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De-Classifying Data Classification

Data classification: It's been viewed as the missing piece of ILM that could make a lot of things fall into place. Unfortunately, users are discovering that the term means different things to different vendors.

To start at the top: In the past year, a handful of startups have launched software that classifies unstructured data so it can be managed across storage tiers. (See Peekaboo, StoredIQ!, Scentric Gets Classified, and Njini Granted $13M.) The newcomers include Abrevity, Arkivio, Kazeon, Index Engines, Njini, Scentric, and StoredIQ. All have aimed to fill the void for systems vendors who neglected data-classification capabilities in the first place. Network Appliance's OEM deal with newcomer Kazeon last November brought predictions that a slew of similar deals would follow. (See Kazeon Pairs With NetApp.)

Now systems vendors are looking to provide their own data classification. EMC last week unveiled its Intelligent Information Management (IIM) strategy for classifying data, and Compellent this week launched a SAN system aimed at classification. (See EMC Intros IIM and Compellent Automates Classification.)

But with more vendors getting involved in classification, it's vital that users note differences in the offerings.

It's too early to tell about EMC. Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group says it's an "initiative, much like ILM is an initiative. They're saying, 'We've already taken steps into ILM. Now we're pushing the wall further and classification is a big part of it.' "

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