E-mail Archiving Spurs Gold Rush

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E-mail archiving start ups are like wonder drugs — the latest and the greatest one pops up just about every other week. For a while, the field appeared to be consolidating: KVS bought by Veritas/Symantec, iLumin pairing up with CA, Iron Mountain getting Connected, and many others. So with the big boys muscling in, how could there be room for new e-mail archiving vendors?

“The e-mail archiving market is growing quickly, which attracts new vendors that want to win a piece of the market, sort of like a gold rush,” said Mike Fisch, an analyst at the Clipper Group.

Just this week, the number two e-mail archiving vendor Zantaz (Symantec is number one, according to IDC) was swallowed up by Autonomy Corp., an enterprise search and infrastructure management software company from England. This deal, in effect, underscores the direction the archiving market is taking. Zantaz can now leverage Autonomy’s IDOL technology, which enhances its e-discovery capabilities and accelerates product development of features such as conceptual search and analytics across new unstructured data types like audio and video.

“This acquisition comes at a time when companies are recognizing that the ability to retain, classify and quickly extract meaningful evidence from terabytes of e-mail, documents, spreadsheets, audio, video and other unstructured data for compliance and litigation purposes is key to the success of their business,” said Steve King, Zantaz’s CEO.

IDC analyst Laura DuBois said e-mail archiving was vertically focused and application-specific a few years ago. Regulated industries like financial services and securities brokers, in particular, had compliance concerns that required the retention of client e-mail communications for specific periods of time.

“More recently, electronic discovery of evidence on digitally stored data has become a significant factor,” said DuBois. “Thus, archiving has expanded its scope and is becoming more of a horizontal market.”

She gave the example of a large bank that had three people dedicated to electronic discovery just three years ago. Despite fantastic technological advances, that same bank now employs 60 people for this function due to the sheer volume of electronic discovery requests it receives.

DuBois said e-mail archiving is expanding into other types of content — SharePoint, general files and even blogs, which now have to be kept for legal reasons in some companies.

Thus vendors who may have been good in compliance and archiving now have to encompass other areas such as discovery/search, mailbox management and disaster recovery (DR).

For those that excel, the rewards are great. According to IDC, the archiving market has a steady 25 percent annual growth rate. And as some of the established vendors are bogged down in what could be characterized as legacy technology, the new kids on the storage block are quick to seize new opportunities with more scalable or far-reaching products.

Mimosa Systems is a case in point. Its Mimosa NearPoint for Microsoft Exchange Server 3.0 unifies e-mail archiving, DR, storage optimization and electronic discovery. One system can scale to tens of thousands of mailboxes.

“Mimosa enables archive creation and harnesses a separate e-mail server for DR,” said DuBois. “Over the next few years, we will see more and more convergence of backup and archiving, and Mimosa serves as a good example. It has been growing at about 400 percent per year.”

Products Galore

CA is another player in this field. CA Message Manager is based on ILumin’s Assentor product line and has been extended through integration with CA Information Governance technology. It includes message management, archiving and discovery technology acquired from iLumin as well as e-mail archiving and records management from CA Records Manager. It supports Exchange, Lotus Notes, GroupWise, SharePoint 2007 and Oracle Collaboration Suite. It can also provide failover, load balancing and business continuity.

“Replication can be performed either natively within the storage platform — such as EMC, HDS or NetApp — or if the customer prefers, with a separate replication solution such as CA XOsoft WANSync,” says Eric Lundgren, vice president of product management for CA’s Information Governance solutions. “CA’s completely hardware- and repository-agnostic messaging management offers unmatched speed, accuracy and simplicity.”

CA Message Manager Enterprise — including Mailbox Management, Discovery, and Corporate Supervision — is $95 per user. CA Message Manager Supervision for Financial Services, however, is $190 per user. CA Message Manager with mailbox management for Microsoft Exchange, Novell GroupWise or Lotus Notes is $53 per user. CA Message Manager with mailbox management and Web Access (or archive-only access) is $53 per user.

ArcMail Technology of Shreveport, Louisiana, is another e-mail archiving and search vendor. ArcMail’s Defender does full text indexing on both the body of the e-mail as well as attachments. DR capability is accommodated by installing two Defenders, one on-site and the other at a DR site. Mail is journaled to both Defenders, giving them identical copies of all mail. Defender also supports standard file backup and restore processes. Prices range from $3,000 to $35,000.

“As a complete e-mail archive network appliance, everything you need to securely index, store, and search mail for all members of an organization is on one device,” says Dean Richardson, CTO of ArcMail. “The ArcMail Defender line of products is easy to install, easy to manage and easy to operate.”

Rich Rewards

IDC sees huge potential in the worldwide e-mail archiving applications market. Building on growth of 45 percent in 2006, IDC expects the market to approach $1.4 billion in 2011, with a five-year compound annual growth rate of 23.4 percent.

DuBois expects the next five years to see e-mail and other content archiving solutions converge, as firms continue to focus on managing information versus infrastructure. She also expects to see further vendor consolidation. The flurry of archiving start-ups, it seems, will eventually give way to a few key players dominating the market.

“The best technology will get acquired and the big vendors will establish dominance over the next few years,” said DuBois. “These firms need a broad archive strategy based upon many different types of content, as distinct from the current norm of having one archive product for e-mail and another for files.”

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Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

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