Storage and ECM converging

By Dave Simpson

Once considered separate disciplines within IT organizations, enterprise content management (ECM) and storage management are converging. According to Dave McCann, senior vice president of products at FileNet, the reason for this can be summed up in one word: compliance.

“With the arrival of compliance pressure on CIOs, the once-separate universes of storage and ECM are being forced together,” says McCann. “Compliance is forcing the storage geeks and ECM geeks-who never used to talk to each other-to come together.”

As a result, FileNet-and other document management vendors-have recently initiated or tightened their partnerships with storage market leaders. In the case of FileNet, that includes EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, Network Appliance, and Sun.

“The storage vendors need ECM software vendors because they need partners with metadata models that rise far higher up the data model than ILM [information life-cycle management],” says McCann.

For example, FileNet has teamed with Network Appliance on a variety of interoperability and performance benchmark programs, including Content Object Benchmark testing of the NetApp FAS940 filers with FileNet’s P8 Content Engine, the content catalog services and repository module that underlies the company’s flagship P8 ECM suite. In addition, with the 3.5 release of the P8 platform, FileNet now supports NetApp’s SnapLock compliance software and write-once, read-many (WORM) storage.

With Hitachi Data Systems, FileNet announced an integrated product that combines Hitachi’s disk arrays and Data Retention Utility software with the 3.5 release of FileNet’s P8 ECM platform, which includes the Content Manager, Email Manager, Records Manager, and Image Manager modules.

Similarly, ECM vendor Interwoven recently announced integration partnerships with EMC, Network Appliance, and Sun. For example, Interwoven has integrated its Collaborative Document Management system and WorkSite MP software with EMC’s Centera content-addressed storage (CAS) and WORM platform.

Besides extending its partnerships with storage vendors, FileNet added storage-specific functionality in the 3.5 release of its P8 ECM platform. The Active Storage and Retrieval (ASAR) services represents FileNet’s foray into the ILM space, which FileNet sometimes refers to as content life-cycle management.

In addition to providing integration links to major storage platforms, ASAR enables IT administrators to map storage devices using policy-based management of content based on the overall value and context of the content, which is derived from a number of factors such as type of content, age, associated business processes, content state, as well as compliance requirements.

“When we capture documents into our repository, you can classify documents into many classes,” McCann explains, “and the latest version of P8 allows you to associate the document class with a Storage Policy Object, which in turn, enables you to link document classes with storage policies.

“We’re treading into what the storage vendors call ILM,” adds McCann. Essentially, ASAR software provides the data movement layer of ILM, enabling migration of content to different storage tiers.

This article was originally published on August 01, 2005