EMC taps database archiving tool

EMC taps database archiving tool

In a bid to shore up a key piece of its information life-cycle management (ILM) strategy, EMC Monday will announce a software partnership aimed at letting IT managers reduce the size of databases by moving old data to other storage devices.

"I think it fills a hole in our ILM strategy, and it's one of the few holes we have left," said Mark Sorenson, EMC's senior vice president of information access and recovery software. He added that the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage vendor plans to introduce its first full ILM product suite in next year's first quarter.

Earlier this year, EMC agreed to buy both Legato Software Inc. and Documentum Inc. as part of its effort to cobble together an integrated set of tools for managing the entire life cycle of data. But Sorenson said EMC will rely on third-party vendors such as OuterBay Technologies Inc. in Campbell, Calif., to sell users database archiving software.

OuterBay's LiveArchive tool can identify inactive information in databases and relocate the data within the same disk array or move it to less-expensive storage, based on policies set by users. Although the agreement being announced today isn't mutually exclusive, EMC said OuterBay will be its "preferred vendor" for database archiving software.

LiveArchive is being integrated with EMC's ControlCenter storage management tools as part of the deal, the two companies said.

Lois Hughes, senior manager of business applications systems at Tektronix Inc., said the Beaverton, Ore.-based maker of test and measurement equipment was one of the first users to install LiveArchive when it was released last year. Tektronix has used the archiving software to reduce the size of an Oracle transaction-processing database by 56 percent and has reaped a 42 percent increase in I/O performance as a result, she said.

LiveArchive uses data age policies set by Tektronix's IT staff to purge old transactions from the Oracle database, which runs on a Sun Solaris server. The software then adds the historical records to a copy of the production environment that's stored in a separate database for audit and reporting uses, Hughes said.

"The beauty of it is that it maintains your transaction integrity, and there's no user training needed because your archive environment looks exactly like your production environment," she said.

Carolyn DiCenzo, an analyst at Gartner Inc., said the OuterBay deal won't turn EMC into an ILM software and services vendor overnight. But it shows that EMC executives "understand the pieces they need and that they are working to incorporate that into their design," DiCenzo said.

In a related matter, Dell's top storage executive said during a conference call with EMC officials that the two companies likely will look into bundling their hardware and software products to create packaged ILM offerings.

"We believe ILM is the way customers want to go," said Darren Thomas, Dell's general manager of storage. Dell resells EMC's Clariion line of midrange disk arrays under a 2-year-old deal that has produced more than 7,000 installations thus far, according to the two companies.

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