EMC: New products, services enable regulatory compliance

EMC Corp. this week released new tools and services to help users of its storage products to design and manage a data lifecycle management strategy in order to comply with regulations.

Dave Donelan, senior director of industry compliance solution for EMC in Hopkinton, Mass. said the firm’s new offerings are geared toward helping companies deal with compliance issues. These issues vary from an industry regulation point to corporate governance, such as Sarbanes-Oxley, as well as litigation support and legal discovery.

“Compliance is all about managing information and what we find is that today’s compliance requirements are straining today’s information technology resources,” he said. “There are new forms of business records that have come out over the past few years — it’s not just financial statements anymore, it’s e-mail, voice, video, instant messaging (IM) —… that are impacting compliance.”

EMC offers three new “Proven” solutions, which have been developed in co-operation with with partners and internal divisions. The development process involves pre-testing these integrated solutions including hardware, software and services, Donelan said. The company already has a Proven solution for the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation 17a-4, which specifically applies to brokerage firms. EMC has now broadened the same solution to let users customize them for regulations that apply to them.

Through customer research EMC discovered companies are struggling to manage and archive e-mail, Donelan said. So now EMC offers Proven Solution for E-mail Archiving, which integrates with Legato’s EmailXtender, EmailXaminer and EMC’s storage platforms to archive e-mail content from both Microsoft Corp.’s Exchange and IBM Corp.’s Lotus Notes.

EMC often refers to its storage platforms as tiered storage. Symmetrix is its high-end storage area network (SAN) appliance, Clariion is a low-end SAN product, Celerra is for network-attached storage (NAS) and Centera generally houses archived information that isn’t frequently accessed.

As e-mails are created, Donelan said, the Proven Solution for E-mail Archiving will help place the e-mail on an appropriate storage appliance. For example, if the e-mail is newly created, it will probably be accessed more often and more likely to be stored on a SAN or NAS appliance. But as the e-mail ages it will need to be archived, onto Centera, for example, Donelan said.

EMC offers Proven Content Archiving and Retrieval Solutions (CARS) for Documentum and Mobius. CARS with Documentum lets users manage the lifecycle of online documents and records. It also stores and retrieves the data in any format from any source, EMC said. CARS with Mobius lets users archive and retrieve mainframe-generated content, bills, statements, and images, the company said.

Peter Gerr, analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass., said these are important announcements for EMC.

“This proves that EMC is making progress into integrating the acquisitions which it made over the course of the last 12 months,” he said. EMC bought both Legato and Documentum in 2003 along with VMWare and because the technology these companies add are different from EMC’s core competencies — with the exception of Legato, which was a storage software vendor — Gerr said EMC is under pressure to prove these acquisitions will bear fruit.

Additionally, EMC has a services arm, dubbed the Technology Solutions Group, which helps users create an information lifecycle management (ILM) strategy by aligning business requirements to storage architecture, data policies and service level agreements (SLAs).

EMC also said upgrades to Centera’s operating environment CentraStar 2.3 offer new retention classes for data so users can organize data into groups including, e-mail, IM and human resources information. Additionally, Centera users will now find it easier to delete some items that were previously impossible to delete. This functionality comes on the heels of a European Union (E.U.) regulation, which requires users to delete all information about employees as soon as they leave the company, Donelan said. The third Centera function lets users extend CentraStar’s data retention period compliance abilities to applications that don’t have them innately.

“These [announcements] should show progress in continuing to make Centera both the market leader, in terms of marketshare, and the thought-leader, in terms of awareness and credibility in terms of selling compliant storage solutions,” Gerr said.

Compliance is a relatively new area for storage vendors, Gerr explained. The biggest players in the market are EMC, IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co. plus smaller niche vendors such as Permabit Inc., Archivas Inc. and Deepfile Corp.

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