IBM out-performs HP and EMC (says IBM)

Servers going well, too

IBM has reaffirmed its commitment to develop its entire range of server platforms: Intel, RISC (both Unix and Linux) and mainframe, writes Bloor Research analyst Tony Lock.

At a recent meeting in Barcelona, IBM highlighted its recent successes in the server and storage sectors. The company claims its Intel base grew more rapidly in 2003 than that of any competitor. Also, IBM says it was the only Unix server supplier to grow revenue in each quarter of last year.

In the storage arena, a market notoriously tricky to size, Big Blue announced that it had "out-performed EMC and HP in disk storage for the third year".

Data Retention 450

More interesting was the launch of the IBM TotalStorage Data Retention 450, a platform designed to store, retrieve and securely share over long periods of time 'regulated' and 'non-regulated' data.

The preconfigured solution is supplied with extensive management functionality including capabilities to handle automatic provisioning, migration, expiration and archiving. The systems are available in configurations with capacities ranging from 3.5 Terabytes to 56 Terabytes with a design based on IBM's eServer pSeries platform and SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) FAStT storage technology.

The system is provided with Tivoli Storage Manager for Data Retention software to supply the storage management capabilities. These include policy-based archive data-retention functionality to support the long-term storage of data in a format that cannot be altered or erased.

The data retention features available through an established API can be employed to protect data with no explicit retention period permitting information to be deleted until a specific 'trigger' event takes place. The system also handles data with specific retention periods defined in line with user-defined criteria. It is clear that a pre-configured solution such as the Data Retention 450 has the potential to be deployed in many business scenarios, especially when coupled with enterprise content management tools.

The Data Retention 450 will enter a market that is dominated mostly by complex self-assembled solutions. It will be compared with EMC's Centera, which is targeted at the Content Addressed Storage (CAS) market.

IBM's new offering and its continuing development of sophisticated data visualisation systems and storage management software will ensure that competition in the storage space will remain robust during the foreseeable future. Organisations have much to consider when they assess their storage infrastructure requirements and the increasingly complex, and often contradictory, requirements of regulatory compliance should ensure that data retention solutions receive significant attention.

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