EMC Vows More for Infoscape

Unveils costly EMC-centric software for unstructured data, but promises more

September 19, 2006

3 Min Read
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EMC's taken a swipe at the data classification market, siphoning existing products into a software package called Infoscape, for which it's made some fancy predictions. (See EMC Intros Services.) Until those materialize, its high pricetag and limited scope could discourage new buyers.

Infoscape, announced today, is a Windows-based software package for identifying and classifying unstructured data, such as Word documents and PowerPoint files, that accessible via CIFS or on EMC's Celerra NAS devices. Infoscape contains repository management software from Documentum, discovery capabilities from EMC's Smarts acquisition, and Disk Xtender technology from Legato.

George Symons, EMC's CTO for information management, says file virtualization technology from Rainfinity and encryption functions from RSA may also be added to Infoscape. (See EMC Cops Documentum, EMC Gets Smarts, EMC Acquires Smarts, EMC Refreshes NAS, SAN, and EMC Secures RSA for $2.1B.)

In the meantime, Infoscape is limited to using metadata to help IT pros organize and classify data -- a first step in implementing what EMC calls its Intelligent Information Management (IIM) strategy. (See EMC Intros IIM, EMC Peels Back IIM, and De-Classifying Data Classification.)

More is promised. "In three or four months, we will be coming out with a roadmap looking at the different file types and environments that we might be working in," says Symons.Meanwhile, customers will pay dearly to take their first IIM step. The base price for the software is $125,000, and users must also pay a licensing fee which starts at $9,000 per Tbyte. On top of this, EMC has unveiled a consulting service to support Infoscape, priced on a per-user basis.

A storage engineer from a major financial services firm in the southwestern U.S., who asked not to be named, warned that these costs could easily spiral out of control. "That's why there's not a rush to do this," he explains, adding that the annual consulting fee in a 100-Tbyte environment could easily reach the $100,000 mark.

Also to be considered is the amount of work needed to actually deploy EMC's software in the first place. "We have 100 different applications, and that means 100 different groups of people to interview," the engineer says. In his organization, it could take literally years of ongoing work to even start the classification process.

While Infoscape could ultimately help users save the cost of some extra file servers, as EMC claims, getting to that point is a major challenge. "The [classification] function, once it's in place, is a godsend, but the installation is a nightmare," the engineer states.

EMC is not the only vendor targeting this corner of the market. A number of startups, including StoredIQ, Kazeon (a NetApp partner), and Scentric, currently play in the unmanaged content space. (See Kazeon, Google Search, Sneak Preview: Kazeon IS1200 v1, and StoredIQ, CynergisTekTeam.)Companies like these will likely offer some competition to Hopkinton -- at least until EMC can expand Infoscape's compatibility and lower its price.

EMC can't offer any customer testimonials for Infoscape, though it claims to have five beta sites in process.

Notably, some customers can probably get by without some of the bells and whistles of Infoscape -- such as Documentum indexing. "It is a great tool if you are a pharmaceutical company and youre submitting a drug for approval to the FDA -- it is designed to give you that very defined [indexing] structure," says Arun Taneja, president of the Taneja Group consultancy.

The analyst, however, estimates that some 98 percent of documents do not require that level of control, adding that the more basic version of indexing contained within Infoscape could be sufficient for many users.

— James Rogers, Senior Editor, and Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • EMC Documentum

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • EMC Legato

  • EMC Smarts

  • Kazeon Inc.

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • RSA Security Inc. (Nasdaq: EMC)

  • Scentric Inc.

  • StoredIQ Corp.

  • Taneja Group0

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