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HP, Cap Gemini join forces for storage

Continuing its push into so-called information lifecycle management, Hewlett-Packard teams up with Cap Gemini to help clients take care of data.

Continuing its push into so-called information lifecycle management, Hewlett-Packard has teamed up with consulting company Cap Gemini Ernst & Young to help clients take care of data.

On Thursday, HP and Cap Gemini said they signed an agreement to deliver a broad range of storage management services and offerings, including information lifecycle management (ILM). HP intends to train 100 "storage architects" at Cap Gemini to help design and implement storage systems for customers in Europe, North America and Asia.

The move is in keeping with HP's strategy to focus on ILM, an industry catchphrase for keeping track of data efficiently from the time it is created to when it is deleted or archived. For example, the most critical data might be kept on the highest-performing storage systems, but older or less vital information might be moved to lower-cost disk devices and eventually to tape systems for long-term archiving. Analysts say companies' need to comply with regulations is helping to spark interest in the industry.

HP has tried to stand out from the other storage companies that tout data lifecycle management products by saying it concentrates on a customer's business processes first. The Cap Gemini agreement supports that effort, said Rusty Smith, HP's director of information management. "We're putting our money where our mouth is," Smith said.

Smith declined to give details on the terms of the Cap Gemini pact, but said it involved a "significant" investment on both sides.

ILM is the fastest-growing segment of the storage industry, according to HP. The company projects industrywide spending on ILM storage to hit roughly $500 million this year, and to grow to about $4 billion by 2006.

Other companies seeking to help customers with long-term data management include storage-systems makers EMC and Hitachi Data Systems.

HP has long been a partner with Cap Gemini. The two companies have more than 1,000 joint customers.