EMC, NetApp Unveil Data Classification Tools

Can help users comply with government regulations, vendors say

EMC Corp. this week brought out software that it said can help users manage unstructured files. The new tool can help users in efforts to comply with government regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountabiliyt Act, according to the company.

EMC's Windows-based Infoscape software discovers files using Microsoft Active Directory and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol directories and then collects metadata about the files, said George Symons, chief technology officer of information management at the Hopkinton, Mass., storage vendor. The tool then uses packaged or user-developed taxonomies to classify the data and manage it, Symons said.

Joe Tucci, EMC's CEO, had revealed plans to build a tool that can classify unstructured data in a presentation to analysts on June 7 in New York.

Dan Wells, vice president of operations at USA.Net Inc., a Colorado Springs-based provider of e-mail outsourcing services, said that he is interested in evaluating the product's ability to discover information on file servers and other systems that aren't tied to EMC storage.

Symons said EMC expects to add support for semi-structured files such as e-mail, as well as the ability to encrypt and move files into content management systems in future Infoscape versions.

EMC last week also announced a service offering to help organizations implement Infoscape.

Earlier this month, Network Appliance Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif., announced a data-assessment service intended to help IT operations comply with various regulations.

The new NetApp services came out about a month after the company released two software modules for its Information Server 1200 (IS1200) data-classification hardware appliance, which searches for information and classifies it, said Chris Cummings, senior director of data protection and retention.

NetApp licenses the software and the IS1200 appliance from Kazeon Systems Inc. The new Netapp Transparent Migration Manager software can be used to migrate data to different storage tiers based on user-defined policies. The new NetApp Retention Manager can be used to burn data to WORM (write once, read many) disks, which are required by some Security and Exchange Commission regulations.

Brian Babineau, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass., said the new EMC and NetApp offerings come as users seek help in classifying data and complying with regulations.

The big leap forward with the EMC Infoscape product is its ability to index files based on content rather than simply managing them by factors such as the file name, type or when it was created, said Mike Fisch, a Boise, Idaho, analyst at The Clipper Group Inc. in Wellesley, Mass.

EMC Infoscape will be available next month, starting at $214,000 for a 10TB configuration. The EMC Information Management Strategy Service is available now.

The NetApp IS1200 starts at $30,000 per module, and the NetApp data-assessment service is available now.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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