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Compellent 'Blocks' ILM

Compellent Technologies Inc. plans general availability next week of an application that simplifies information lifecycle management (ILM) in its storage arrays.

The Data Progression application runs on the vendor's Storage Center SANs, automatically grabbing blocks of inactive data inside files and moving them from Fibre Channel to lower-cost SATA drives. (Compellent's SANs, which typically range from 3 Tbytes to 7 Tbytes, mix and match SATA and FC drives.)

The software, which costs about $10,000 to license on a typical system of about 5 Tbytes, also automatically categorizes tiers of storage based on drive type, RAID level, and media type. Customers have the option of reprioritizing the levels via the product's user interface.

"It's not real sophisticated, but it's a good way for SMBs to get ILM," says one industry analyst, who asked not to be named. He says existing products from EMC, Pillar Data Systems, and others have the ability to automatically port data by file or application to cheaper storage tiers. But few do it by access frequency alone, and they're usually bigger, more expensive, or more sophisticated than Data Progression, requiring more knowledge and preparation from users.

For smaller companies, that level of input may simply be too much trouble, particularly for administrators juggling a range of data center and storage tasks.

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