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In the next round of the ongoing battle for ILM (information lifecycle management) supremacy, Hewlett-Packard Co. has enhanced a series of products designed to help organizations better understand and classify data in an automated fashion.

The improvements focus on discovering and classifying data in storage tiers and then moving that data into appropriate storage—either disk, tape or optical storage—based on its importance, how accessible it must be, frequency of use and relevancy.

StorageWorks Data Protector version 5.5, the company’s enterprise data protection and disaster recovery product, has more than 200 new features including advanced backup to disk and media management as well as backup mirroring. Objects to disk are now backed up in such a way that they can easily be moved to tape and restored to disk, allowing organizations to perform backup and restore simultaneously, said Rick Luttrall, chief technology strategist in HP’s Nearline Storage division.

HP’s StorageWorks Modular Smart Array 1500 cs, a high-capacity tiered storage solution, now allows organizations to segment data between different classes of storage according to their performance and reliability requirements within a single MSA product. This is because it supports both iSCSI and Serial ATA disk enclosures behind a single controller shelf, according to Frank Harbist, HP’s vice president for storage, software and ILM.

The newest generation of the StorageWorks Ultrium tape drive, the 960, provides Ultrium-based WORM capability and doubles the capacity and transfer rate of HP’s second-generation product. The product also has backward read-and-write capability with HP’s first and second generations of tape.

HP also introduced an entry-level table-top or rack-mounted version of its StorageWorks Optical 700 and 1100 jukeboxes that provides long-term, archival storage of electronic records and data.

Click here to read about HP’s StorageWorks grid architecture strategy.

The enhancements to HP’s existing products are a natural step in the evolution of the company’s ILM strategy, said Dianne McAdam, senior analyst at Data Mobility Group of Nashua, N.H.

Like every vendor pursuing an ILM strategy, HP had some gaps in its ILM product line. With these enhancements, HP is attempting to address those gaps, she said. The LTO tape enhancement, for example, plays into the ILM space because organizations can use tape for deep archiving or backup, while its optical jukebox announcement helps with archiving and WORM support, she noted.

HP continues to be a strong contender in the growing ILM space, with an offering in each major category required for full ILM functionality. Those products and these significant enhancements keep them in full competition with such ILM vendors as IBM and EMC Corp., McAdam said.

HP’s announcements may put them temporarily ahead of the pack, but the ILM race continues.

“Any one vendor might have one product that is ahead of the others at any point in time, but the next guy will eventually come out with a product that is faster or has more capacity or better management software,” McAdam said. “They are all just playing catch-up with each other.”

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