Oracle offers users lifecycle management tool

Oracle unveiled an information lifecycle management tool for users of its database

Oracle has unveiled a new management tool to help its database users determine when to move, archive and delete data.

Oracle has been developing Information Lifecycle Management Assistant, a graphical user interface-based tool, based on ILM best practices described by its customers, for more than a year, according to Lilian Hobbs, senior principal product manager for ILM Assistant at Oracle.

While users are spoiled for choice when it comes to archiving tools, she said customers have been looking for software to help them manage their data over the course of its lifetime. As users' databases treble in size every two years or so, finding ways to lower the cost of storing all that data is becoming more critical, added Willie Hardie, vice president of database product marketing at Oracle.

Using ILM Assistant, an Oracle customer can create lifecycle definitions that are then assigned to tables in their database. The tool uses the customer's lifecycle policy to advise on how best to handle data as well as provide input on data storage requirements and how to realize cost savings in storage. For instance, Hardie said that as data ages and is less frequently accessed and updated, the information no longer needs to be stored on the fastest, most expensive storage devices and can be moved over to low-cost alternatives.

Looking ahead, Oracle plans to provide tighter integration between ILM Assistant and specific types of storage devices, Hobbs said. Already, based on customer feedback, the vendor has provided a white paper on how best to use the Oracle tool with Network Appliance's SnapLock disk-based data retention software.

Oracle is also looking to add more automation into ILM Assistant. "The first release is a passive tool," Hobbs said. "It gives you the scripts and you have to go and implement them." The tool is currently very much date driven in terms of its classification of data, but Oracle plans to offer nondate type classification in future, she added, for instance, classifying data by its status as active or non-active.

Currently, in order to use ILM Assistant, users must install the vendor's free Application Express Web application development tool as well. Oracle looks to remove that restriction in future, Hobbs said.

ILM Assistant works with Oracle Database 9i or more recent Database 10g releases. The tool is free to Oracle Database Enterprise Edition users and can be downloaded here.

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