NetApp and EMC unveil data classification tools

The new releases will allow users to better manage data according to US government regulations, the vendors say

EMC has released Infoscape, a software package it says can help users manage unstructured files. The new tool can help users to comply with US government regulations like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, says EMC.

The Windows-based Infoscape discovers files using Microsoft Active Directory and LDAP directories, and then collects metadata about the files, says George Symons, EMC’s CTO of information management. The tool then uses packaged or user-developed taxonomies to classify the data and manage it, he says.

In June, EMC chief executive Joe Tucci revealed plans to build a tool that can classify unstructured data.

Dan Wells, vice president of operations at USA.Net, a provider of email outsourcing services, says he’s interested in evaluating the product’s ability to discover information on file servers and other systems that aren’t tied to EMC storage.

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

EMC has also announced a service offering to help organisations implement Infoscape.

Network Appliance has also been active recently, announcing a new data assessment service that also aims 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, says Chris Cummings, the company’s senior director of data protection and retention.

NetApp licences the new software and the IS1200 appliance from Kazeon Systems. 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 write-once read-many disks, which are required by some Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

Brian Babineau, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, says 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, says Mike Fisch, an analyst for The Clipper Group.

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