Symantec updates Enterprise Vault archiving software

Multisite data reduction, offline access to archived data and new e-discovery features are among the updates Symantec's making this week to Enterprise Vault.

Symantec Corp. gave its Enterprise Vault archiving software a facelift this week with the introduction of new multisite single-instancing, offline access and e-discovery features.

For customers with multiple archives in one location for different departments or spread out geographically, Enterprise Vault 8 will allow global single-instancing of files across those separate repositories. This will be accomplished through MD5 hashing that creates a fingerprint of each item in the archive, which will then be checked against metadata indexes within each archive before the item is stored. The fingerprint is also used to retrieve the archived items. For more efficiency in data reduction, Enterprise Vault will split up messages and their attachments within the archive.

Reinoud Reynders, IT manager for Belgium's University Hospitals of Leuven and an Enterprise Vault customer, said the new version will improve single instancing considerably.

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"By splitting the mail into separate parts … you will have a better single instance. When I receive … mail with [an] attachment, and I forward the attachment to someone else, it will now save it just as one item," Reynders wrote in an email to SearchStorage.com. "Even more impressive is the single instance between different vaults … it works also between mail, file servers and SharePoint. With this feature, the chance is high that I'll turn on journaling because it will not cost me much extra storage."

End users will also have offline access to their archived Exchange or Lotus Notes emails because of a new feature called Vault Cache. Local copies of the users' archived emails will remain on their workstations and the Vault Cache will be synchronized whenever that workstation is connected to the network. Vault Cache will also use Microsoft's Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) to optimize upload and download of information during synchronization.

Another new synchronization feature for end-user mailboxes has Reynders most interested. "In the 'old' version, when a user moved a shortcut to an archived item to another folder … it stayed in the original place in the archive," he wrote. "With EV8, this item will also be moved in the archive."

The Enterprise Vault Discovery Accelerator add-on will now be operated from a Web-based client interface. The add-on provides search and indexing for e-discovery and litigation support data, and integration with popular legal review tools. The Web interface will also include new features to expedite the information review process within the archive, including a conversational view of email threads, search within a search and rules-based bulk message marking.

Mike Miller, director of information security for Media General, uses his 2 TB Enterprise Vault for temporary archiving of Exchange emails and files that are involved in litigation. "We're hoping the new features in Discovery Accelerator, like guided review, will make the legal review process quicker," Miller said. "Our goal is to get the lawyers in and out as quickly as possible. The faster they can get their job done, the easier it is for us."

Miller would like to see Symantec add bulk deletion of data after a particular case has ended. Granular data retention and data deletion policies can be set, but this must be done at the beginning. Retention is predicated on setup structure and how the file was categorized and tagged from the outset. The ability to bulk-delete manually after the fact would speed up the post-litigation process because the end of litigation is hard to predict, Miller said.

Reynders added that the Vault already has integration with desktop search tools, but he'd like to see formal integration with enterprise search tools, such as Microsoft's Search server.

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