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Wednesday, October 17, 2007 The new e-discovery burden

Eric Sinrod, a partner at Duane Morris and columnist about technology and legal issues, wrote in his recent post some of his thoughts on the one-year anniversary of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) amendments. I wanted to highlight one statement about the onerous burden FRCP puts on mid-size organizations:

... Parties in a lawsuit can now demand from each other word processing documents, e-mails, voice mail and instant messages, blogs, backup tapes and database files. [...] Failure to comply with these sundry electronic production obligations can lead to serious sanctions, sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars.
Our #1 goal is to provide our customers with the most cost-effective archive solution possible. Meeting compliance and storage resource management goals should not be a "budget busting" expenditure.

Developer Power

A hearty shout of thanks and appreciation to the Sonian engineering team.

Our smart, industrious engineers are working some code magic with our new release.

Jeff, Dick, Tim, Bira, Efren, Pravin, Shivika, Max, Roberto, and Anders.

Keep up the good work! We really appreciate your hard work.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fuzzy Math? DIY Archive versus Hosted

David Berlind posted an excellent article on his ZDNet blog about Google's $50/yr all-in-one communications and collaboration platform, and how estimating costs for running your own messaging server is hard to determine. It's definitely an exercise in "fuzzy math."

Does payback on email alone make Google Apps’ $50/yr. worth it? (Docs, etc? That’s icing) by ZDNet's David Berlind -- Whenever I talk about doing something crazy like using Google Apps instead of other office suites, a conversation that’s usually driven by my beliefs about computing in the cloud, there are some number of ZDNet readers that chalk it off to insanity or a momentary lapse of reason. Or, maybe I forgot to take [...]

Sonian is proving that operating your own archive in your own data center is more expensive and distracting than using a best of breed hosted provider. That's because we can offer low (less than $5) fixed pricing per user per month with unlimited storage.

Our data center partners, software design and distributed architecture provides the reliability and security you desire for all your digital assets. Sometimes the Do it Yourself approach is best, but in the archiving case, where storage management and personnel costs are always rising, we can do a better job for you for less cost that you can with a "Do it Yourself" approach.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ruling: Schools must archive eMail

Corey Murray, Senior Editor for eSchool News, reports about new federal rules that went into effect Dec. 1, 2006 requiring schools, businesses, and other organizations to keep tabs on all eMail, instant messages (IM), and other digital communications produced by their employees.

With more school district business being conducted online now than ever before, school technology leaders should know about new rules flowing from a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Experts say the rules--which require schools and other entities to archive eMail, instant messages, and other digital communications written by their employees--could force administrators to rethink eMail storage policies and take stock of existing technologies to ensure compliance.
Local communities are straining to fund their education programs because federal assistance and flat or declining property taxes contribute less money to school budgets. School boards across the country should be searching for the most overall cost effective solution for an archive service in order to ensure maximum budget dollars can be used for essential education programs. Hosted archive services cost less money over three year periods when compared to appliance or installed software solutions.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Email Archiving Services Trend Up

Byte And Switch wrote an article quoting IDC analyst Laura DuBois's comments on the increased interest in hosted archiving. The summary is customers are more willing to outsource email archiving instead of doing it themselves.

According to analyst Laura DuBois of IDC, hosted services now comprise 40 percent of an overall email archiving market that reached $477 million in 2006 revenues. And while the ratio of services to email archiving products isn't clearly changing, spending on services will grow just as fast as product spending -- over 40 percent this year, IDC expects.

Some users have compared services to products and find it economically more viable to go with the hosted approach," she says. The shorter implementation time, truly imperative when litigation looms, often tips the scales in favor of services, she notes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Recap: FRCP Phase 2 Requirements Begin EOY 2007

Listen to this audio podcast from NPR which describes the new FRCP rules that took effect in 2006 and phase two begins is due for 2007.

Listen to this story... by

Morning Edition, December 1, 2006 · New rules take effect that help companies decide how many e-mails and other digital items they have to keep in case someone sues them and demands the documents be brought to court. Even small companies can generate millions of digital documents in a very short time, and systems for managing them can be expensive

States Launching E-Discovery Rules

The National Law Journal posted a great summary about new e-discovery regulations individual states such as Idaho, New Jersey implemented last year as well as new rules for Indiana, Minnesota, Montana and New Hampshire starting this year. These state's rules are meant to augment Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) requirements.

E-discovery costs are naturally a key concern. Organizations in these states will want to implement the most cost effective e-discovery solutions available. Sonian Archive SA2 is a solution created to minimize archiving and e-discovery cost burdens.

Waves of state court systems are adopting electronic discovery rules as local lawyers struggle with the costs and uncertainty of e-discovery in an expanding range of cases.

Most of the states' rules were rolled out amid debate about the electronic discovery amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which kicked in on Dec. 1, 2006.

New rules in Idaho and New Jersey took effect last year, while rules in Indiana, Minnesota, Montana and New Hampshire began this year. Arizona's rules are effective starting on Jan. 1, 2008. Proposed rules are on the table in Maryland, Nebraska and Ohio. In addition, committees at the California, Illinois and Tennessee courts and the Washington State Bar Association are studying the issue.


Also, smaller firms are wrestling with the issue of cost, such as searching the country for experts on long-obsolete programming languages.

Practitioners are still struggling with the price tag for producing electronically stored documents, such as reviewing a computer hard drive, said David Herr, who heads the appeals department at Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand in Minneapolis and serves on a rules committee for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Last Lone Inventor Returns

Today I met with a friend to talk about a few topics: Our progress at Sonian; our mutual passion for carrier-grade service architectures; and his new start up which is building a very interesting hardware/software VoIP offering for the consumer and SOHO market.

I was intrigued how a relatively small team of bright engineers and creative marketers was going to design, build, distribute and support a consumer focused VoIP product in less than eighteen months. The answer I found out is there is a whole world of best of breed outsource manufacturing, supply chain management and technical support services available to start ups who want to build the next great device. And for which no factories have to be built, warehouses maintained, or support centers staffed to launch the product. Building and distributing a hardware device no longer requires the resources of a GE or Dell.

Which leads me to the title of this post and the reason for writing. Evan Schwartz, in his book The Last Lone Inventor, which is the fascinating story about Philo T. Farnsworth and the invention of television, tells the tale of a genius inventor who figured out how to make television work when all the other parallel efforts by others to create TV were failing. Ultimately RCA squashed the genius and stole the patents, and during this era (1940's) we can see a shift in where innovation was originating. It was no longer economically feasible for a "lone inventor" to create anything substantial. The future innovations would be developed by engineers working in big corporate laboratories.

Well times our changing. It's now possible for the solo or small team innovator to create great things by leveraging the resources of specialized business that have figured out how to make money basically "taking care of the details" and nuances of building electronics.

Amazon Web Services is the Internet's version of this same concept. Amazon has figured out there is great potential in being the "factory" to co-create the next wave of Internet innovations.

Google Integrates Postini Enterprise Features in Apps Premiere

Yesterday Google announced Postini's enterprise-class messaging security features will be available to all Google Apps Premiere customers. This is great news, since Sonian has been using GApps Premiere since the services was first available, and the new Postini security capabilities are always valued. In addition to beefier security and 25 Gb of storage, GApps subscribers will also be able to pay an additional yearly per user fee to archive their data. A Google product manager says:

The price of the archiving add-on varies dramatically but generally starts at $150 per user per year, Glotzbach says.
Sonian will be offering hosted email archiving for GApps Premier customers at dramatically lower prices - about one-third to one-quarter the cost - with the additional benefit of data stored at nine physically separate, world-class, hosting centers. And the Sonian privacy policy and system architecture keeps customer data encrypted and stored separately from other customers. It's great the audience will have a few choices for their hosted archiving needs.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Practical Lessons: How to avoid costly email archiving mistakes

Byte and Switch posted an informative article The Biggest Email Archiving Errors that offers some practical advice on email archive issues.

The number one issue discussed is "Storing too much information"

A frequent problem involves the storage of what some sources call "bacn," or email that's not personal but isn't spam, either. Examples include newsletters, advertisements from companies with relationships to the sendee, various HR emails, and so forth.

The answer to bacn may be the same as the answer to spam, which is filtering. Several service providers claim to offer solutions, including Zantaz (now Autonomy), Fortiva, and MessageGate. According to MessageGate, 10 percent to 30 percent of email is bacn that winds up clogging the inbox and negatively impacting search results.

Filtering is a wonderful idea, if only the technology was mature enough to guarantee that a critical email that should be archived does in fact get saved. There are too many conditions where a "smart" filter can't decide conclusively whether an email is "bacn" or not, and the resulting queues that require too much human oversight add an additional burden to IT departments that already have too many projects to manage.

Sonian believes effective email archiving shouldn't be difficult or expensive. Our goal is to provide a cost-effective, secure, reliable hosted platform to archive every message for as long as required. Our infinite archive storage system is designed from the ground-up to operate with this philosophy. We provide easy to use search capabilities that work fast regardless of how many messages are stored. And our pricing includes unlimited storage.

Archiving requires a defensive position mindset. When you're playing defense, as is the case when you are the IT department dealing with auditors and the legal profession, you can't afford to slip up even once. Archive everything, and use smart search technology to find exactly what you need.

Sonian uses smart filtering technology to streamline search results rather than keeping an important email from being archived at all.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Mass High Tech Profiles Sonian

George Nichols and I are profiled in this week's (10/1/07) online and print edition of Mass High Tech. Many thanks to Mass High Tech editors for inviting us to share the Sonian story with them. Onward and upward!