Fujitsu Siemens Aims for Efficient Email Compliance

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Compliance is about to become as much of an issue for European organizations as it already is for their U.S. counterparts, Fujitsu Siemens Computers has warned.

Users struggling to deal with growing volumes of data -- especially e-mail -- will find their task made even more difficult by the E.U. Directive on auditing and corporate governance, the company said. The directive is sometimes referred to as EuroSOX because of its resemblance to the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act, also called SOX.

To help deal with the increase in corporate governance requirements, Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC) has allied with EMC, NetApp and Symantec in an Efficient Email initiative, said FSC storage product marketing director Marcus Schneider. Targeted at users of Microsoft Exchange, the initiative combines storage systems from FSC, EMC and NetApp with Symantec Enterprise Vault and EMC EmailXtender software.

E.U. member states must implement E.U. Directives in national law. Some, such as Austria, have already implemented EuroSOX, while others have yet to do so, for example Germany, Schneider said, speaking at Storage Networking World Europe in Frankfurt, Germany.

"E-mail will be where companies have the biggest problem meeting the E.U. Directive," he predicted. He said that most corporate departments already have archiving strategies in place, but many companies have yet to get a grip on the huge growth in e-mail usage.

"The big issue with e-mail was that it was leaking information in and out, but e-mail growth also has many other problems," he said. "For example, mailbox quotas often mean highly-paid people spend hours every day dragging and dropping messages between folders just to clear out their inboxes."

Worse still, he said, is the approach still taken by some companies of automatically deleting e-mail after 30 days to save space.

The Efficient Email initiative includes message indexing in a central archive, which takes away the need for individual users to manage their own mailbox quotas, plus automated back-office compliance. Users can set their own archiving policies that are then carried out automatically overnight, Schneider said.

"People use e-mail to make agreements with partners and customers, and you have to keep those, but a PST [Outlook mail folder] backup on a local hard disk isn't enough," he said. "These companies know they have a problem and they know they need to address it."

He added that FSC has put a questionnaire online to help people understand how they use e-mail today, and advise them on how they could improve their productivity.

FSC announced two CentricStor virtual tape libraries (VTLs) at the Frankfurt show. The VTLs are pure disk, and do not then copy backups on to tape.

Previous CentricStor VTLs have all been built on the assumption that the customer will still want backups to end up on tape. However, Schneider said that while that remains true among large enterprises, FSC has been losing business among mid-sized companies to rival disk-only backup systems.

"So we cut off the tape features and reduced the price to reach that middle business," he said, adding that the new CentricStor VT DL (virtual tape disk library) editions start at €90,000 (US$112,000).

The disk-only models are the CentricStor VTA 500, which scales to 72T-bytes of storage capacity, and the VTA 1500 which can have up to 576T-bytes. Both include data compression features, but not de-duplication -- yet. "We're working on it," said Schneider.

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