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Monday, December 24, 2007

Mind the (E-Discovery) Gap

As we head into the new year, below are some enlightening FRCP trends on how organizations are choosing to deal with searching electronic documents.

One-fifth of companies surveyed admit that their business has opted to settle a lawsuit to avoid the cost of recovering and searching through electronic documents.

47% of respondents also admit being uncertain that their legal team can effectively review relevant e-mail in the 99-day window allowed under the law.

51% say they have implemented or are planning to implement search and review technology for e-mail.

37% are already enforcing a formal retention policy for e-mail, while another 40% are currently in the planning stage to enforce a formal policy.

Another 36% of respondents are currently planning to create and enforce a formal "litigation hold" process for e-mail and other data.

37% of respondents conduct more than 21 searches through old e-mail to gather information for legal reasons each year.

Nearly half of respondents (40%) report that their organization searches through e-mail five or more times each year in response to a formal legal discovery request.

35% are not confident that e-mails are fully reviewed to ensure attorney-client privilege is not waived before being sent to opposing counsel during discovery.

Of those who are familiar with the costs of litigation, more than half (51%) claimed the average cost of litigation (excluding settlement costs) was over $200,000, with 8% putting the average cost over $1 million.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New study finds most organizations lack email policies

A new market research study conducted by Osterman Research for MessageOne finds that more than 65 percent of U.S. businesses remain unprepared to meet strict court requirements for the discovery and handling of electronic evidence. This is not surprising given the current archiving product landscape.

Sonian hears from many organizations their reluctance to deploy an on-premise installed archive solution is based on initial upfront costs for hardware, software and installation fees. When you layer on storage infrastructure to support terabytes of data stored securely and indexed for 3, 5, 7, and 10 year retention periods, installed archiving ownership costs rise dramatically.

It's time for a fresh approach to solving this "man-made" problem. Implementing an archive solution shouldn't be a budget-busting hardship for any organization.

We will be making some pricing announcements very soon that will prove our point.

Study finds 1U appliance servers are "power hogs"

Sonian decided to create its next generation archive platform on reliable and efficient cloud compute infrastructure. At the core of cloud compute is a virtualization layer that maximizes physical hardware resources. Our decision to adopt this approach is not only good business sense for us and our customers, but is also one small step toward saving a lot of electricity. And despite your views on global climate change, you can't argue against saving energy and processing data in a more efficient manner.

The study goes on to say:

“These (1U) servers are cheap to buy but consume a lot of energy and their utilization is pretty low,” said Jonathan Koomey, project scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and consulting professor at Stanford University, who recently conducted a study on the power requirements for servers. “The utilization is below 20 percent and we really need to focus on virtualization to get more from these boxes.”

According to his estimates, volume servers, or the low-end devices that include the pizza box servers, consumed over 50.5 billion kilowatt hours in 2005, up from 19.7 billion kWh in 2000. That number surely must have increased by now. From 1996 through 2006, the sales of volume servers jumped from 1.41 million units to 7.282 million units, according to information collected by International Data Corp., a market research firm.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Amazon SimpleDB is an awesome metadata repository

Amazon recently announced their new SimpleDB web service. SimpleDB is a revolutionary new "hosted" database service that offers performance, reliability and scalability based on Amazon's work over the past ten years perfecting non-stop, 24x7 IT operations.

Sonian has been under non-disclosure about SimpleDB, but now that the service is publicly announced we can finally talk about how we use it to manage the metadata for our hosted archive.

Historically, managing the object metadata for an email archive has always been the Achilles heel for many archive solutions. In the past, typically a SQL database is paired with a file storage system to create the archive data storage system. But SQL is not the best place to store message metadata considering the semi-structured nature of the email data type. SimpleDB allows us to solve the metadata problem more elegantly and efficiently than current archive vendors can with their SQL server designs.

I will post more information about Sonian inner-workings over the next few weeks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

2007 "Top 10" IT Concerns - Storage and Compliance of course

Jason Hiner posted on his Sanity Check Blog this article The 10 biggest headaches of 2007 for CIOs and IT managers.
2 of the Top 10 IT concerns relate to themes near and dear to Sonian's raison etre: Storage and compliance.

8. Storage creep

With an increasing body of data going direct to digital and larger multimedia streams being a more frequent part of the data load, storage needs are exploding for lots of organizations. Many of them have designed their data systems for scalability, but even those are being stressed much sooner than expected in many cases. The storage crunch will not abate any time soon. Beyond just throwing more resources at the problem, there is a sore need for better storage optimization solutions to handle all of the duplicate data on most networks.
5. Dealing with compliance

From HIPAA to Sarbanes-Oxley to FERPA to PCI, compliance issues have engulfed many IT departments and have taken a big bite out of IT budgets because of the staff resources it takes deal with compliance. Many IT departments are struggling with how to integrate compliance activities into regular operations and/or get additional funding for compliance activities.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy FRCP Anniversary? Sonian is here to help ease the burden

FRCP - the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure - debuted December 2006. Information technology departments across the nation groaned with the burden of yet one more compliance issue to manage. 2007 brings new changes, and a renewed focus to find the most cost effective, simple, reliable way to "get compliant."

Below is some background information and an update on the 2007 amendments.

The amendments were applied to Rules 16, 26, 33, 34, 37 and 45 and targeted at ESI. The amendments defined a new reality in how email is stored, retained and produced when called for. The amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are available at http://www.uscourts.gov/rules/newrules4.html.

Since the FRCP changes, the discovery of email for litigation has become a critical component of legal inquiries. In the past, organizations had to rely on much riskier manual processes to sift through enormous amounts of enterprise data located on production servers, backup tapes, removable media and desktops spread throughout the company. This approach left companies vulnerable because of the sheer volume of emails and files that must be found and sifted through with no assurance the information needed could be uncovered to meet legal requirements. To address the enormous drain on corporate resources, companies are adopting content archiving solutions to automate eDiscovery and rapidly uncover responsive email, files and other data in a cost effective manner to reduce costs and ensure compliance.