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Unstructured data creates integrator opportunities

Unstructured data can be difficult to sort through if stored data needs to be produced for legal, regulatory or other reasons. Structuring data helps keep data secure and retrievable with ediscovery.

In data storage management best practices, one of the first tasks in creating a plan for managing and growing storage in a cost-effective manner is to understand the information contained on the data storage media. This is especially difficult with unstructured data, or data that is not part of a single business application. Some questions about the data that need to be answered include:

  • Is the information critical to my business?
  • Are there unnecessary copies of data wasting storage space?
  • What information is required by law to keep and for how long?
  • Is the unstructured data properly secured?
  • Is the business compliant with regulations pertaining to their industry?

Most companies do not know where to begin to answer these questions which creates an opportunity for storage channel partners to offer information assessment and management services to customers as part of an integrated storage solution.

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How do storage channel companies integrate this type of service into their portfolio? They partner with a company like Kazeon Systems. Kazeon Systems was founded in 2003 and have been shipping software products since late-2005. The Kazeon Information Server solutions provide fast and efficient electronic discovery (eDiscovery), data privacy and security screening and management, and information management and migration capabilities to their customers.

Another option is to partner with a company around just one of the areas customers need solutions like eDiscovery. Autonomy is such a company. Autonomy was founded in 1996 around the concept of "Meaning Based Computing." This is the ability to extract meaning and context from unstructured information. It is said that the best defense is a good offense. eDiscovery tools will help businesses understand and mitigate any possible risk.

A partnership with a data and security risk assessment company, like Kazeon or Autonomy, enables a comprehensive integration services portfolio for storage channel vendors, thereby providing added value to their customers.

About the author: Anne Skamarock has over 20 years of technical, marketing, research, analysis and consulting experience, as an end user/administrator, vendor and industry analyst. Since 1995 she has concentrated on systems, storage, networked storage and storage management . A frequent speaker at conferences, she was also chair of Networld+Interop's Network Storage Track. Anne's expertise covers a broad range including enterprise management software, data protection, storage networking architectures, virtualization technologies and tape and disk storage systems. In addition to having written a regular column on storage for Network World, Anne is also co-author of the book Blade Servers and Virtualization: Transforming Enterprise Computing While Cutting Costs.

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