Holistic Information Management Solutions

The growing pain of managing information for business advantages has led to the emergence of the
concept of Information Lifecycle Management (ILM). According to the definition provided by Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), ILM represents a set of processes and policies that intend to align business value of information to the most cost-effective IT infrastructure in order to reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and maximize Return On IT Investment (ROI) [11].

Over the past few years, major vendors in both storage and business applications such as database and content management systems are chiming in with their respective ILM visions that would manage information throughout their lifecycles to meet business goals while maximizing the IT resource utilization. Although grand and inspiring, the state-of-the-art technologies in storage and business applications have proved that such visions are far from realities. The key reasons for such gaps are obvious: In order to manage information for business advantage, a holistic solution is needed to link bits and pieces of information to appropriate business functions at proper time. Without a comprehensive means of linking business rules and activities with different pieces of information and taking data management actions according to the changing business situations, simply counting on technological advances in point products alone, e.g., business applications and storage products, are not going to work. The widening gaps among them will only lead to skyrocketing IT cost and diminishing return on IT investment.

To address these issues, we have developed a brand new approach: business-semantic-aware storage solution (BSA) for holistic information management. The brain of BSA is embedded in the business-semanticaware storage software layer residing in between the business applications and storage devices. BSA incorporates a new type of intelligence that is commonly missing in the traditional storage, yet instrumental to successful holistic information management. BSA identifies crucial business semantics hidden in business applications in form of workflow events and data classifications, links them to data management policies, and takes data management actions in accordance to business conditions for the overall business solution streamlining and global optimization. By leveraging the workflow events and data classifications, BSA is able to determine exactly what data management actions to take on what data and under what condition.

BSA plays a critical role of automating the information management activities for a wide variety of business reasons, e.g., regulatory compliance and productivity enhancements. It becomes the focal point and core component in advanced storage solutions such as compliance and ILM solutions. It bridges the gaps between business semantics and storage information management policies. Moreover, it links data, the value of data, and management of data throughout information lifecycle phases, and brings the control over information management to a new level, i.e., a holistic level.

By: Ying Chen; Shauchi Ong

Published in: RJ10351 in 2005


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