Taking information management from a manual to an automated process is high on the list of priorities this year for Kichler Lighting, a 65-year-old private decorative lighting and fixture company. The idea of being able to migrate data from primary to secondary storage devices based on factors such as its age or how critical it is to the business is a goal advocated by both content-management and storage vendors, including EMC Corp., which last year acquired Documentum Inc.
EMC says it aims to create an "uber-repository," essentially an intelligent storage area network that's application-aware so content-management software can drive storage policy. But Kichler Lighting, which uses an EMC Clariion storage-network system that supports both high-performing Fibre Channel and lower-cost ATA hard-disk drives, isn't waiting for that to get going on its own automated data life-cycle management plans. The Clariion system adds flexibility to Kichler's storage environment, making it easier to add capacity, says Mike Sink, IT operations manager at Kichler. But it's software from OuterBay Technologies Inc. that Kichler plans to use to automate the process of managing information from creation to deletion.
"We already use ILM principles in how we handle storage," Sink says. Now automated archiving can improve that process. This year Kichler is rolling out software from OuterBay to automate archiving of data from both its PeopleSoft Inc. and Oracle applications. OuterBay interfaces directly with the enterprise software to take information that's been stored on expensive hard disks past a certain amount of time and moves it to lower-cost hard-disk or tape storage. "We work with a manual process now, and it's cumbersome to reproduce each process," Sink says. "With OuterBay we expect to use processes over and over, and archiving should help us sustain a steady level of database performance for our workers." Orders that take about two minutes to process now are expected to take a second or two, once old data migrates off the primary storage medium. If this project succeeds as planned, Kichler could improve costs, order processing, and customer service, Sink says.
An industry analyst says business-technology buyers this year will accomplish at least some rudimentary information life-cycle management steps. "Tiered storage is only one ILM component out of three," says Mike Fisch, an analyst at the Clipper Group. "Second is the ability to classify data automatically based on policy, and third is nondisruptive data movement between media sources when apps fall in value."