Activating Your Information Management Shield

We talk with companies every day about how they can be better at managing their enterprise information.  Good policies, with technology to enable and enforce them, can help insure that records and compliance information are retained for the right amount of time, while also enabling the deletion of stale and useless information which has outlived its retention period.  Good information management processes insure that protected information is stored in the right place, operational efficiencies are enhanced by focusing on useful information and the e-Discovery process is easier and more efficient.

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Many organizations know that they should implement information management initiatives, but often have difficulty in providing concrete reasons to the business.  If your organization is looking for more reasons why good information management is valuable, two recent cases provide some great reasons:

  • If you have an information governance policy, it may help you to defeat a claim for sanctions even if data has been deleted; and
  • If you don’t have an information governance policy, and you delete data that was subject to compliance requirements, the lack of a policy can help to establish the bad faith necessary to award sanctions.

Diligence As A Shield

In Danny Lynn Electrical & Plumbing, LLC v. Veolia Es Solid Waste Southeast, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62510 (M.D. Ala. May 4, 2012), the plaintiff requested sanctions for the defendants’ alleged failure to properly implement a litigation hold.  Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that defendants had deleted nine email accounts and kept in place an auto-delete function which removed email from the trash after 10 days.  They also alleged that the defendants improperly sent notifications to employees on legal hold that they should continue to delete email messages to comply with email account size limitations.

The court found it significant that the defendants had deployed an email archive to capture all of its email messages.  (Interestingly, the court did not discuss or make any findings about how the archive had been setup, configured or managed).  In addition, in finding that there was no bad faith (a requirement in the 11th Circuit), the court found it important that defendants “began using a software system that archives all emails”:

The court’s impression is that the defendants have expended great effort to insure that the plaintiffs receive information from both their live and archived email system by providing document review technology and allowing access to its database.  All of these factors added up to the court finding that no sanctions were warranted.

Lack of Diligence Can Be A Final Straw

The flip side to the protection offered by information management can be found in FDIC v. Malik, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41178 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2012) where the court also considered a spoliation motion for the deletion of emails.  The email messages related to a law firm’s prior representation of a mortgage company.

In determining whether bad faith was present to enable sanctions, the court noted that the subject email messages were required to have been preserved not initially for litigation hold, but under compliance requirements — professional responsibility and ethical rules.  The court found that retention under the compliance requirement was especially important to this case:

A regulation requiring retention of certain documents can establish the preservation obligation necessary for an adverse inference instruction where the party seeking the instruction is ‘a member of the general class of persons that the regulatory agency sought to protect in promulgating the rule.  The court held off on a final decision pending an evidentiary hearing.

Being Proactive With Information Management

We all know that litigation holds are difficult to implement and are almost never perfect.  Sometimes something bad actually does occur– a custodian is inadvertently omitted, a handful of emails are lost.  But more often, nothing bad happens at all.  Still, even in those cases it can be difficult (and time-consuming and expensive) to fight off the other side’s claim that something “must have been lost.”  A good information management policy, with tools and education to enable it, can go a long way towards showing good faith and protecting your organization from harm.


Welcome to Inside the Partnership (EMC/MSFT): The Podcast: Episode #6 for May 22, 2012: #EMCWorld 2012 in Conference Update and Microsoft Teched Preview

Live from #EMCWorld 2012 the 6th edition of Inside the Partnership: The Podcast touched everything Microsoft at EMC World and a preview of Micorosft Teched 2012. Follow me on twitter @EMCMSFT

Inside the Partnership (EMC-MSFT) Podcast #06 - EMC World 2012 in Conference #EMCWorld and Teched 2012 Prep with Adrian Simays

Inside the Partnership is your link to happenings, events and news between the EMC and Microsoft Partnership. The Inside the Partnership Podcast is designed to complement the Inside the Partnership Video series and take a deeper look at current topics and happenings.

Coming at You Live from EMC World!

Coming to you live from EMC World…what an amazing show so far! Yesterday the conference opened with EMC's Mega Launch II – a wave of new products announced including an update to the Symmetrix VMAX family, Isilon's OneFS and their X400 node as well as updates to VPLEX, VNX, Iomega and more! What do these announcements have in common? EMC products are faster, scale higher and are more cloud ready than ever before!! To see the full update, keynotes and other information visit the Mega Launch home page! You can also visit Virtual Geek's excellent blog recap of many of our product announcements.

Yesterday we had a full day of Microsoft activities! Our friends from Microsoft gave a presentation overview of the Private Cloud Fast Track program, a pre-configured private cloud based on Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center 2012. EMC is working with Microsoft as part of this program and has two solutions that have been announced as part of the fast track program (more information coming soon!). By partnering with Microsoft, customers can buy a pre-configured Microsoft cloud solution with EMC storage and various server vendors.

There were also many Microsoft related sessions yesterday including Disaster Recovery for SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups with RecoverPoint, Designing and deploying SQL Server 2012, Leveraging EMC VFCache with Microsoft Mission Critical applications and several others on SharePoint, SourceOne archiving and much much more!

We also opened the Solutions Pavilion where some of EMC's Microsoft Specialists and I are supporting the EMC Microsoft Solutions booth (booth 112). We have over FIFTY demos of EMC products and solutions for Microsoft technologies. Here you can meet the experts who design our reference architecture guides and best practices papers or the people responsible for developing applications to integrate with Microsoft or the field specialists who deploy Microsoft applications with EMC!

Later today we will also have theatre presentations in our booth including one from EMC on Best Practices for Virtualizing Microsoft Applications at 3:30 and another from Microsoft on Windows Server 2012 features (you don't want to miss this!!!) at 4:15!

Wow – and that's just the tip of the iceberg! One of the major announcements this week is from our Backup and Recovery Division where we have a new update for Avamar including extended support for Microsoft Hyper-V, multi-stream backup expansion for faster backup of Microsoft applications, support for Microsoft and SQL Server Availability Groups and much more! Stay tuned for an extended blog on this topic!

Lots of Microsoft Related Activity at EMCworld 2012! Special Thank you to Microsoft – a Premiere Sponsor of EMCworld!

Time flies … It seems like yesterday that we were at EMCworld 2011.  EMCworld is ready to roll in Las Vegas next week and we have quite a lot of activities related to Microsoft and their latest technologies…. While EMCworld 2011 was quite the impressive event – Rumor has it EMCworld 2012 will be even better!

First – a big thank you to Microsoft for once again being a Premiere Sponsor.    I encourage you to attend their session entitled “Microsoft:  Understanding Microsoft Fast Track Advantage for Microsoft Private Cloud”.  This session will provide an overview of the Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track program, the program/methodology to accelerate deployment of Microsoft Private Cloud. This program delivers the fastest path to private cloud via pre-validated configurations from Microsoft and EMC including reference architecture and design principles for compute, network, storage and management including Microsoft System Center 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V.  It’s Monday at 4pm.  Please check your guide
for room location and any updates!

Additionally, EMC is offering a plethora of sessions related to Microsoft Technologies….check out the EMCworld session catalog for more information. www.emcworldonline.com   

Plus, we have a packed demo area in the Solutions Pavilion!   You can meet with the EMC experts on everything Microsoft. Many of their blogs you on this site….Plus Microsoft has a booth there as well!

Also..….Did I happen to mention the Customer Appreciation Event & Concert by Maroon 5…. Finally – I’m cool with my nieces!

Finally – Not To worry if you can’t make it to Vegas-…. you can participate online! Visit the EMC World Community

Finally …Finally… after EMCworld… we are heading to TechEd in Orlando June 11 – 14th…. EMC is once again a Platinum sponsor.. more details coming soon!

My EMC World Session Agenda: Bigger and Better… Microsoft & FLASH!! (I need more time!)

There is no better way to describe EMC World than “Bigger and Better”, 13,000+ record attendees, WOW!!!   In my now annual ritual, I do some research going into the conference. Just like last year, I wondered what session I should attend to get the latest information on EMC/Microsoft Integration. For EMC world 2011, I found 17 sessions dedicated to, or referencing, Microsoft Applications. This year is even bigger. A quick search of the EMC World 2012 agenda yields 25 sessions with Microsoft related content. Fortunately, most of the sessions are repeated. Adrian Simays recently posted a great recap of the Microsoft related sessions on his blog at Virtual Winfrastructure.  There’s no need for me to relist them here.

EMC World 2012It’s also interesting to note that Microsoft is a Premier Sponsor of EMC World 2012, just like last year. You can expect to find more details of the Private Cloud Fast Track Reference Architecture as introduced at the Microsoft Management Summit and reviewed here at Inside the Partnership.

One of the big keynote announcements last year at EMC World was VFCache, the PCIe server based cache solution designed to dramatically increase application IO while maintaining protection. Performance AND Protection! I blogged about the SQL Server performance increases back in February.

A year later, the customer adoption has been outstanding. So, what’s all the fuss about?  Find out at EMC World.  There are 4 Sessions and a Keynote dedicated to EMCs VFCache, and Flash strategy… I would expect some announcements at the conference.  Stay tuned for more details.

Introduction to VFCache (Monday 8:30-9:30 and Wednesday 4:15-5:15)

This session provides an introduction to different ways in which Flash technology can be used inside the server, specifically PCIe-based EMC VFCache. It covers the performance considerations and best practices which should be followed to get optimum performance from server-based Flash technology. This session also covers the different ways in which EMC storage systems like Symmetrix VMAX and VNX interact with these Flash-based solutions in the server.

Leveraging EMC VFCache with Enterprise Applications (Monday 4:00-5:00 and Thursday 10:00-11:00)

This session describes how EMC VFCache can be leveraged with enterprise applications like Oracle, SQL Server, and Microsoft Exchange. This presentation introduces various VFCache deployment scenarios for enterprise applications and also provides some best practices to maximize performance benefits. This session also shares the results from various benchmark tests done at EMC Application Performance labs in both physical and virtual environments.

Leverage VNX for Your High-Performance and High-Bandwidth Microsoft SQL Server Applications

This session discusses how you can leverage the VNX platform to deliver predictable and sustained performance with the VNX unified storage platform for your high-bandwidth SQL Data Warehouse / Business Intelligence requirements. Solutions including VNX all Flash array and VFCache are discussed. Best practices around deploying SQL data warehouse on VNX are also discussed as well as how you can leverage VNX with the Microsoft SQL Fast Track program to get a balanced repeatable deployment design.

Birds-of-a-Feather: Implementing Flash Technologies and Cisco UCS in Mission-Critical Application Environments

This BoF session explores the ways customers implement Flash technology to improve performance in mission-critical application environments. The session will also discuss how customers are implementing Cisco UCS to deliver higher performance computing needed in a virtualized data center environment. Customers will have the ability to review how EMC’s new VFCache and EMC Flash-enabled storage systems dramatically improve application performance.

KEYNOTE: Flash Deconstructed: Understanding The What, Where, Why, and When of This Mega-Hyped Movement. (Thursday 8:30-9:30)

Keynote with Steve Duplessie In this session, Steve will overview the various Flash technologies - those available now and those on the horizon - and the potential each technology offers. Steve will drill into implementation and technology options and what users can expect from each - where they work, and where they don't. Users will leave the session with a better understanding of how Flash will evolve and gain insight on what to expect from the industry - along with what questions to ask prospective vendors.

Even more interesting is “Area 51” (Tuesday 5/22 at 2:45) Check your agenda.  Even as an internal EMC Blogger, I can’t find any details! What could that be about?  You’ll get them after, that’s for sure!

Look for me at EMC World.  Follow-me on Twitter @EMCMSFT for all the latest updates, and   check back for Videos and Podcasts from EMC World.