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EMC focuses on regulatory compliance

The storage specialist is pushing e-mail archiving and a new version of its Centera content-managment technology as products that can help companies comply with data-retention laws.

Although companies face extra work from new regulations on record-keeping and data retention, EMC is presenting Sarbanes-Oxley and similar measures as opportunities to overhaul IT processes and make organizations more efficient.

John Gubernat, the company's director of global solutions for compliance and content management, said: "You have to be looking at making compliance an integral part of overall IT strategy. You can't do compliance without good information management and solid IT."

Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC is touting e-mail archiving using its Legato storage software. Additionally, the storage specialist is pushing content archiving and retrieval tools from one of its partners, Mobius Management Systems, as well as its own Documentum division.

In line with its mantra about being "solutions focused," as opposed to a mere seller of storage boxes, EMC also is offering updated services and new software functionality for its Centera line of content-addressed storage, which typically handles fixed content such as e-mail archives and historical documents.

These capabilities, Gubernat said, are important not just for data retrieval. Within the European Union, data-retention laws call for certain classes of information to be expunged after a given time. And in the United States, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act seeks to make companies' accounting procedures more transparent to investors and regulators.

Software from EMC and other vendors now allows "auto delete" functionality, and crucially, records are "tombstoned," so organizations can work out what kind of data was recorded and when.

Financial securities company Adirondack Electronics Markets has used EMC for compliance and claims that the time it takes to produce three months of archived e-mail has fallen from days to minutes.

Separately, at the end of last week, EMC announced a storage alliance for its midrange Clariion products with Samsung in Asia.

EMC isn't alone in trying to present its products as solutions to compliance problems. Other companies using similar strategies include giants such as IBM, as well as smaller companies, such as Zantaz, a provider of software for archiving e-mail.

Tony Hallett of Silicon.com reported from London.