Over the last year and a half, IT executives have come under a barrage of new government compliance regulations to improve their data retention policies. These new requirements also have spurred storage vendors to embark on new product and service strategies targeting information life-cycle management (ILM). The Yankee Group suggests these new product directions for vendors will extend from solving customers' immediate compliance requirements to tackling broader content and records management problems. This emerging market sector will be information management, the art of combining content and storage management to better manage corporate information and content.This report examines the storage side of this nascent market, featuring an overview of what is included in data life-cycle management and how key vendors' first-generation offerings measure up. It also discusses what customers should consider when developing their information management strategies. This is the first in a series of reports on the subject.Without aligning with content management software or services, the storage-focused IM market will be made up of a mix of existing products repositioned for this requirement as well as new, specifically designed products. Hardware, software, and services will target compliance in the short term and broader information management issues over the next 4 to 7 years.Enterprise customers will drive market growth by adding new data retention policies to address compliance over the next several years. The compliance demand will be short term because enterprises must meet government regulation deadlines. However, customers also will start to deploy different forms of utility computing during this time. It is likely that customers will weave information management strategies into their buying process to get a better grasp on corporate content.Our IM forecast overlaps a number of other storage forecasts, including content storage systems, data management, enterprise storage resource management and storage professional services. Vendors will reposition a significant number of products and services to take advantage of customer demand. This forecast does not include revenue from integration with content management, or professional services that focus on business process around compliance (that is, only storage-focused compliance consulting).The road to information management will take a significant amount of time to travel. However, enterprise customers must start evaluating their planning processes today because any buying decision for storage systems or software will affect a storage life cycle and information management strategy. There will be a lot of jargon, marketing promises and industry buzz about information life-cycle management in the coming months and years. Enterprise buyers need to be dubious of soup-to-nuts vendor strategies in the short term, given significant concerns about lock-in. For this reason, customers should benchmark vendors based on their abilities to deliver not only best-of-breed products (including integration with third-party storage management tools), but also flexible architectures that will allow easy migration.