Information Faster Blog

HP TRIM for SharePoint and the Enterprise – Launch vs. Reality

By Kris Brown 


We launched HP TRIM 7 last week, and for the most part the press coverage was about the new SharePoint integration. Now don’t get me wrong, as one of the team that is responsible for the product and the launch, I would say we accomplished what we set out to achieve regarding our SharePoint support. But what we actually set out to achieve beyond that, may not necessarily be as apparent from what you read in the media.


In the press last week we saw a lot of this…


“The fact that a large company like HP recognizes the need for this type of management in the enterprise is significant. Companies are being flooded with information, while at the same time, they come under increasing pressure to monitor and in some instances, control this information.”    Fierce Content Management


 “Given the number of organizations that are now using SharePoint and are considering SharePoint 2010, the new HP TRIM modules are quite timely and probably not the last module we are likely to see for TRIM.”   CMSWire


And yes, HP TRIM 7 can seamlessly manage SharePoint content, not just documents.  Yes, it can help an organization archive information based on our lifetime management policies.  And yes, I think that we are extending SharePoint to a place where almost any organization could consider it for their frontline information collaboration platform.  But that’s not all we introduced in this launch!



HP TRIM also introduced a range of other new product features and enhancements. So here is a laundry list of highlights that hopefully will put some of the constabulary at rest… for now...



ThatTRIMGuy’s Top Ten HP TRIM 7 Enhancements (sans the SharePoint Integration):




10. A brand new SDK set, including SDK.NET and SDKUI.NET.  Separating our user interface components from our standard SDK, enables our partner and developer community to build even more extensible add-ons for HP TRIM 7;



9.   While this isn’t necessarily a functional enhancement, the acquisition of TOWER by HP, has meant that HP TRIM now has access to all the power of the testing and performance tools that HP development teams have. Which only means good things for the customer base!



8.   Full DoD 5015 v3 certification including all chapters Baseline, Classified, FOI and Privacy, ensuring HP TRIM continues its tradition of being one of the most certified products on the market. For the record, SharePoint 2007’s certification has expired and SharePoint 2010 doesn’t have DoD certification at the writing of this blog;



7.   Unicode support, ensuring our ability to move towards providing access to HP TRIM in all markets around the world;



6.   New search engine improvements, including parametric searching, and the ability to provide effective filtering by a search;



5.   User settings that follow the user through all of the HP TRIM 7 interfaces, such as favorites, recent documents, saved searches and even labels (which are now hierarchical);



4.   New Mini Crash Dump facilities to help you and the help desk provide detailed error information;



3.   New architectural features, like providing more efficient transport of database requests in WAN environments, for even faster search results;



2.   New workgroup features including distributed event processing, allowing multiple workgroup services process a single event type for an even more scalable solution; and



…. the # 1 HP TRIM 7 enhancement…. a brand new Web Client!


But this is only a short highlights reel, there are many other significant improvements, including 64-bit support, improved record type scalability, new email drag and drop functions, schema report and repair, and updated platform support.


So don’t judge a launch by its press coverage alone… If you’re reading this… then the coverage did its job. But as you can see above, HP TRIM 7 has introduced significant new features and improvements for all of our customers!


If you are in Australia in late March, be sure you register for TUF 23, our annual user forum.  If not, look out for HP TRIM 7 at an industry event near you!


Follow me on Twitter @thattrimguy


And become a fan of TRIM on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/HPTRIM-7-Facebook  


 

What would you say if... An HP TRIM for SharePoint Primer – Part 2

By Kris Brown 


What would you say if I told you, you can have fully compliant records management for SharePoint, without the hassle of doing records management (RM).  You’d probably say I’ve already read that blog, and it's time you told me something else.



Then what would you say if I told you that you can archive SharePoint sites, using automated rules to a Department-of-Defense-compliant Records Management platform.



HP TRIM 7 has recently introduced a new module that does just that.



In conjunction with the new HP TRIM for SharePoint Records Management module, HP is proud to announce the HP TRIM for SharePoint Archive module.



This module makes use of the same set of functions provided to the RM module, including Lifetime Management Policies, but allows organizations to manage, finalize, relocate and archive information from the site level and above.



Have you ever been involved in a project team that utilized a team site for collaboration?  How many times did you revisit that site after the project ended?  Probably not very many, if at all.  However, I’d be almost certain in saying that this team site still exists, is still being crawled by SharePoint, and is still returning results for searches.  While that might be important for a short time after the project ends, it is likely that a lot of the information created on that site will become stale, and perhaps even inaccurate.  Returning results from this site, could lead to an incorrect decision in the future.



SharePoint performance will also be affected by this continued growth of team sites. This is one of a  number reasons for CIO’s not formally deploying SharePoint across their entire organization.  The lack of control of the growth of SharePoint or put another way, the success of SharePoint to capture the users' information, is a key reason to put in place a records management system.



I hear you say is that you don’t want your users to be burdened with Records Management.  Well, HP TRIM 7’s Archive Module utilizes Lifetime Management Policies to seamlessly transfer information from SharePoint in the form of entire sites, and site collections to HP TRIM.  No user interaction is required, other than to use SharePoint in the way it was designed.  The records management burden is removed from the user while records management rigor is applied to important information as deemed so by the Records Manager.



And let’s be honest…  90% (or maybe even higher) of any given user base cares very little for the regulatory needs of an organization… But the organization still has those needs. HP TRIM 7 can meet you in the middle, allowing the experts in records to manage the information, and the experts in their fields, HR, Finance, Operations etc etc, get on with using SharePoint as a tool to get their work done.



Watch for more HP TRIM 7 updates…  including all things NOT related to SharePoint.



Follow me on Twitter @thattrimguy


And become a fan of TRIM on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/HPTRIMFacebook

What would you say if... An HP TRIM for SharePoint Primer – Part 1

By Kris Brown


What would you say if I told you that you can have fully compliant records management for SharePoint, without the hassle of actually doing records management (RM)?


Or if I told you that you can let your user base collaborate freely in SharePoint, without the fear of losing control of the critical business information?


I suspect you’d say:  GREAT, but what’s the catch?


There is no catch. HP TRIM 7 has recently introduced a pair of new modules that do just that.


And this solution is coming not a day too soon. SharePoint sites the world over are housing more and more business sensitive and business critical information, and CIOs, IT and Storage Managers are constantly asking how are they going to control not only the growth of their SharePoint environment, but also the records that are contained within SharePoint.


So here we go...  The HP TRIM for SharePoint Records Management module introduces four new features to the RM space in SharePoint.



  • Manage

  • Finalize

  • Relocate

  • Archive


These four features provide the capability to capture and manage any SharePoint content. Not just documents, and definitely not just things in a specific web part!



  • Manage – This feature allows you to take a copy of the object and put it in HP TRIM, where metadata, retention, classification and security are all applied automatically, according to rules set in SharePoint.

  • Finalize – This feature allows you to take a copy of the object and put it in HP TRIM, where metadata, retention, classification and security are all applied automatically, according to rules set in SharePoint and mark it Final. So no further edits can be made.

  • Relocate – This feature allows you to move the object and put it in HP TRIM, where metadata, retention, classification and security are all applied automatically, according to rules set in SharePoint, and still allow it to be edited from HP TRIM.

  • Archive – This feature allows you to move the object and put it in HP TRIM, where metadata, retention, classification and security are all applied automatically, according to rules set in SharePoint, and mark it Final, so it cannot be edited.


The powerful Lifetime Management Policies in HP TRIM 7 are a key enabler for these new capabilities. They are built into SharePoint, and provide a Records Manager or SharePoint Administrator with the ability to set rules around ALL different types of SharePoint content (not just documents!).


For example:


On a SharePoint HR team site, the HR users might go through an employee on-boarding process, with applications for jobs, interviews and the like. This type of information would require all sorts of different retention, classification and security. Based on SharePoint Content Types, user names and the metadata required by the SharePoint team site, HP TRIM’s Lifetime Management Policies can automatically place those objects including calendar items, announcements, and discussion items directly into the HP TRIM Records Management platform.  Once there, they will be managed according to the rules set by the administrators -- all without the need for the user to interact with TRIM.


In fact, users will not need to see HP TRIM or even have it installed on their desktop. They can continue to work in the SharePoint environment they are familiar with and the organization can feel safe in the knowledge that the information created is managed in the way that the Information Management policies of the business dictate.


It certainly doesn’t get any easier, or more transparent than that !!


Check back for Part 2 – HP TRIM for SharePoint – Archive Module.


 


Follow me on Twitter @ thattrimguy
And become a fan of HP TRIM on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/HPTRIMFacebook

HP TRIM 7… How we got here?

By Kris Brown


With today’s launch of HP TRIM 7, I thought it might be time to reflect on how we got here. So for effect, blink your eyes very quickly alternating from left to right, to have us fade into a dream sequence.


The year is 1985. Ronald Reagan is sworn into a second term as US President.  “We are the world” is released to raise funds for the famine in Ethiopia. Mike Tyson wins his first professional fight, and Michael J Fox stars in “Back to the Future”. Norway wins the Eurovision song contest, and Australia pulls out of the MX Missile project.


Here in Australia, 1985 is the year that a gentleman by the name of Brand Hoff and his partner Peta Hoff founded a small business called TOWER Software, in a garage in Canberra – Australia’s capital. The purpose of the business was to develop tools to help with the recently created Australian Standard for Records Management, the AS 4390. The first series of these tools were a card based system, for want of a better explanation, like a Dewey Decimal library system that allowed organizations (mainly Australian Government departments) to meet their compliance requirement forced upon them under the newly created standard.


Times changed, and so did the government… slowly… but TOWER Software and the IT industry in general ploughed forward. TOWER Software then released its first computer based product, a physical records management system for the VAX. Then came early Windows versions of the software, and in 2002 TOWER Software released TRIM Context v5, a platform for Document and Records management. It was this year that I joined the fray.


I had no prior experience with records management, and it didn’t really matter all that much as I was only a part of the team responsible for the TOWER Software office network. But it wasn’t long before I gained a strong appreciation of what the team around me was so passionate about. Joining the sales team, in a series of technical roles over the coming years, I got to know the customers and the challenges faced by these same organizations that Brand and Peta had endeavored to help some 20 years back.


TOWER’s records products were seen as one of the best in the market, but analysts were forced to comment that the reach of a small Australian company meant that it was going to be hard to break into the bigger markets, like the US and Europe. Hard… but not impossible, as TOWER successfully implemented some of the largest and most awarded implementations of information management software on the planet.


Market consolidation meant that lots of little players were gobbled up, as the larger vendors strived to meet the ever challenging demands of the marketplace, picking up technology from these smaller companies and making them a part of their overall product line. Hewlett-Packard, one of the largest IT companies in the world, did the same, acquiring TOWER Software in 2008, but with one subtle difference. Rather than cannibalize the technology and abandon the product, they kept almost all of the staff from the TOWER acquisition and told them to build the next version of what is now known as HP TRIM.


And - there were no other products that HP TRIM had to compete with internally unlike a lot of the other acquisitions: IBM/FileNet, Opentext/Hummingbird/Vignette, and Autonomy/Zantaz/Interwoven/Meridio. HP wanted to concentrate on the product that was HP TRIM, and add the backing that only a company like HP can bring to a product.  And so, HP TRIM 7 was born.


With a series of new innovative features such as transparent records management for SharePoint, backed by the 25+ years of information management industry expertise, HP TRIM 7 is a firm commitment to its current and future customers. We’re confident we have a product that not only can compete on the big stage, but can continue to do what it has always done: Provide excellent solutions to information management problems.


This all started in 1985… Old Coke, became New Coke and then very quickly became Old Coke again. Records Management was a requirement back then, and while document management has been the flavor of the month for a while, the world has changed and information management is now more important than ever. And just like Wrestlemania, HP TRIM is still here to help!


Check out some of the new stuff at www.hp.com/go/imhub/hptrim!


I personally was lucky enough to be a part of this ride for many years and while I am still waiting to buy my first Hoverboard, I can’t wait to see what we do next with this product.


That TRIM guy

Structured Records Management - Taking control of the structured data

In my last post I spoke about how the transfer of structured data from the source system into the records management system works. Now that we have covered this step, lets look at some of the special features that you want to manage structured data as records.


Like any other record, you want to be able to preserve the authenticity, reliability, integrity and usability of the data.  The authenticity is maintained by the system storing an audit trail of the whole transfer process and any subsequent actions taken on the records. The reliability is based on the collaboration of application owners and records managers in the definition and classification of the structured records model, which means that the transferred data is based on a design by people who know all the facts about its source and usage. 


That leaves me to elaborate a bit more about the integrity and usability. 


The structured records get transferred into the records management environment as XML files.  Each transfer batch is a self contained group, consisting of a number of XML files that contain the data and a summary XML file that contains a detailed description of what the data files contain.  To be able to use the data and the summary file in future, each of them is described by a XML schema definition.   All of these files together form a single package and the records management rules are applied at the package level, meaning that the same security and retention rules apply to all files of a single transfer. The integrity of the individual files can be proved at any stage based on hash comparison technology between the summary and the data files.


Usability means that the structured data is not lost once it resides in the records management environment. Text indexing can be used to provide searching across the contents of the XML files to find batches that include data pertinent to a particular circumstance, e.g. all batches that contain customer number XYZ or order number 123.  This is the kind of full text searching that people use across all machine readable formats as part of early searches in the e-discovery or freedom of information processes. However, structured records should also be available to other methods of searching, e.g. for reporting engines. Having the data in XML format with a full schema description allows us to use our Record Query Server to create an ODBC data source pointing to the XML files, which can then be used by a whole variety of SQL query tools - this is a distinct advantage that you get from storing structured records as XML data, rather than as flat text file or PDF formatted report output.  If the original application still exists, and its algorithms are desirable in the analysis of the data, the records management system provides a re-load function to send the XML based data back to the original source database schema.


In all our design of HP TRIM functionality we pay attention to the characteristics of records as prescribed by ISO 15489: authenticity, reliability, integrity and usability, and as you can see,  structured records management is no exception.  By adhering to this principle we are able to create a truly unified records management environment, encompassing all formats of information, physical, electronic, unstructured and structured, meaning that you can apply a single set of consistent records management policies across all your enterprise content.


 

Structured Records Management - Transferring the records

Once you have defined what the records that you extract from your structured business application look like and how they are classified in the target records management system, you are ready to start transferring them.


There are different things to consider depending on what type of transfer you are performing. If you are transferring the records as a one-off exercise, for example because you want to retire the application that contains them, you will want to perform a "move".  If you are transferring the records as part of an ongoing structured records management regime, it is possible that you want to "copy" them into the records management system and defer the deletion to a later point in time. This deferred deletion option allows you to collect records as soon as they conform with the selection criteria, but still keep a copy in the originating system for fast access. If you implement a deferred delete policy you want to make sure that the records management system can initiate the deferred delete based on predefined or rules-based dates, as well as implementing a feature that ensures that the data in the source system is never retained for any longer than the controlled records. When records are destroyed in accordance with their retention schedule, the system must also initiate the deferred deletion of the original data.


Whatever approach the transfer process takes, you want to make sure that you have an audit trail that covers the selection and extraction from the source application and the creation of the records in the target records management system. Ideally the whole process uses digital signatures and hash algorithms to ensure the integrity of the transfer end to end. This allows you to provide an unbroken chain of custody for your structured records.


Once your transfer is complete and the structured records are stored and classified in your records management system, they will be managed in accordance with your corporate records management policy and in context with all the unstructured records that you capture from other systems or users' desktops. I will tell you about some additional features that can be useful particularly for structured records management in a later post...

Structured Records Management - from data to record

In my last post I started on the subject of Structured Records Management, an area of records management that is re-gaining a lot of relevance because ALL electronically stored information is discoverable in e-Discovery and FOIA, not just unstructured documents. 


In this and some subsequent posts I would like to introduce some of the concepts involved in structured records management. To start with, let's have a look at the steps involved to turn data in structured applications into records managed according to corporate policy:


1. Definition - this step allows us to identify and model the records in the source system


2. Classification - this step allows us to model some descriptive metadata around the records to apply our records management context


3. Extraction - this step allows us to extract records from the source system, based on the modeling done previously


4. Ingestion - this step brings the structured records under the control of the corporate records management environment


5. Management - this step allows us to access, retrieve, query, verify, the structured data under the control of the records management environment


6. Dispose - this step allows us to manage the retention and legal holds of structured data under the control of the records management environment


As I mentioned before, in HP IM we have created a solution that covers all the steps listed above, using our Database Archiving and TRIM products.  It is a truly exciting project to be working on! Throughout the process I was amazed how well the two products complement each other. I will let you know more about some of the details for each step in follow-up posts...

How long do you keep your backup tapes?

 


By Patrick Eitenbichler


Over the past week I talked to a number of customers and industry analysts to better understand whether backup tapes are kept for just a couple of months or for many years.  After all, the specs show that the lifespan of e.g. LTO media is 30 years.


To my surprise, I found out that close to half of all customers keep only three months worth of data -- before the tapes get re-used and the data gets overwritten.  The other half uses tape as an archive medium and keep the cartridges for several years (although I found no one who had a 30-year-old tape in their drawer  :-).


Question is...  Do backup administrators keep tapes for a certain period of time because "it's always been this way" -- or because they're following a recently updated backup strategy?  Through data classification and a proactive data protection and archiving strategy, users can achieve a multitude of goals -- all at the same time:




  • Reduce backup windows and simplify recovery:  If data is only kept for a couple of months, a disk-based backup solution such as HP's StorageWorks VLS or D2D using HP Data Protector software would make the most sense -- leveraging low-bandwidth remote replication to store data "off site", and deduplication to minimize storage costs.



  • After classifying data and determining WHAT data needs to be kept for the long term -- whether it's for compliance, e-discovery or corporate governance reasons -- decisions can be made re: what data can be kept on tape (low cost, low energy consumption) vs. and archiving solution such as HP's Integrated Archive Platform (single, searchable repository for all data types).

In short, users can reduce costs and increase IT productivity by calling a time-out and taking a closer look at "how long you keep your backup tapes" -- and WHY?


 

Don't underestimate the power of the "metadata only" record

Many organizations are starting to implement electronic records management in conjunction with ETL (extract, transform, load) technologies in an effort to apply centralized control over unstructured, semi structured and structured data. Depending on the maturity of the IT and the RM environment this can be a daunting task.


For some main-stream business applications you can get adapters "out of the box", but for others you need to either come up with a "normalization" of an interface that you can apply in a fairly generic way, or you need to design a system specific integration.  Whichever approach lends itself to your needs depends on the integration capabilities of the applications. But the technical integration is only part of the story; it concerns itself mainly with the transfer of bits and bytes between the applications, and not necessarily with the classification of the information that the applications contain. This whole other area provides a lot of additional work, requiring a skill set that fits more into the records management  than the IT discipline. Both the technical and the records management disciplines must work together to achieve success, and they can help each other along the way. 


Records management requires a detailed analysis of business processes and existing systems to design enterprise-wide information governance policies and processes, work that can be leveraged in the integration of systems. Records managers are usually well versed in describing and managing information that is available, but not necessarily on-line. Just think of the thousands of archive boxes that your organization stores in various places.  Records managers need to know where they are, what they contain, and when they can be destroyed.  They do so by creating descriptive metadata profiles to which they can assign automated business rules.


I have talked to several HP TRIM customers who started their enterprise information integration by creating descriptive metadata-only profiles for semi-structured and structured information systems in the same way as for physical records. HP TRIM keeps these profiles in the same context as the profiles of electronic records. This allowed the records managers to include these systems into their classification, searches, reporting and workflows, even before the direct link was established at a technical level. The descriptive data can be used to create a catalog of systems including a detailed description of the data that they contain. This allows the technical people to get a grip on the scope of the technical integration project, to identify communalities betwen systems, find "low hanging fruit" and to set priorities.


In e-discovery and freedom of information requests the systems will show up in the searches and when a legal hold notice is issued the system owners will be notified in the same way as custodians of physical records. Business users doing research as part of their daily work will find all sources of information and will be able to make more informed decisions.


So keep the "metadata-only" record in mind when starting to implement your enterprise records management system - it can really give you a head-start.  If your organization doesn't yet have a records management competency, our records management specialists can help you take stock of your systems, create a system catalog, and formulate a master-plan on how to proceed.


 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! - What is your resolution?

And so we start another year of blogging, emailing, instant messaging, powerpointing, and whatever other means we have to contribute to the information explosion. During the holiday break we had time to reflect on our life and most of us have come up with ambitious resolutions for 2009, mine are fairly mundane and mainly waistline and fitness related...


There is a group of records managers in the UK who not only took the time to come up with resolutions, but went to the extent of laying them down in a Records Manager 2.0 Manifesto. You can find the full text on Steve Bailey's records management futurewatch blog. I like the manifesto because it encourages progressive thinking about employing new technologies to manage information, but with a clear focus on the user and enough pragmatism to recognize organizations need to be able to cope with change and implementation.


It looks like change in the role of records managers is accelerating. In the world of paper records management the records management department took almost full ownership of the task of filing, classifying, storing, maintaining, and disposing records. Then, around the change of the millennium, came a big change - information started to take on volumes and distribution that made it impossible to print it all for the purpose of record keeping. The reaction was to create electronic records management systems that allowed the classification of electronically stored information into predefined structures to apply the necessary rules and context to electronic records. The records management department's role changed from being the provider of physical records management services to becoming the administrators and support department of a system that had to be used by other employees in the organization. Not only did records managers have to come to grips with that change themselves, they also had to learn about how to encourage change to work practices in other departments.


What becomes clear from reading the Records Management 2.0 Manifesto is that the role of records management now needs to extend its focus from compliance and regulation to include the exploitation of information. We have always seen that the user uptake of TRIM was much higher in organizations that used it to improve information sharing and collaboration, and to streamline document workflow processes, i.e. embed it into their business processes rather than just implement it as an "after the fact"  compliance regime. Users react more positive to the carrot than the stick and we are always looking for opportunities to embed records management technology even more into their line of business applications and automate the compliance aspect. New technologies in data-link visualization, mash-ups, user defined folksonomies, data-push etc. can all be used to go to the next level and turn a collection of records into an active business asset by providing the right information to the right user at the right time. While it is up to us technology providers to bundle these tools into useful applications, I see that records managers will be the ones who need to work with their organization to analyze what information is the right information to provide in which place.


I think that the key to success is that technologists and records managers work closely together and my resolution is to encourage and facilitate this dialog wherever I find an opportunity. I look forward to talking to you!

Distinguish between Classifications and Folders

A records management file plan typically consists of three item types:


1. Classifications


2. Folders


3. Documents


For people who are used to a filing structure of two types only, i.e. Windows Explorer which provides Folders and Documents, the three type structure can be confusing and the approach of how to group things become unclear. 


It helps if you understand what the intended function of the classifications and folders is.


The classification structure in a records management system is not only used for the categorization of folders and documents, but also to set rules for the categorized items.  For example everything categorized in the HR - Permanent Employee branch has to be kept for "10 years after the termination date of the employee" and it has to be marked as "Confidential" with a "Personnel" security profile.


The folders are used to group all the documents that make up the record of a business event, e.g. a personnel file. Folders allow all the items relating to a record, such as my employment record for example, to be managed as one unit.  The rules set by the classification are applied to the folder record. For example the classification may state "destroy 7 years after creation"(the rule stated), which for a folder created today would mean "destroy on December 15, 2015"(the rule applied). 


What this means is that you should create classifications for rule categories, and folders for groupings that need to have rules applied. If you consider this, a structure such as this doesn't make sense and is hard to maintain.


HR - <Employee Name> - Leave


HR - <Employee Name> - Payroll


HR - <Employee Name> - Review


The record needs to be managed at the employee level; the Leave, Payroll, and Review categories determine the rules of how long the records should be kept.  Looking at this the structure would make more sense and will be easier to maintain and administer if the employee name came after the categories.


There are some cases where a sub-division of a folder may be in order for ease of use, but generally this only makes sense when the parent folder itself is the item that has the records management rules applied to it.  On the other hand, there are cases when it makes sense to manage the individual documents as individual records, in which case they can be assigned directly to the classification, without a folder grouping.


In summary, think about where the rule is set, and where the rule is applied, and the planning of the structure becomes a lot clearer.


 


 

XAM - Why do we need yet another storage standard??

By David Martin


I just returned from Storage Networking Word (SNW) in Dallas last week where there was a lot of discussion and excitement about the Extensible Access Method (XAM) specification.  These were not the typical ‘inside the box’ vendor centric discussions. Rather, XAM early adopters and end user visionaries were enlightening us in the vendor community with new and fresh insight into where XAM fits within the bigger picture.  These discussions got to the heart and soul of why the XAM standard is so critical to the storage industry.


At the most basic level, XAM is a search-enabled standardized storage device interface for e-discovery, governance and regulatory compliance applications which provides interoperability across storage devices, lowers ISV porting/testing costs and extends information accessibility through search.   But XAM is actually more than just a standard.  It also addresses at least two other key industry problems: information authenticity and multiple classes of storage.


XAM enables information authenticity.  No other industry standard storage-related API or protocol (i.e. file system APIs, CIFS/NFS, etc)  sufficiently addresses the authenticity issue.  Authenticity is defined as: a property of information, including its content (the data) and metadata, that identifies that it is currently what it was originally and verifies that it has not changed over time. (Source: DMF, NARA, Society of American Archivists).  Without authenticity, information is useless for regulatory compliance, e-Discovery, and corporate governance purposes.  Key authenticity features of the XAM specification are that XAM atomically embeds metadata with content in the XAM object structure, and the metadata fields in the XAM object can be designated ‘static,’ effectively addressing the authenticity criteria in the definition above.  


The other market-changing capability that XAM enables is classes of storage.  XAM has been promoted primarily as an interface to compliance-enabled storage devices (i.e. non-tamperable, searchable, retention managed, fixed content).  However, several of our customers want to extend the XAM interface to other SAN and NAS primary storage tiers as well as low-cost storage such as SATA and FATA arrays, while still maintaining basic XAM interoperability, retention management and search attributes. 


An example of this type of customer is Pennsylvania State University.  Penn State has petabytes of web-accessible  digital content across their departments.  These collections contain graduate student thesis, research data, historical pictures of Pennsylvania, and a multitude of other discipline specific-content.  Penn State departments package, classify and organize their data, then turn it over to Penn State IT to manage. 


This approach obviously introduces challenges for Penn State IT, including extending search across all digital collections (department libraries are silo'ed and only one can be searched at a time), reducing storage costs (by placing data on multiple storage tiers), and scaling all this to hundreds of millions of objects.  And if that isn't enough, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), the source of the bulk of research funding, now mandates that all research projects be electronically stored and discoverable.


What customers like Penn State want to be able do is to be able to distribute their XAM objects across these different classes of XAM-enabled storage devices based on quality of service policies, search across all these classes of storage with a single search, and even be able to migrate these objects to other XAM classes as the QoS requirements change.  All of these storage classes must be accessible through the same XAM interface and must still maintain standard XAM search and retention management capabilities.  Extending XAM to SAN/NAS storage has been designed into the XAM v1.0 specification, so this is not a technical problem, but defining the conformance criteria of XAM base services on primary and secondary storage tiers will need to be defined by the SNIA XAM Initiative and XAM community.


XAM is uniquely suited to address these industry needs.  Regardless of whether customers have legal, governance or regulatory compliance needs, or have broader e-discovery and cost-efficiency requirements, they should demand XAM support from their application and storage device vendors.


For more information on XAM please visit the SNIA XAM webste at www.snia.org/xam.  Please monitor this blog site for future XAM discussions.  I work in the HP Information Management business unit and am co-chair of the XAM Initiative inside SNIA.

Information Explosion and Data Classification – Overview

By Jeff Bettencourt 


We are all starting to realize that information is and has been growing at an exponential rate throughout the world and directly in our organizations and enterprises.   I read a recent statistic the other day that claimed that “It is estimated that a week’s worth of New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime during the 18th Century*”.  One of the challenges of all this information growth is deciding what’s important to you and your organization.   Most of the time we look at all information the same (both Structured and Unstructured), however, if you asked the owners of the information they would have a very different opinion. 


So what’s the answer to managing all this information and getting it under control?    We believe that answer is Classification!


One way of handling the information growth is to get a handle on the information before it is created.   Setting rules and policies when that information is published so that it is classified at the time of creation.   Why is this important?   Well if you can classify the information at creation you can understand how to manage it over its life.  


More focus is now being put on classification at the desktop, on file/print servers, and SharePoint sites in order to gain control over that information explosion.  


Over the next few weeks I will explore different ways to classify your information in the organization…. Stay tuned!


*Source: “Did You Know” from the video “Shift Happens” (http://shifthappens.wikispaces.com/)



 

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  • For years I've been doing video and music production back and forth between Boston MA and New Orleans LA. Starting in 2010, I've began working with Vertica (now HP Vertica) in the marketing team, doing customer testimonials, product release videos, and website management. I'm fascinated by Big Data and the amazing things my badass team at HP Vertica has done and continues to do in the industry every day.
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