Instant Insight

January 26, 2004





EMC Announces Information Lifecycle Service Portfolio

By Charles King

EMC has announced a set of new storage services designed to help customers plan, build, and manage an integrated information technology infrastructure. According to the company, the new services can help EMC clients cost-effectively manage and protect their business information by reducing risk and operational costs, achieving compliance, and improving availability. The new services, which will be delivered by EMC’s Technology Solutions group, are intended to accelerate the implementation of information lifecycle management (ILM).

The new offerings include:

    ILM Workshops: Free workshops, conducted at customer sites or at EMC, help customers understand the basics of storage infrastructures that enable management of information from creation through archiving or disposal.

    ILM Assessment Services: Help customers validate potential benefits of ILM solutions. Assessments are designed to be completed in four to six weeks and result in an individually designed ILM roadmap. The services include:

        Application Alignment: Evaluate a customer’s applications and data, along with supporting technology and service levels.

        Recoverability Assessment: Identify risks and exposures to mission-critical applications.

        Operations Assessment: Consider storage management policy, evaluate process and organizational gaps, and define a plan for operational improvement via ILM solutions.

        Infrastructure Assessment: Identify areas for potential cost savings via ILM-based storage consolidation and tiered architecture.

    Storage Managed Services provide fixed-term, service level-driven, on-site EMC storage management options to help customers achieve ILM. 

EMC identified PETCO, a specialty retailer of pet food, supplies, and services with more than 650 stores as a client that has used EMC’s ILM service model to create and implement a tiered storage strategy aimed at improving operational efficiency while integrating with the company’s disaster recovery infrastructure. Using EMC’s ILM roadmap as a guide, PETCO is implementing an advanced ILM infrastructure based on multiple tiers of EMC networked storage solutions and EMC open management and business continuity software.



ILM has lately been the storage buzzword du jour, and most all storage vendors and their systems vendor brethren are offering some kind of ILM solution or another. Indeed, the concept underlying ILM is sound; that the relative value of business information changes over time, so deploying that information on storage solutions appropriate to its relative value can save customers money and effort over time. But like many other buzzwords, ILM suffers from a lack of clarity on exactly what practical means are required for enterprise customers to achieve an effective ILM end.

Which is why we find EMC’s new expanded services portfolio intriguing. By creating service offerings specifically aimed at evaluating storage environments and identifying appropriate ILM solutions, EMC has essentially created a mobile classroom it can use to instruct enterprise audiences on the value of its strategic ILM product set. While critics are likely to suggest that such a model will lean inevitably toward defining the ILM world according to EMC’s interests, we would reply that this is simply product marketing in its simplest and most effective form. By schooling customers in ILM 101, EMC is building a foundation that will support and inform their future strategic and buying decisions.

That said, we do not expect EMC’s mobile ILM classroom to travel without hitting a few pot holes along the way. To work effectively, ILM requires a holistic approach to enterprise storage that is beyond the technical and financial grasp of many organizations. In addition, while we believe ILM solutions can enable storage efficiencies and result in financial benefits, those savings are likely to be incremental in nature as opposed to the big ticket, short term benefits most businesses love best.

Overall, we expect that EMC’s new ILM service offerings are likely to appeal most to enterprise customers who are willing and able to take the long view of their storage strategies and expenditures. Many if not most of the companies willing to take the time and effort to enlist EMC’s assistance in evaluating their storage infrastructures are likely to see potential benefits from deploying ILM solutions. If those numbers are sizeable, we expect other storage vendors will hit the pavement in their own mobile ILM classrooms. In the meantime, EMC is enjoying the open road and might even avoid future traffic jams.



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