Aptare Takes Aim at Unstructured Data with File Analytics

Posted on December 07, 2011 By Thor Olavsrud

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Unstructured data comprises a large and growing percentage of enterprise data, creating information management, policy enforcement and risk mitigation challenges. Enterprise storage resource management specialist Aptare Tuesday unveiled StorageConsole File Analytics, a product it said can bring that problem under control by changing the way unstructured data is discovered, captured, profiled and analyzed.

"This product really tames the beast of big data," said Rick Clark, president and chief executive officer of Campbell, Calif.-based Aptare. "It grants visibility and control over unstructured data."

He added, "According to IDC, unstructured data accounts for 90 percent of enterprise data, and its growth is accelerating. Managing unstructured data is critical to reducing storage and compliance costs and minimizing corporate risk. This task has been painfully difficult due to the time, resources, and overhead required to collect the immense volume of metadata and digest into actionable business intelligence. With File Analytics, our customers can quickly and easily glean analytics and trending across their global unstructured data footprint. This type of near real-time instrumentation has never before been available in a low-cost footprint and fully integrated with data management technologies deployed within the enterprise."

StorageConsole File Analytics uses high-velocity, agentless data collectors that Clark said were designed to create minimal impact on the underlying infrastructure. The collectors profile the global storage environment and feed the metadata into Aptare's purpose-built database, Bantam, a proprietary compressed database with a "microscopic" footprint, according to Clark. He said Bantam can store more than 100 million records in less than 1.5 GB and uses its own specialized query language that Aptare calls BQL.

"You can fit a billion records on a thumb drive," Clark said of the Bantam technology. "We felt it was necessary to build a data store from the ground up, crafted specifically for this purpose."

Once in the database, it can be properly analyzed for insight into file usage, categorization and trending. IT departments can also use the technology to automate the process of identifying and removing redundant files and non-business related files, while infrequently accessed files can be moved to a more economical storage tier.

Clark also noted that File Analytics could significantly streamline the process of identifying an organization's digital assets during first-pass e-discovery. He pointed to an energy company based in the United Kingdom that went through the grueling effort of profiling all of the Outlook PST files on its network several weeks before evaluating File Analytics.

"They went through an exercise where their upper management wanted to know how many Outlook PST files were out there, where they were and how much storage they were consuming," he said. "It took a team of two employees more than two weeks to gather this information and pull it all together for their senior management."

Clark said the manager responsible for evaluating File Analytics was convinced it could have done the same analysis in minutes out of the box.

"File Analytics' ability to provide detailed profiling of unstructured data helps to ensure Aptare customers can amass meaningful and actionable information across NAS volumes and file servers," said Eric Sheppard, research director at IDC. "This information can be used for policy enforcement, risk mitigation, storage tiering and reclamation, which positions Aptare to play an important role in helping organizations better understand, manage and optimize their storage environments."

Clark said StorageConsole Analytics is generally available through all Aptare's distribution channels and is priced per used terabyte. It is available via both subscription and perpetual licensing.

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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