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Enterprise Archive and E-Discovery Scalability via Case Studies

Leading industry analysts have found that enterprise data (ESI) continues to growing at a over 60% annually with over 80% of that data being unstructured content (IDC, 2009). To manage the tremendous volumes of user generated content, organizations are well suited to turn to unified archiving/E-Discovery solutions that will scale not only in terms of data under management but also in terms of performance across the board including ingestion, search, disposition, preservation, and export. This post will focus on some scalability metrics while I will discuss how scalability can drive efficiencies in future posts.

At ZL Technologies, we pride ourselves on providing the most scalable and technically advanced archiving/E-Discovery solution; however, that message can often get lost when verifiable results give way to unverifiable marketing claims. After reading about a recent archiving/E-Discovery vendor’s scalability claims, I decided to compare their published case studies with Vivian Tero‘s IDC customer case study on ZL Unified Archive. To be fair, I decided this study should only cover generally available, published case studies. The vendor’s largest deployment case study mailbox numbers generally say something along the lines of the customer had x number of users but did actually mention that many mailboxes were archived or under management; however, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and used the highest number provided. Even so, the results were astonishing:

Now that I have your interest, let’s take a closer look at this ZL customer case study.

The Competition

This customer was a sophisticated firm which already had an email archive in place. Nevertheless it performed a vendor evaluation with the major vendors and eventually selected ZL:

Bank Holding Company wanted a solution that could address its compliant message archiving, eDiscovery, supervision, and mailbox management projects. It evaluated the on-premise email archiving solutions from the following vendors: Symantec, Autonomy (ZANTAZ), CA, IBM, EMC, Unify (AXS-One), and ZL Technologies. Bank Holding Company conducted an onsite evaluation on the feature sets it required and employed a third-party organization to certify the search and retrieval performance of the email archiving applications in the short list. After a thorough and complex evaluation process, Bank Holding Company eventually decided upon ZL Technologies. The Bank evaluated the email archiving products and eventually selected the ZL Technologies Unified Archive solution

The Problem

There were several problems; however, one particular pain was the length of time it took to extract messages from the system for E-Discovery.

eDiscovery search and retrieval was increasingly becoming an operational issue. The organization’s eDiscovery team had to conduct searches across individual mailboxes, messaging archives, and backup tapes. With this approach, the search and export of 1.5 million messages took six to eight weeks to complete. Bank Holding Company was looking for a more efficient solution.

With ZL Unified Archive, exporting 1.5 million messages can take less than a day with a moderately sized system and I have personally performed this task with the EDRM Enron Data set consisting of 1.3 million messages.

The Requirements

The requirements were multi-faceted which I will cover in more detail in a later article.

  1. Integrated workflows and technical support for compliant archiving and retention, supervision, mailbox management, and eDiscovery
  2. Legal hold case management and fast search and retrieval
  3. Support for both Domino and Exchange environments
  4. Support for virtualization and Oracle databases
  5. Vendor flexibility and support
  6. Strong customer references

Successful Deployment

With ZL Unified Archive, the bank was able to solve their E-Discovery problems successfully and efficiently.

The Bank was archiving over 6 million messages a day, of which 2.5 million were archived into WORM storage for FINRA/SEC compliance. As of the publication of this document, the Bank had ingested over 2 billion messages to support more than 173,000 mailboxes.

The eDiscovery team uses these self-service features to enforce the retention and legal hold policies. There are currently over 78 million messages on legal hold within the ZL Unified Archive. Also, the eDiscovery team is using the self-service features to conduct investigations and legal searches.

Further Reading: The IDC Case Study

Read more about what I think is one of the most exciting email archiving and E-Discovery deployments in the IDC ZL Unified Archive case study.

IDC Case Study: Email Archiving & eDiscovery at Bank Holding Company using ZL Unified Archive

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