As eDiscovery Costs Decrease, Volumes Increase

In a recent Law.com article, Jason Krause discusses a paradigm shift in eDiscovery. Technology is simplifying the discovery process and the per tape/GB price has been reduced. But the volume of data being considered for discovery is growing. So the overall cost of eDiscovery projects and the size of the eDiscovery market is expanding. Back when Zubulake was first ruled on, social media, audio and video files, and other such data types were not in the eDiscovery mix. But they are today. The eDiscovery market still grapples with what is considered burdensome. Index Engines technology has made tape discovery quick and affordable. According to Krause’s article,When is an E-Discovery Burden an Undue Burden?, the terms of the burden argument are changing. Index Engines and our partners certainly know that tape is no longer a dead stop. Implementing 1 TB/Hr indexing, large volumes are easier than ever before too. However, the scope of enterprise data is boundless, making the burden a changing but still relevant argument.

Freedom to Choose – Data Migration Made Easy

Organizations often live for years with their backup software vendor, even if over time the vendor may not be the best choice for the organization. As time progresses the needs of the organization may change, the cost and maintenance fees for the backup software may become unacceptable, or the functionality may fall behind when compared to new offerings. Companies may want to change their provider and upgrade to a new backup solution that better meets their needs. However many companies feel locked into their current provider. “Locked” because they have significant volumes of historical data contained on tapes created using their current provider’s solution. Migrating to a new backup solution makes this data inaccessible, a risk no company wants to face.

What if there was a way to break free of this risk, and choose the backup strategy that meets the organizations needs today, rather than living with the choice from yesterday? Index Engines recently authored an article on this subject for Computer Technology Review entitled Backup Data Migration Made Easy. In this article, Jim McGann outlines how organizations can avoid the risk of switching to a new backup strategy. By leveraging indexing technology that allows the search and access to backup data regardless of format, enterprise IT teams can now get at historical data without having to maintain the legacy backup infrastructure. This access can be used to migrate valuable data into an archive of their choice. Or simply serve to provide access after the organization switches to a new backup strategy. Either way – the choice is there, enabling freedom to choose a backup strategy that matches current needs.

Tape Discovery at 1 TB/Hr/Engine

Index Engines recently announced the enhancement of its 3.2 platform to include support for simultaneous indexing of multiple streams of data from backup tapes. This new functionality dramatically increases the ability to process large amounts of tape data within tight time constraints. Processing up to six simultaneous streams of tape data and reaching speeds up to 1TB/hour is now possible. Combining Index Engines’ automated approach toward tape discovery at these high speeds makes enterprise tape remediation and large scale eDiscovery projects cost effective and achievable.

With the direct indexing speed for tape data increasing six-fold, enterprise tape management and remediation projects have become even easier. Index Engines’ platform enables enterprise IT and litigation support teams to deduplicate, deNIST, search and extract tape data at speeds approaching an unprecedented 1 Tb/Hr/Node rate that has been validated for LAN data indexing. Large scale tape discovery enables the practical remediation of historical backup tapes. Index Engines’ complimentary tape assessment program shows how organizations can save millions in annual offsite storage costs and return their investment in Index Engines in less than one year. Read the full press release here.

Direct Indexing Beats Restoration

The traditional method of getting data off tape has been to restore the content. Restoration uses the original backup software to remove data from tape and bring it back online in order to begin the discovery process. Direct indexing and extraction is a more intelligent process. This process was invented by Index Engines and it significantly streamlines the collection of ESI from tape. Extraction does not require the backup software to access tape content. Additionally, extraction leverages the index to understand data at a file and email level. Using direct indexing and extraction you can review the contents on tape, find relevant content and extract what is interesting from tape. Direct indexing is a non-invasive scan of the tape that allows intelligence to be obtained about the contents; files types, dates, custodians, etc… Extraction allows the selection and specific content to be gathered. Restoration requires you to restore data first before you can find the relevant content. It’s a radically different process. The benefits of extraction over restore are clear savings of both time and money.

Off the Shelf EDD Tools Examined

Jason Krause, writing for Law.com, recently published an article encouraging a closer look at how the over 600 eDiscovery solutions on the market are built. While some argue that fancy bells and whistles make the solutions slick, Krause dives into the technology supporting these tools. Index Engines‘ Jim McGann contributes to this article with details about the limitations of Lucene, the common open source code many vendors are using. Index Engines, using patented purpose built technology, far exceeds the capabilities of the open source platforms. After all, bells and whistles are useless if the underpinnings of the platform aren’t up to snuff. Read the full Law.com article here.

Case Law Cites Index Engines

The courts are starting to understand the benefits of using Index Engines in the collection of ESI, especially from backup tapes. In the recent case, Goshawk Dedicated and Kite Dedicated v American Viatical (Case No. 1:05-CV-2343-RWS Document 506 filed 12/08/2009) the judge issued a report on the production of ESI in support of the case. The original collection was to be focused on approximately 1TB of online data, however the decision was made to perform this collection on backup tape. The reasons given were, “backup tapes (a) would provide a more direct and economical route to responsive ESI vs. searching the online data. (b) would entail considerably less business disruption. The court also went on to direct the use of Index Engines for the collection of ESI for this case.

The fact that courts are now mandating the use of Index Engines for collection of ESI from backup tapes versus online data show how far we have come with respect to the inaccessibility argument. In the past many cases have argued backup tapes are burdensome. Now we see cases where tapes are not cited as burdensome, but are in fact determined to be less burdensome and more economical when compared to online ESI collection.

Partnership Streamlines EDRM Implementation

Index Engines and Venio Systems recently announced their partnership aimed at delivering an
end to end EDRM e-Discovery solution. The combination of these technologies handles eDiscovery from the identification phase through the production phase of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model.

Index Engines and Venio Systems are complimentary solutions. Index Engines provides broad identification and collection capabilities, including support for extraction of content from backup tapes. Venio FPR provides best of breed early case assessment and review capabilities on data collected by Index Engines as well as their own ingestion tools. As such, we have developed a joint go to market strategy that provides a comprehensive EDRM solution. Prior to working with Index Engines, Venio Systems collection capability was limited to online data – backup tape data had to first be restored. Additionally indexing speeds were limited to 30 – 40 GB per hour. In partnering with Index Engines, Venio FPR can now support direct identification and collection of ESI from backup tapes without restoring the content, and also index large volumes of ESI at speeds up to 1TB/hour depending on the network environment. Index Engines will benefit from Venio FPR’s cutting edge early case assessment and review capabilities.

Index Engines and Venio Systems will partner on joint sales and marketing activity in order to promote the benefits of a comprehensive end-to-end EDRM platform. Read the full press release about this partnership here.

That’s The Way The Burden Crumbles

The eDiscovery industry is watching the burden argument erode. eDiscovery service providers are critical to the delivery of ESI to the courts, and must be prepared to perform ESI collection regardless of location. Saying that proprietary environments, such as backup tapes, are not accessible is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Legal teams that use this strategy are exposing themselves to sanctions and fines. Recent 2010 rulings are substantiating this.

First Judge Scheindlin found the plaintiffs in the University of Montreal pension fund case to be grossly negligent for lapses in the preservation and collection of responsive electronic documents. The Judge went on to order the collection of data from backup tapes to those plaintiffs that attempted to cite the burden argument. Read the full opinion here.

Just recently released was the opinion from the Starbucks vs. ADT Security case, where ADT attempted to use the burden argument citing $834,285 to collect five custodian mailboxes. The court found this claim exaggerated and declined to find the information at issue “not reasonably accessible” and ordered the production of the ESI.

The new white paper published by Jeff Fehrman of Integreon shows the real-world data behind this erosion. Performing discovery on the same set of tapes, first in 2005 and again in 2009, Integreon documents the differences in speed, time and cost, then vs. now. Considering the time consuming restoration and manual analysis need in 2005, the burden argument was a valid claim. This new white paper demonstrates that the implementation of discovery technology from Index Engines which nets a 50% savings in time and 75% savings in cost for the same tape discovery project. Integreon’s metrics illustrate that the burden has truly been undone, and why the arguments still claiming it are crumbling. Read the full Integreon White paper; E-Discovery for Backup Tapes: How Technology is Easing the Burden, here.

Backup Tape Access – Doing a 180

Craig Ball, noted forensics guru, just published an article in Law Technology News that caught our attention. In this article, The Lowdown on Backups, Craig states that backup tapes have a bad reputation stating, “Backup tape has long been the poster child for ESI deemed “not reasonably accessible… you can’t search backup tapes unless you restore them, and everyone knows it’s a slow, laborious and expensive task.” However since Index Engines has come into the picture Craig is taking the position that “sometimes backup tapes will be the easiest, most cost-effective source of ESI.”

What happened is Index Engines automated the process and eliminated expensive, time consuming tape restoration. Craig recognizes Index Engines contribution stating, “The most striking progress in working with data on tape is seen in tools such as those from Index Engines, which index and deduplicate tape on-the-fly.” Getting the word out is helping generate tape processing activity for Index Engines and our partners. With the new understanding that tape data is as accessible as online data, we are seeing the shift in the perception of historical backup tapes. As Craig states in the article, “we may have reached the point where backups are not that much harder or costlier to deal with than dispersed active data, and they’re occasionally the smarter first resort in e-discovery.” Read the full Law Technology News article here.

LegalTech Buzz

The LegalTech show in New York this week was a great event all around. The general consensus from everyone that we spoke with was that the eDiscovery market seems to be on the upswing from any sort of lull there may have been last year. The isles were crowded, the prospects were qualified and the conversations were serious.

And the hot topic or constant theme that we saw in the Index Engines booth was consistently, “Wow!” We heard more than once, “What can’t you do??” When telling folks what was new, about Index Engines full support for Lotus Notes, people voiced appreciation for how difficult a hurdle that was to clear. The news of Index Engines validated 1 TB/hr/node processing speed, again and again met with people asking, “How fast?”, “For full content indexing?” And then there were also the people who were encountering us for the first time. We demo’d the product for an eDiscovery service provider who was so excited about indexing his clients tapes, instead of outsourcing these projects, that he kept tripping over his words.

The concept of making data truly discoverable is Index Engines’ mission. The Unified Platform – LTN’s Best New Product for 2009 – is making that happen. The partners, prospects and even competitors who visited our booth at LegalTech this year, saw that true enterprise class information discovery is on the very near horizon.