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Legal toolkit for storage systems

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There's currently no all-encompassing ediscovery tool on the market. Here's a guide to some tools that cover different parts of the process.

More than 300 vendors touted their ediscovery tools at the LegalTech conference in New York City in early February, and visitors were hard-pressed to sort them out. Even analyst firm Gartner Inc. appears daunted by the prospect of wading through this abundance of specialty software, services and outsourcing. "There are over 1,000 vendors who label themselves ediscovery," says Debra Logan, a Gartner research VP and author of "Market-Scope for E-Discovery and Litigation Support Vendors, 2007."

Vendors are besieging storage managers with tools that promise their version of a get-out-of-jail-free card. While storage managers won't actually face jail for data management shortcomings--the new rules apply to civil litigation--they may be hauled into court to testify about how data is stored in their organization. With Logan's Gartner ediscovery Magic Quadrant still a work in progress and only the "eDiscovery Vendor Landscape" report from Cambridge, MA-based Forrester Research Inc. to go on, corporate IT is on its own when trying to determine which ediscovery products best fit their storage environment and needs.

Don't expect the big platform vendors to come up with a comprehensive solution any time soon. EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard

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(HP) Co., IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. are sticking their toes into the ediscovery market, but are mainly hunting for acquisitions. For example, EMC and IBM purchased enterprise content management tool vendors Documentum and FileNet, respectively. And Microsoft acquired enterprise search product vendor FAST Search & Transfer ASA. None of these products, however, represents more than a piece of the ediscovery toolset.

"I don't know if there will be one end-to-end solution. Ediscovery is really broad and heterogeneous," says Vivian Tero, program manager, compliance infrastructure at Framingham, MA-based IDC.

The best place to start the tool selection process, analysts and vendors agree, is with the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM).

This was first published in May 2008

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