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EMC Cuts New Deal With USPS

The U.S. Postal Service carries 206 billion pieces of mail or other information for people across the country each year, but who helps the agency manage that glut of data?

Answer: EMC, thanks to a new five-year, $30 million contract the company signed with the USPS.

Under an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract, the Hopkinton, Mass., maker of information management systems will provide certain software applications to help the USPS improve the way it manages the Symmetrix and Clariion networked storage servers it purchased from EMC.

USPS will now use EMC ControlCenter to monitor and manage its Symmetrix and Clariion machines; EMC Centera for content addressed storage (CAS); and EMC SRDF and EMC TimeFinder to provide non-disruptive access to data.

Currently, the USPS has about 650 terabytes of EMC storage capacity to house data from its Web site, postal tracking systems, financial, human resources and retail applications. The storage systems support mainframes and servers located in USPS data centers in Eagan, Minn., and San Mateo, Calif.

Terms of the deal also call for EMC Consulting to work with USPS to conduct an infrastructure assessment and provide project management and design and implementation services.

USPS said in a statement the deal will help it bring its Enterprise Storage Platform Requirement, an initiative to build out and upgrade the USPS storage infrastructure, to fruition. It will also ensure business continuity and disaster recovery.

USPS Vice President and CTO Bob Otto said the contract will help USPS meet the increase of data from servers and mainframes.

"Not only are we experiencing 200 percent storage growth in certain operations, but our storage environment is becoming increasingly layered," said Otto.

Otto's reference to a layered storage environment is a solid validation for EMC, which has spent the last few years hawking its vision of information lifecycle management (ILM). ILM is a strategy to help customers maintain data from its inception until it is ready to be destroyed.

In ILM, data is often prioritized, meaning it is placed with varying levels of storage and retrieval policies based on the importance of the data. For example, important or frequently accessed files are usually kept in high functioning, more expensive storage in a network. Minor files may be placed with less expensive storage.

That a major government agency is upgrading its existing technology foundation is good news for vendors, such as EMC, which vies for space in corporate data centers with IBM, HP, Hitachi Data Systems and a slew of smaller storage gear providers.

The deal points to the increasing glut of data. Some of the data, such as patients' X-rays from health care providers, will likely have to be stored for many years under new federal compliance regulations, such as HIPAA.



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