October 26, 2007
EMC has announced the integration of data de-duplication and continuous data protection (CDP) technologies into its backup and recovery functionality provided by EMC NetWorker. With this announcement, EMC has extended the NetWorker core infrastructure by the inclusion of the Avamar and RecoverPoint technologies. The combination of Avamar’s de-duplication with NetWorker helps customers reduce the amount of file system data to backup while maintaining a common management interface and backup workflow. Avamar technology is integrated directly into the NetWorker client. Users can manage scheduling, policy creation such as browse and retention, and monitoring and reporting through the NetWorker Management Console. The integration of RecoverPoint with NetWorker allows customers to manage RecoverPoint through the NetWorker Management Console interface and create point-in-time CDP snapshots for rapid recoveries and long-term backup to disk or tape.
The company also announced that the EMC Disk Library DL4000, an open systems virtual tape library, now supports RAID 6 protection and new 1TB disk drives. In addition, the CLARiiON CX series and Celerra IP storage systems now support 1TB disks as well. Further, EMC Backup Advisor, a customizable backup reporting, alerting, monitoring, and correlation analysis tool for EMC NetWorker, now supports CommVault Galaxy, CA ArcServ, Symantec PureDisk, and Network Appliance NearStore VTL, as well as the new EMC Disk Library 4000 models to identify and analyze backup issues and help customers with optimization and planning. New security capabilities in the software include Microsoft Windows authentication for Microsoft SQL Server, a full audit trail of all configuration changes, encrypted communications, user authentication, expanded role-based permissions. and SSL authentication. The latest EMC NetWorker will be available in December, EMC Disk Library family support of RAID 6 and 1TB disk drives will be available in November, and EMC Backup Advisor will be available in December.
As data management continues to grow in importance for organizations, so does the implicit demand for more sophisticated, feature-rich solutions that can bring together formerly discrete functionality into a cohesive, unified offering. We believe this latest update to NetWorker is another example of this in action. As we have said before, the value of de-duplication as afforded by Avamar technology is considerable especially as the amount of data being stored by organizations increases. This is further compounded as said data ages and is often passed among many hands resulting in multiple copies distributed across the organization and its datastores. To our way of thinking, pairing de-duplication with the ability to easily create and manage recovery points yields a clever capability that should help organizations tackle the complexity of ensuring recovery points while minimizing the amount of data being transmitted in the process.
The enhancements to the Disk Library DL4000 are interesting as they offer improved reliability through RAID 6 support but also further improve the price/performance characteristics of the solution in light of the traditional tape backup solutions with which it competes. It was not that long ago that the market was amazed by the price/performance of 250GB and then 500GB drives. Yet, today we see 1TB in the same form factor with ongoing downward pressure on cost/GB of capacity. This bodes well for the DL4000 and solutions like it as the premium for disk vs. tape storage continues to decrease and the inherent value of disk based storage as a backup and/or archive becomes more apparent.
With both of these announcements, we see more examples of the increasing value of EMC’s expanding software portfolio, its ongoing commitment to enhancing its hardware offerings, and its creative blending of multiple technology assets to create customer value as well as raise the competitive bar for storage solutions.
Citrix Systems has announced SmartAuditor, a new feature of Citrix Presentation Server that helps enterprise customers monitor, record, and play back specific application sessions as part of their ongoing risk management and regulatory compliance measures. By incorporating user activity auditing as a core property of a company's existing application delivery infrastructure, SmartAuditor allows customers to demonstrate that employees are meeting established guidelines for information access, transaction integrity, and intellectual property protection. Using SmartAuditor, customers can set policies to record specific application sessions based on a user's role, the application being accessed, or the sensitivity of the application transaction. SmartAuditor captures screen activity from a user's computer and stores it in a small, digitally-signed, time-stamped video file that can later be analyzed and logged. SmartAuditor records only relevant user sessions, as differentiated from add-on auditing solutions, which often have large storage requirements and can be unwieldy to analyze during an audit.
Many organizations are employing Citrix Presentation Server because it centralizes Windows applications and runs them from the datacenter rather than on outlying PCs. This model inherently provides better control, and can reduce overall IT expenses employing the thin client architecture. The tighter control engendered in centralization offers many advantages in highly regulated environments and where there is a need to protect sensitive information. Organizations that store personal information about their customers, especially credit card information, are learning the hard way that it is incumbent on them to maintain very high levels of security around this data or risk data breaches and running afoul of disclosure laws found in many states.
A perhaps unintended benefit of the monitor, record, and play back capability may be its use in electronic discovery and subsequent presentation to judges and juries who determine the facts in a litigation. Electronically stored information is at the heart of most complex civil litigations. The “trier of fact” (either judge or jury) is often subjected to a barrage of complex evidence, and an exhibit that demonstrates exactly what happened in a particular transaction is more likely to hold the attention of the judge or jury and therefore get the information across more effectively than mere reports. The blurring of work and personal times combined with rising energy costs and debilitating commutes will, in our view, also contribute to accelerated adoption of thin client architecture over the next several years and it appears likely that Citrix will reap many of these benefits.
The Green Grid, a non-profit consortium dedicated to advancing energy efficiency in data centers and business computing ecosystems, has announced the completion of three key deliverables from its Technical Committee. In the Qualitative Analysis of Power Distribution Configurations for Data Centers, The Green Grid identifies seven high-level configurations for power distribution in the data center and reviews the advantages and disadvantages of each of these power distribution configurations. The Existing Data Center Energy Efficiency Metrics white paper examines metrics that are focused on energy efficiency in data centers and related IT equipment. The Green Grid plans to use this research to determine which areas are being addressed and which have the greatest need for energy efficiency metrics. The updated version of the Data Center Efficiency Metrics white paper refines the metrics introduced by The Green Grid in February 2007 by highlighting infrastructure efficiency. In addition, The Green Grid expects the Power Usage Effectiveness and Datacenter Efficiency metrics to be adopted by the industry overall. Separately, The Green Grid has announced it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Information Technology Industry Council, a public policy advocacy for high-tech companies, to help align the two organizations’ positions and affirm the respective and distinct role each organization is playing to help the IT industry address the demand for energy efficiency.
The greening of the datacenter has been the subject of much spilled ink as of late; however, despite the verbiage afforded the topic, there are still few standardized methods by which to measure the overall efficiency of the datacenter. As a result, the industry as whole continues to talk a lot about efficiency, but organizations have little truly actionable data and metrics by which to measure their lot. These recent technical deliverables are important as they provide the basis for organizations to begun to measure and assess their overall energy efficiency in a standardized fashion. As more organizations become fluent in these metrics and begin to speak openly about their experiences, we believe the industry can achieve the virtuous circle whereby widespread adoption of a standard set of terminology and measurements can take place.
Equally important is the Memorandum of Understanding whereby two industry consortia align themselves to not only avoid duplicating efforts and expenditure but more importantly avoid spreading confusion in the marketplace. The importance of energy efficiency is great enough that the industry can ill afford confusion that might inadvertently sow FUD and give organizations an excuse to put off addressing energy usage, and its strategic impact on their operations. Overall, we are pleased to see the latest technical deliverables and the spirit of cooperation between The Green Grid and the ITI. We hope that this will continue to drive the importance of this issue to organizations of all sizes and all geographies.
TriCipher has released the first digital document signing technology that gathers and stores multiple signatures on a single, centrally managed file. TriCipher MySignatureBook saves multiple signatures from a centrally managed, Web-based workflow to a single, unaltered document, relieving companies from manually tracking dozens of files each with a lone signature. MSB promises end-to-end security for highly regulated and sensitive documents, and is promoted as a viable alternative to paper-based signature processes, including shipping and storage. Pfizer initially developed MySignatureBook and has been using it since the summer of 2006, in conjunction with its authentication credentials certified by the SAFE BioPharma Association, which provides the pharmaceutical industry's legal foundation for digital signatures. TriCipher has expanded the product's support for multiple credential types, making it easy for pharmaceutical, healthcare and financial services employees and customers to leverage digital signatures for high-risk and regulated activities. For enterprises without a credential infrastructure, MSB supports the TriCipher Armored Credential System, which gives organizations user-friendly, low-cost, highly secure credentials, while maintaining the familiar username and password login experience and enabling digital signing for all users. MySignatureBook's auditable framework provides vital evidence for defending patents and accelerates regulatory electronic document submission, shortening time-to-market for new drugs.
High-security environments often give rise to products and processes that are emulated by lesser-security environments over time. There has been a lot of attention given to the need to safeguard large amounts of personal identifiable information, yet there has been scant attention paid to the need to streamline many safeguards associated with more sensitive information. Organizations dealing with controlled documents, whether government classified information, intellectual property, trade secrets, or high-value documents have recognized the need to employ digital signatures to replace paper-based signatures and to ensure non-repudiation of those digital signatures. There is also a need to manage the sensitive documents throughout their life cycle.
Products such as MySignatureBook may fill the legitimate need of high-security organizations. It is critical for industries transitioning from the physical paper-signature world to the world of digital signatures to do so in such a way as to ensure security at the same level as the paper world. It is easier to leverage success than to preach theory. If the pharmaceutical industry has adopted the TriCipher product along with others, it’s a good indication that the scalability and viability of the product have been validated. Consequently we believe TriCipher is on the right path to meeting the needs of the often-neglected high-security users.