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EMC Pads ILM Play

EMC on Monday shored up its management software for databases with DatabaseXtender, a software suite to monitor database use, and a joint solution with Oracle to preserve inactive database records.

The Hopkinton, Mass., storage vendor also used Oracle's AppsWorld show in San Diego to unveil services to educate customers about information lifecycle management (ILM) and help them use it for cradle-to-grave data management.

EMC has been preparing a number of products to support its ILM strategy for managing data, with the help of its Documentum content management or Legato archiving software acquisitions.

EMC still competes with IBM, HP and Hitachi in the high-end of the market, but now takes a software-centric approach, using services to support its new products, such as DatabaseXtender.

DatabaseXtender, created as a result of EMC's partnership with application data management specialist OuterBay, helps businesses boost their database performance by gauging database use and shifting inactive data to other storage tiers as its value and requirements change. This automated reallocation is consistent with utility computing techniques, a focus EMC appears to be gradually working toward.

Helping businesses get a better grip on 'structured data,' such as XML, in a database is crucial because analysts say the amount of data more than doubles every year. ILM, with DatabaseXtender as the core technology, helps businesses corral their data. DatabaseXtender also works with disparate storage infrastructures.

EMC executive vice president of open software Mark Lewis said such a product is necessary because the value of data changes as time goes on. "Most database environments today are filled with inactive or historical data that no longer has the same service level requirements it did when first created," Lewis said in a statement.

DatabaseXtender consists of components, which may be purchased together or separately, that treat different aspects of ILM: Analyzer monitors database applications; Optimizer relocates inactive data from the production database and storage system to a secondary database and storage system; Archiver saves data from the production database and stores it on content addressed storage (CAS) or tape; and Subsetter generates copies of the production database for data mining and reporting.

DatabaseXtender Analyzer, Optimizer and Subsetter are available immediately, with Archiver slated for mid-2004.

EMC also paired with long-time partner Oracle to use DatabaseXtender to help Oracle customers migrate inactive database records onto EMC storage systems to reduce costs and improve application and database performance.

DatabaseXtender Accelerator for Oracle E-Business Suite combines DatabaseXtender with joint services from EMC and Oracle to relocate dormant Oracle data from production systems to EMC storage platforms.

Service professionals from EMC and Oracle will gauge customer data to decide which records must be archived, according to corporate compliance regulations. Once complete, the archived data remains online and accessible through the Oracle application.

EMC DatabaseXtender Accelerator for Oracle E-Business Suite is expected to be available in North America on Feb. 17 and worldwide later this year. Allies since 1995, EMC and Oracle have over 25,000 mutual installations and a Joint Service Center to ensure fast problem resolution for their shared customers.

The company also announced assessment services to help customers tailor their infrastructure to ILM. The services, unveiled under the aegis of the Technology Solutions Group, perhaps best represent how EMC is trying to change its position as a storage array hardware leader to a dependable provider of software for storing, retrieving and managing content.

EMC has made cost-effectiveness the focal point of its ILM message, telling customers that its content repository technology will pare operational costs while helping businesses adhere to stringent compliance guidelines.

EMC's ILM assessment services help customers determine the benefits of ILM. The services include: application alignment to stack the a customer's applications and data with the right technology and service levels; recoverability assessment to discuss risks and exposures to applications; operations assessment to identify storage management policy; infrastructure assessment to realize cost savings via consolidation; and managed services to provide customers with storage management.