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According to Whatis.com an archive is a collection of computer files that have been packaged together for backup, to transport to some other location, for saving away from the computer so that more hard disk storage can be made available, or for some other purpose. An archive can include a simple list of files or files organized under a directory or catalog structure (depending on how a particular program supports archiving).
Today's archiving tools are among the most cost-effective and least complex storage technologies. In most instances, archiving tools are used for e-mails and databases. In both cases, the tools enable users to migrate data between different tiers of storage so that less-relevant data can be retained on lower-cost storage. Since the contents of an archive are fully indexed, they can be searched by customized search tools. This makes the retrieval of data simpler and faster and can help companies protect themselves in legal or compliance-related cases.
Key vendors and products:
When it comes to e-mail archiving, users have a couple of choices on how to go about it. The first choice is to develop and internal service on their own e-mail servers. The leaders in this area include KVS Inc., iLumin Software Services, Inc. and EMC/Legato. Some up-and-coming vendors include AXS-One and IntelliReach.
The other option is outsourcing your e-mails. Zantaz is emerging as a leader in this market. They started as a hosted service provider, and in the last six months acquired Educom TS Inc., a provider of email archiving products, and SteelPoint Technologies, a provider of litigation management software. Iron Mountain also has a hosted e-mail archiving service to complement to its traditional records management and archiving service. More recently, Connected Corp., a leader in protecting data on desktops, has launched an e-mail archiving service.
Innovations and trends:
Peter Gerr, analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), points to two key archiving trends: the expansion to more broad content like word docs and spreadsheets and an increase in litigation support software.
The first of the growing trends, expansion of data to be archived, has been neatly coined enterprise message archiving or EMA. Included in EMA are not only emails, but instant messages, text messages and other forms of electronic communications. Enterprise content management (ECM) vendors like Documentum (acquired by EMC), FileNet, IBM and others provide the ability to manage this broad array of content. ECM has not caught on in most companies but the need is still there, said Gerr.
"EMA vendors are adding file system support into their tools that will allow them to apply the same lifecycle functions to other types of content like word documents, spreadsheets and images," said Gerr. "This is the content that people create as part of their jobs, but that is very difficult to manage over time."
The other major archiving trend -- underscored by Zantaz's acquisition of Steelpoint -- is EMA vendors providing tools that search for, locate and produce electronic data as evidence in court cases. "This doesn't get the coverage it perhaps should as it's a business issue," said Gerr. "But IT departments are being drawn into the litigation discussions and company records are being scrutinized more than ever."
The industries that are regulated the most are financial services, healthcare, insurance and life sciences. "But the unique aspect of EMA is that it's the rare IT solution that has benefits for everyone," said Gerr.
More information on archiving
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