Solix launches integrated data retirement stack

Solix Technologies Inc. has released a prepackaged data retirement appliance aimed at simplifying the process of migrating and storing information from legacy applications.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based data management firm said the ExAPPs software and hardware package was developed in response to increasing demand from enterprises looking to shut down scarcely accessed legacy systems. Because legacy apps are sometimes custom-built or involve non-relational databases, Solix found itself engaging in a huge consulting effort trying to “retire data” in complex, mainframe-filled IT shops.

“The appliance is best for departmental-based legacy apps, including packaged apps or custom apps, “ said Shekhar Dasgupta, president and COO at Solix.

With ExAPPs, the company is selling an entire stack of equipment.

On the hardware side, the product includes an Intel-based server, SUSE Linux operating system, and a MySQL database for archiving legacy data. The appliance also supports Oracle, DB2, Sybase, SQL Server, and Informix databases, as well as data from JD Edwards, ABaaN, PeopleSoft and Siebel apps.

Also in the package is Solix’s Secure Archive software, which will allow IT administrators to identity the application they wish to target and start a migration project.

The ExAPPs appliance will appeal to any enterprise looking to limit their packaged and custom applications on distributed systems, said Dasgupta. With many companies moving toward Oracle Corp.’s E-Business Suite or SAP Inc.’s ERP software, the need for smaller legacy ERP systems is dwindling,

Dasgupta said that storing, de-duplicating and compressing the migrated data is crucial for most companies for compliance, litigation or business reasons. He added that ExAPPs gives IT staff the ability to query and report on the legacy data they migrate, making it easily accessible in the future.

On the storage end, ExAPPs comes with five terabytes of data storage capability. While this might seem like a shortcoming, Dasgupta said that because the appliance reaches data compression rates of about 90 per cent, 10 terabytes of source data actually only translated into one terabyte of data in ExAPPs.

Jim Duggan, a research vice-president focusing on application development and legacy application issues for Gartner Research Inc., said Solix appears to be one of the first companies to attempt to productize this type of functionality.

“Typically, the alternative has been to either leave (the apps) on or dump everything off onto a LaserDisc,” he said.

In recent years, the financial crisis has crossed paths with the increasing importance of e-discovery and records retention concerns, Duggan said. This has led many companies to become much more cognizant of their idle systems, including the licensing fees and maintenance costs that go along with them.

Solix’s appliance package is interesting, he said, because it almost transforms the data retirement process into a utility.

“It’s not so much that you couldn’t do it before, but as the old joke goes, ‘it was only a simple matter of programming,’” Duggan added.

While companies that already have an expensive data warehouse will likely find little value in the Solix product, nearly every other organization running idle systems could potentially see some use, he said.

“It especially addresses a problem in a lot of government agencies, as information has to be discoverable almost indefinitely in government,” he said. 

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