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EMC Dips Into Virtual Data Pools

EMC is sprucing up its storage software that harnesses files and corralls them for long-term archival.

The information systems vendor added virtual pooling and new replication perks to its Centera content-addressed storage (CAS) system.

The pooling allows Centera to serve as a central archive that stores the fixed content of e-mail, documents and images, gathered from across an enterprise as part of an information lifecycle management (ILM) strategy.

Virtual pools in Centera will allow users to create storage pools in Centera whenever needed, allowing applications to be treated differently based on priority. EMC Centera director of product management Sean Lanagan said the new utility ensures that certain applications can't access data that other applications store.

Customers can then use Centera Seek software to find and retrieve the digital content in each of the virtual pools or in the entire Centera system. Centera Chargeback Reporter software allows internal billing for each pool based on usage.

The virtual pools are complemented by new replication features, which copy data of just the pools that the customer wants replicated, said Lanagan.

With the new technology, enterprises can install a better disaster recovery program by replicating content to three linked Centera systems that reside in different locations. A new configuration option allows replication from up to three remote or edge Centera systems back to a single Centera.

Analysts see CAS as the approach of choice for customers serious about long-term content that needs to remain unchanged until it is ready to purged from systems and destroyed. A key characteristic of CAS software is its ability to store and secure digital assets and to allow quick access to them when needed.

CAS is a key ingredient for ILM, and increasingly popular method customers employ to manage assets from cradle to grave to meet stringent compliance rules.

Rivals Permabit and Archivas also build CAS products but EMC is a first mover, having issued its first CAS component in 2002.

EMC also has the marketing clout and sales force to give them an edge over its smaller rivals, which are looking to flourish by offering different approaches to the same problem.

In related news, EMC rebranded and extended its consulting service offerings to help more global customers set up and ILM strategy. EMC Consulting and its partners will storage services via expanded practices in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region and Latin America.