Plasmon Pushes Archive Virtualization

Vendor moves out of optical storage niche, eyes virtual opportunities

May 21, 2008

3 Min Read
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Plasmon has put another building block in place to remake itself from an optical storage supplier into a data storage solution provider. The latest release of the vendor's Enterprise Active Archive (EAA) system includes enhanced search functions designed to virtualize media management of data for both on-line and off-line media. However, the product is still missing features that corporations need to realize all of the potential benefits possible from virtualized data storage.

Companies are struggling to manage data growth and reduce the costs associated with retaining data over long periods of time, according to Mike Koclanes, chief strategy officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing at Plasmon.

There are many cases where corporations need to keep data much longer now -- several years in many cases -- than ever before,” he says.

Long-term storage has been the area where Plasmon has built its business and the company is a leading optical storage system vendor. Increasingly, corporations are asking their suppliers to meld different media options, so they can manage those assets in a more integrated fashion.

Plasmon has been stepping into this arena, and EAA is the linchpin in its strategy. The product was designed to help companies comply with various regulations, such as Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA, SEC 17a-4, or FRCP, which outline standards for data retention, management, and protection.EAA’s automatic data replication capabilities were built to protect data in the event of a disaster, and its removable UDO media enables a second copy of data to be stored at an offsite location. The product eliminates all copies of a file on both online and offline media at the end of its retention period. The device’s AES-256 bit encryption helps to protect information from any potential security breach.

In the new release, Plasmon has aligned the file system’s search functionality directly with the appropriate media. Instead of a request choosing to search media randomly, EAA aggregates requests together and then searches the media in sequential order.

Also, the user interface has been enhanced and now enables archival virtualization by allowing disk and UDO media technologies to be used together as archive targets. The system recognizes differences in service levels and combines multiple storage technologies to meet archive requirements, according to the vendor.

EAA virtualizes media management of data for both on-line and off-line media. Eventually, Plasmon also will be virtualizing the policy and data management integration with enterprise content managers and document management applications.

As it forges into a new area, the vendor faces some challenges. The first is that the company is focused on long-term product designs rather than on immediate deliverables. Also, competition is heating up in the virtualized storage market.“A number of established vendors, such as EMC and IBM, are moving in the same direction as Plasmon,” notes Brian Babineau, a senior analyst at market research firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).

Like many of the companies its serves, Plasmon is in the throes of a dramatic retooling. How successful its plans will be is unclear at the moment, but what is apparent is the company no longer views itself as only an optical storage supplier.

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  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Plasmon plc

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