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Sat 2 Jun 2007 09:53 PM

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What’s in store?

The need for a scalable infrastructure to cope with electronic data management should now be a priority for the discerning CIO.

IDC expects, by 2011, the hard disk drive (HDD) industry will more than quadruple the total HDD capacity shipped in 2006 to meet the growing storage requirements of an expanding digital universe. The analyst also predicts worldwide HDD unit shipments will increase to 675 million units in 2011, while revenue will rise to approximately US$37 billion.

"The expanding digital universe creates a tremendous opportunity for HDD storage used in PCs, enterprise systems, and personal storage devices," says John Rydning, research manager for IDC's hard disk drives programme. "Despite challenges from competing storage technologies and volatile consumer electronic markets, there is a fundamental need for additional storage capacity worldwide and this will continue to generate solid HDD demand."

According to IDC, as the HDD industry looks ahead to further growth, it needs to remain vigilant to several emerging trends and realities that include a growth in adoption by enterprise storage customers of both small form factor HDDs to optimise performance and power as well as high capacity desktop-class HDDs to optimise capacity and power.

The analyst also outlines that information protection and control (IPC) solutions will be a major area of investment over the next five years, due to their key role in protecting sensitive information and complying with privacy regulations. It is expected that the IPC market will pass the US$3 billion mark in 2011.

"Information has become the world's new currency," said Brian Burke, research manager for IDC's Security Products programme. "The growing number of high-profile incidents in which customer records, confidential information, and intellectual property were leaked, has created an explosive demand for solutions that protect against the deliberate or inadvertent release of sensitive information."

With the worldwide storage market posting consistent growth since June 2006, the provision of a scalable storage system to manage the flow of electronic data should be a pressing issue for companies as they address their electronic content management systems (ECM). Statistics point towards continued growth in the storage sector and analysts expect there to be a move towards data replication and integration between storage and server platforms.

"Storage has become an essential part of any business, from the SME to the large enterprise, to store and protect data. At the rate data accumulation is accelerating, the need for efficient, cost-effective storage solutions is paramount. Storage is evolving into a strategic function of the data centre. An intelligent, virtual storage environment that works with virtual servers will enable the fully virtualised data centre, which is where evolution is taking us," says Paul Klinkby-Silver, VP Europe for Equallogic.

"There is no question that the virtual data centre is evolving as more IT managers demand that their data centre systems be completely integrated and automated. This is a positive development for customers and vendors. The paradigm shift towards simplicity, integration, and automation has enormous operational benefits to customers and presents a compelling business opportunity for those storage system designers creative enough to engage with it," he says.

According to a 2005 report by Forrester Research, the transactional content management segment of the ECM market is expected to represent approximately $2 billion of the approximate $3.9 billion ECM market in 2008. At its recent Orlando conference, EMC, a storage software provider, outlined cost control and business process management (BPM) as some of the important factors businesses should look at when analysing their storage systems.

"The need to control costs, consolidate IT infrastructure, and manage content with the same discipline as enterprise data leads many IT decision makers to demand a core set of capabilities to capture, manage and store enterprise content," explains Connie Moore, VP and research director at Forrester. "Organisations that process transactional content often require not only strong document imaging, enterprise report management and records management, but also need BPM to orchestrate the process."

"The future of content management is no longer just about securing, accessing and storing content," explains Balaji Yelamanchili, EMC's senior VP and general manager of content management. "It is about driving new levels of collaboration and knowledge management through deriving more intelligence and context with information. It is also about managing all types of business processes and allowing connections to be made within and across a number of different business environments."

Extending their strategic alliance, Cisco and RSA, the security division of EMC, announced they are working together to develop technology that will help customers improve and simplify the encryption of confidential information - such as medical records, social security and credit card numbers. These technologies will help customers encrypt data-at-rest on tapes and other types of storage media and manage the associated encryption keys within the storage area network infrastructure, a process that is less invasive, more secure and easier to manage.

The planned Cisco and RSA technology will include Cisco Storage Media Encryption, which provides encryption of data-at-rest as a fabric service, and RSA Key Manager, a centralised solution for encryption key lifecycle management. Together, they aim provide mutual customers with a highly secure, scaleable technology capable of managing both encrypted media and their keys. This Storage Media Encryption technology will enable customers to meet various regulatory and privacy requirements by helping to ensure that confidential information is not compromised if a storage tape or disk is lost or stolen. The impending technology will also support an open API (application programming interface) for key management, giving customers the flexibility to deploy stored, encrypted data solutions that best meet their operational needs.

"Security threats are no longer confined to companies with backup tapes stored at an off-site facility. Now companies of all sizes are exploring encryption because of the real threat of losing data or having it stolen," said Rajeev Bhardwaj, director of product management, data centre business unit at Cisco. "By combining RSA's enterprise encryption key management with Cisco high performance Storage Media Encryption technology, we are providing our mutual customers a simpler way to protect data stored across the storage area network."

David Donatelli, EMC's executive VP of storage product operations, says: "Backup has been a long-term challenge for customers and is one issue we hear about consistently, regardless of their size, industry or budget. It is even more challenging for them in the face of 60% annual information growth. The amount of information customers have to regularly back up can be up to five times that when you factor in duplicate copies. Customers are struggling to meet recovery point and recovery time objectives while making the backup process as efficient as possible."

At the rate data accumulation is accelerating, the need for efficient, cost-effective storage solutions is growing along with the data. Storage is evolving into a strategic function of the data centre, rather than a mere repository of information. An intelligent, virtual storage environment that works with virtual servers will enable the fully virtualised data centre, which is where evolution is taking us.

According to Klinkby-Silver, as a result of data growth - and various new data types - companies have been forced to alter their approach to lifecycle management and have take it at business value to meet their demands.

"At more than 65% growth per year, data growth rates show no sign of slowing - indeed, the overall quantity of data stored in electronic format is estimated to be doubling at a rate of less than every six months - and the increase in usage of new data types (particularly voice and video) is stressing many organisations' approach to information storage and management. Data retention laws mean that it is increasingly difficult for an organisation to minimise the amount of data and information that it stores; yet the business demands that the information required for decision-making is easily and rapidly available.

"Corporate data growth, driven by internal and legal compliance needs, remains a major concern. This has driven organisations to look at information storage and lifecycle management from a business point of view, rather than a technical one," he concludes.

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