Allies pursue new market

If the IT industry's health can be gauged by the invention of new buzz words, it's probably fitting that the latest of them -- ILM, or information lifecycle management -- springs from IT's healthiest sector, storage.

If the IT industry’s health can be gauged by the invention of new buzz words, it’s probably fitting that the latest of them –- ILM, or information lifecycle management -– springs from IT’s healthiest sector, storage.

It’s driven by the complexity of managing burgeoning stores of data, made all the more complex by regulations designed to stem corporate misbehaviour of the Enron and Tyco kind. In the US, that means the Sarbanes-Oxley law which calls for executives to vouch for the accuracy of company records.

Data backup and restore specialist Veritas did its bit for ILM in New York last week, releasing CommandCentral Service, new software for overseeing an organisation’s backup and restore services.

But Veritas doesn’t like the term ILM. The head of product operations at the California company, Mark Bregman, prefers to talk about data lifecycle management.

“The distinction is that ILM’s loudest voice is EMC,” Bregman says.

Veritas and EMC are longtime partners, EMC supplying storage arrays that are managed by Veritas software. But the relationship is being tested as EMC attempts to remake itself as a storage software company, competing with its old ally.

Gartner’s Sydney head of storage market research, Phil Sargeant, says both companies are responding to market dynamics: as EMC’s storage hardware margins shrink, it is tempted by growing software margins; Veritas is adding storage and server management products to its range as the backup and restore software market begins to level out.

Sargeant, in New York for the Veritas launch, says the relationship between the two companies has soured since they became rivals for leadership of the ILM market. Neither can be said to dominate the sector as they continue to assemble product suites.

Bregman’s definition of ILM has four parts: content creation and management; management of online content; backup management; and archiving. He says Veritas’ preference for the data lifecycle management label is that it doesn’t involve itself in content -– or information -– creation, which EMC does through its Documentum acquisition.

As well as CommandCentral Service, Veritas also launched new versions of NetBackup and Backup Exec, and software for desktop and laptop backup. Sargeant says Veritas’ challenge will be to persuade customers that it's more than a backup and storage software provider. Whether CommandCentral Service, which costs $US22,000, catches on at the size organisation typical of New Zealand, depends on productivity gains and return on investment, he says.

Doesburg travelled to New York courtesy of Veritas.

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