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Autonomy Zantaz automates file classification, data deletion

An e-discovery suite from Autonomy Zantaz can help companies stay in data compliance by automating the processes of data classification and data deletion from storage repositories.

Autonomy Zantaz has released a software suite to help customers automate the process of data classification and delete data in storage repositories for the purposes of compliance and e-discovery.

The Autonomy Information Governance suite consists of modules layered over its IDOL search platform. The software suite includes a workflow engine, a policy engine and management modules for data disposition, compliance and legal holds.

The data disposition module automates information lifecycle management (ILM) files throughout the data center or at multiple locations. The module can classify files based on metadata information, changed-block analysis and proprietary search algorithms that match patterns of data in documents, images, video and VoIP. After performing that classification, the software can also automatically generate a plan to manage the retention and eventual deletion of a file.

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Autonomy Zantaz is the name of the division created back in July 2007 when U.K.-based enterprise search software company Autonomy Corp. PLC acquired records management provider Zantaz Inc. Nicole Eagan, chief marketing officer for Autonomy, acknowledged that, when it comes to data classification, customers are often wary of full automation. "The software allows users to modify automated processes at any time," she said. "It also allows them to dial up or dial down the level of automation so they can manage things mostly manually or completely automatically."

Another aspect of the product's classification mechanism is in the compliance module, which can identify copies and near-copies of information. According to Eagan, the purpose of this is "so you don't think you have something deleted, but you actually have nine copies and near-copies sitting somewhere else." A series of dashboards for each management module will also display the amount of duplicate or near-duplicate information, as well as the amount of information on legal hold, if applicable. The legal hold module will also automate notification and creation of data custodians, based on a company's existing access control structure.

Eagan said that companies getting into archiving for the purpose of classifying specific information, such as messages or unstructured data, have the right intention but could still be taking a risk. "Many users have rewritten or updated information management policies," she said. "But especially at global organizations, when it comes time to be audited, they discover, for example, that not all emails have been deleted according to policy, or they haven't taken into account anything outside a specific archiving repository."

Brian Babineau, an Enterprise Strategy Group analyst, agreed. "Storage folks need to understand that it's about using the information, not just storing it effectively," he said.

A recent Forrester Research report named Autonomy Zantaz the most advanced compliance and archiving product. But many storage vendors are building in automatic policy management, as CommVault Systems Inc. did with a similar, but scaled-down, legal hold option in the latest release of its Simpana suite.

Autonomy Zantaz focuses on compliance and archiving, but has been criticized for a complex licensing scheme. Eagan declined to quote even a ballpark price for the new Information Governance package, saying that the pricing depends on too many variables.

Babineau said Autonomy has struggled to make its value proposition clear to the market. "My impression of Autonomy is that they have good technology and made some decent acquisitions," he said. "However, they are too scatterbrained in the market. You can innovate fast and build the best products, but if you cannot properly educate the customer, it really doesn't matter."

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