not the only vendor to market this type of technology. EMC Corp. offers a similar product called Centera. The most notable difference between it and the IBM offering is that while Centera stores data on disks, IBM’s product allows for data to be retained on disk or magnetic tape. EMC last week announced performance enhancements to the Centera content addressed storage system, boosting performance by five times and doubling the data replication of earlier systems.

Storage strategies are being shaped by many issues, according to one industry observer.

“Compliance, regulation and security issues are definitely driving the storage industry this year and in the next few years to come, especially in Canada with PIPEDA,” noted Alan Freedman, research manager, infrastructure hardware with IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto.

IBM’s Data Retention 450 will be available in March and will be priced at US$141,600. Each of the offering’s components will also be available to customers individually through IBM Global Services or IBM Business Partners, according to the company.