IBM Announces New Compliance Offering

Big Blue's Data Retention 450 combines hardware, storage, and software to help companies comply with regulations such as HIPAA and SOX. The product is a direct challenger to EMC's Centera Compliance Edition.

IBM Corp. last week unveiled a new regulatory compliance solution designed to go head to head with a market-leading product from EMC Corp.

IBM positions its new Data Retention 450 as a combined hardware, storage and software offering-in-a-box that enables organizations to preserve information in accordance with regulatory legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley or the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The new product is founded on a combination of Big Blue’s pSeries-based hardware, FastT storage, and—on the software side—its Tivoli Storage Manager for Data Retention. The latter product makes it possible for companies to implement non-rewriteable, non-erasable storage controls to prevent deletion or alteration of data, officials say.

The new product’s most obvious competitor is the Centera Compliance Edition, a content-addressed storage array from EMC that’s in the forefront of compliance-ready backup solutions.

Centera provides fixed, object-oriented storage, and supports features that address a variety of regulatory efforts, including Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and various Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ requirements. In addition, Centera Compliance Edition supports the SEC’s Rule 17a-4(f) requirement, which says that data must be preserved and maintained in a manner that guarantees its authenticity.

Unlike Centera, however, IBM’s Data Retention 450 supports a variety of different backup media, including tape and optical discs, not just physical hard disks. Officials say that the new product can work with non-IBM tape and optical devices as well. The new offering can scale from 3.5 to 56 TB and will be available in March, according to IBM.

The Data Retention 450 is the latest of several new compliance-related storage products and services IBM has announced over the last four months.

In October, for example, Big Blue touted new write-once-read-many (WORM) technology for its TotalStorage 3592 tape drives, along with the debut of Tivoli Storage Manager for Data Retention, which supports features such as event-based retention, expiration/deletion suspension (e.g., deletion hold), and additional client support for HSM, along with expanded support for WORM devices and media.

IBM has introduced what it calls an “Asset Disposition Data Disposal” offering, which amounts to a set of services that ensure that sensitive information—such as financial or medical records – are wiped clean from disk drives.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.