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Storage vendors teaming up to streamline e-discovery process

New alliances among storage and legal compliance vendors are giving storage administrators faster ways to retrieve data for litigation in the e-discovery space.

Two partnerships among storage and legal compliance vendors were created this week to offer streamlined data retrieval for storage administrators in need of litigation support.

Attenex Corp. has linked up with data classification vendor StoredIQ Inc. with the goal of creating a repeatable e-discovery workflow to make it easier for storage administrators to find relevant information, while CommVault Systems Inc. has teamed up with Index Engines Inc. to offer more efficient restores of litigation data from tape.

Attenex offers legal review and production software, as well as managed services. StoredIQ's information collection software can be connected directly into the Attenex system through scripts, according to Mike Kinnaman, Attenex vice president of marketing. Kinnaman left the door open for deeper integration between the two products, saying that depends on customer acceptance of the solution.

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According to analyst Brian Babineau of Enterprise Strategy Group, the partnership between Attenex and StoredIQ reflects changes in the e-discovery space, something storage administrators should be aware of. "Storage users usually have to get involved in the e-discovery process when no one knows where their data is," he said. "They should be aware of tools that could make the process easier and cut down on the handling and manipulation of information."

The scripted link between the software from Attenex and StoredIQ could do both, he said. StoredIQ's product can reduce the amount of information sent to expensive legal service providers by identifying relevant data. The ability to send StoredIQ search results directly to Attenex would simplify the chain of custody by reducing how often data must be converted and produced for analysis.

According to one legal consultant, even legal service providers have problems culling massive data sets. "The market is changing," said Ed Pfromer, senior managing director for FTI Consulting. "The amount of information that is legally discoverable is skyrocketing, and the existing process of shifting everything to a third party is really not sustainable."

Using software tools like these could also cut down on the amount of work IT and storage personnel must do with each new litigation request, according to Babineau. "Instead of having to look at every laptop, export relevant data to a file system, archive that file system and then search it for relevant information, IT users can follow a shorter, repeatable process," he said. "If they're working for a highly litigious company, they can also save information from searches in legal context."

Since January, many storage administrators have finally started paying close attention to the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), according to Babineau. he said, "One third of organizations in our research have dedicated IT staff for e-discovery at this point, and it's growing."

CommVault and Index Engines: Tape to disk conversion

CommVault is the latest archiving software vendor to partner with Index Engines, whose claim to fame is processing tape archives for e-discovery. Index Engines also sells a tape extraction software module that can streamline the restore of specific data relevant to litigation from tape. Index Engines will now process data from tape archives to a format that can be managed by CommVault's Simpana archive.

Babineau termed the potential combination of the tape extraction feature with Simpana's archive "intriguing." He said, "Most general counsels tells us that most of the data requested for litigation at this point is 36 months old or older." Most large organizations have thousands of tapes, "and maybe a sense that the relevant data could be in a given set of 200 or so."

Being able to do a quick search in Index Engines to find out exactly which tapes to restore could save a lot of time. "Restoring 200 tapes to find three emails isn't like finding a needle in a haystack," Babineau said. "It's like trying to find a needle in a barn full of hay."

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