The purpose of archiving is becoming more than simply facilitating smaller email stores, faster response times or better use of expensive storage capacity. The growing driver behind archiving is to enable organizations to implement information governance. In this second blog entry in my interview series with C2C System’s CTO Ken Hughes, Ken explains eDiscovery and retention management are becoming the new driving forces behind archiving and why C2C’s ArchiveOne is so well positioned to respond to that trend.
Charles: How has archiving changed from the past?
Ken: The world of email archiving is evolving. Traditionally people are archiving for either capacity reasons or compliance reasons as about 70 percent of our business is pure play archiving.
This does not mean they are doing only PST management. They are doing compliance management. They are doing discovery. They are doing retention. But it is all at a fairly simplistic level.
But there is a lot more going on that is moving us toward a new world of information governance. In this world the overriding desire is for discovery or retention management.
We have some very large customers today who say the driver has come from corporate counsel. They do not want to keep emails for more than a certain period. They will define this type of email for one type of retention period; if it is another type of email it is this retention period. This has been the driver for our business and it is that part of our business is increasing.
Although it is email archiving, the driver for it is coming from discovery management or retention management. Life is changing in information management and information governance. These drivers are starting to come more and more to the forefront of customers’ requests.
The core problems of archiving and email management C2C Systems essentially solved years ago. C2C developed a product called “Max Compression” which is the ability to automatically zip and unzip attachments which is invisible to the user.
C2C sold this to very advanced technology companies who could not get enough bandwidth or storage to satisfy their users. The max compression also sold very quickly to the big oil companies, telecom companies and silicon chip companies, who said we have to get more power to our users so that’s what we delivered. This sort of technology has been embedded in ArchiveOne for many years.
Everything we have done since have focused on around improving life in terms of managing the email system while at the same time not making life any more difficult for the end user. The user has a business to run and he/she does not want IT or IT applications interfering with the operation of it.
Charles: Are there other patents wrapped around any of the compression technology that you’re using?
Ken: No, C2C actually uses zip technology. Within zip C2C actually just changes the icon when it sends the zip file so the user would not see a Word icon on his desktop and believe it was a real Word document. It is in fact a compressed Word document with the idea being that a user never has to call a help desk.
C2C had a deal with Nestle in the works where it delayed its initial evaluation of the pilot roll out as our product generated two calls to the help desk on the first day. At that time C2C had not done a good job of hiding everything. It took us almost a year to get that deal back in the pipeline as Nestle wanted no change in the user interface so that nothing user saw was going to worry him.
Charles: So how do email archiving products themselves differ? From my own research I know there is quite a bit of difference between them.
Ken: Every archiving vendor will tell you it does discovery, retention, manage the repositories, and has good administration. But the level of sophistication varies between those vendors.
If you were just given a tick list, 20 competitors will say, “Yes, we do that.” If you were to then score their features, some will get 1 out of 10 and some will get 8, 9, and or even 10 out of 10. In our view, we score the 8, 9 and 10 out of 10 on all those points.
C2C has been doing this for 10 years during which it has been on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. Its level of sophistication stacks up completely against Symantec Enterprise Vault which is widely recognized as the market leader. C2C has no problem taking it on and no problem beating it technically.
There is one differentiator between competitors which C2C sees as the ability to discover data. Low end vendors just go and grab data from the email system and information store, they archive it, and then do a fairly low grade level of discovery and retention management and archiving features.
Symantec Enterprise Vault can go and find information on its information store. If you provide and point it at the PSTs where the PSTs are on the final server on the corporation network, Enterprise Vault can ingest those PSTs into their archive and do sophisticated management of the data.
C2C’s biggest differentiator is it does not care where the PSTs are located. PSTs may be scattered anywhere. C2C has done a lot of work in recent months or even the last couple of years around PST management.
C2C believes that somewhere in the region of 30 to 40 percent of PSTs exist on people’s desktops or laptops. C2C’s competitors go and find them but if they can’t find them, they can’t ingest them. In fact even if they could find them, all of their processes are about ingesting them from a known location with that known location having to be a file server. C2C can find them and make the admin aware that those PSTs exist.
The other differentiator is C2C can look at the age of the data inside of the PST and then make a decision as to whether or not to ingest it into the archive. Our competitors, even if given the PST, ingest all the data into their archive. They then examine it and say, “Look 95 percent of it i’s more than 5 years old, past our retention period, so let’s delete it.”
C2C’s view is to look at the PST on the desktop and say, “95 percent of the data is more than 5 years old, past the retention period, so let’s just delete it now.” C2C will therefore only incur the pain of ingesting 5 percent of the data.
C2C’s view is that in the real world data exists everywhere. PSTs may have been restored to a file server of which the company was completely unaware. This PST may belong to a former employee so it may have no association to any living employee in the company.
In Part I of this interview series, Ken discusses C2C’s focus on Microsoft Exchange and which size environments C2C’s products are best positioned to handle.
In Part III of this interview series, Ken discusses C2C’s policy management features and the granular ways in which users may manage deletion in their data stores.
In Part IV of this interview series, Ken examines how C2C performs search across distributed email and file
systems and what techniques it employs to establish data ownership.
In Part V of this interview series Ken explains how C2C manages archival data stores.