Channel still underwhelmed by ILM

Channel still underwhelmed by ILM

While vendors such as EMC and Sun StorageTek beat the Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) drum with great enthusiasm, the reality for the channel is a little different according to industry experts.

Principal consultant at SLI-Consulting, Jose Goldmann, said it remained the preserve of high-end enterprise, leaving a large portion of the channel out of the loop.

"The benefits just aren't there for SMBs at the moment," Goldmann said. "In a true sense, ILM as a whole is still a few years out from really addressing all businesses needs effectively anyway."

Experts also agreed that, even at the high-end of the market, there few meaningful ILM implementations in the local market.

"I don't know of anybody who can say they already have a complete ILM implementation," XSI Data Solutions CEO, Max Goldsmith, said. "I don't think EMC, or any other vendor for that matter, could say, 'Here is a customer using all our components'. If you offered me a job as an ILM salesman, I wouldn't take it at this point in time."

IDC Asia-Pacific associate vice-president of storage, Graham Penn, said the ILM concept was still very much a work in progress.

"So far, I can only talk to people about how they're going in an anecdotal sense," he said. "We haven't found enough people talking about ILM for an official survey."

Goldsmith said an area retarding ILM installations was the level of trust required when one vendor offers to create its entire ILM environment.

"We are getting pullback from people who are saying, 'If I use one company's products all the way through my ILM implementation, that company owns my data and they own what they want to do with me'," Goldsmith said. "In reality, what people are doing is taking the best components from each vendor. While vendors have some terrific components, none of them have the best component in every spot of the market."

Even when a full ILM project gets off the ground, reseller opportunities would be few, Penn said.

"Companies won't be looking at resellers. They will be looking at major consulting organisations which might contract out some parts of the job to a reseller," Penn said. "These will typically be big projects with many skills involved. A reseller can help but probably can't run a project of that size."

SLI's Goldsmith said opportunities could exist for resellers via mini ILM installations which sought to address one issue - such as a solution for searching stored email - rather than a full implementation.

"We don't see issues such as compliance biting here in the same way as the US and driving ILM," Goldsmith said. "In turn, people are biting on bits of it.

We see strong interest in iSCSI disks, for example, taking less important data off expensive disk arrays. For many, if it takes half a day to access data that is six months old, that is actually good enough."

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