ILM has been slow to take, however, as many companies have stuck with point solutions that focus on data movement in one data sector, such as messaging. Rather than shift the conversation, EMC has responded by expanding its vision. “We start with ILM but extend that strategy to building the entire information infrastructure, an information-centric way of managing data that works across any type of data or application,” says Mark S. Lewis, executive vice president and chief development officer.
According to Lewis, information services will ultimately exist as a peer in a service-oriented architecture, which means they’ll have to be fully autonomous, self-managed, secure, and able to interact with multiple applications. ProActivity, which EMC acquired in June, adds an essential awareness of the business processes in which that information is used, which is especially valuable in crafting protection policies.
So, what happened to ILM? “Fact is, ILM is still the most important capability we can deliver to our customers,” Lewis writes in a November 2006 blog post.
Information services within an SOA is but one pillar of EMC’s four-pillar strategy. The second is information security. “Over time, you’ll see us embed security into virtually every product we sell,” says CEO Joe Tucci, who hints that there will be a number of big announcements at this year’s RSA conference Feb. 5 - 9 in San Francisco.
It’s likely that EMC will take advantage of RSA’s two-factor authentication and back-end identity management platform to create role-based access control for storage management, according to the Enterprise Strategy Group, which expects it to add identity management to Documentum and VMware (acquired in 2004). EMC will also harness RSA’s BSAFE developer platform to add solid encryption and key management to information at rest on its storage platforms and as it moves from platform to platform in ILM. In the long term, EMC also plans to harness RSA’s platform, code-named Nexus, to provide a common security infrastructure for its product lines. Another recent acquisition, Authentica, acquired this past April, adds comprehensive DRM (digital rights management) while Network Intelligence captures an audit trail across systems for compliance and incident response.
The third pillar is virtualization, which encompasses several EMC acquisitions, most notably VMware. Widely viewed as a solid company with equally solid virtualization technology, VMware also provides a path from the server world into EMC’s own core storage and virtualization offerings. “IDC studies show that those who buy server virtualization are much more likely to buy storage virtualization,” says DuBois. Or to put it more bluntly, “If you consolidate 20 physical machines on one physical server, you’ll need some hefty network storage,” says Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Bob Babineau.
EMC is playing a delicate balancing game, however, as while it has integrated all its other acquisitions it has purposely kept VMware independent in order to keep IBM, HP, and other competing solution suppliers comfortable doing business with the company. As for storage virtualization, Rainfinity supplements EMC’s SAN-based Invista platform with a server-based file virtualization capability.