Originating Author: David Floyer
Email archiving shows up as the tip of the iceberg when it comes to managing, securing, and exploiting the unstructured data within an organization. While some are trying to integrate the pieces into a single solution, no vendor has articulated a credible and scalable technology road map to achieve this. Today’s email archiving products can largely be viewed as point solutions that either focus on infrastructure data problems (e.g. EMC's Centera, HP’s RISS), or attempt to solve end-user problems (e.g. Symantec for archiving, Attenex for e-discovery or Merrill for e-discovery services). Each solution does either the infrastructure well, but fails to provide adequate function for the user, or provides the function without adequate performance, scalability, or ability to integrate with other unstructured data in the organization. The companion piece on the vendor implications of Email archiving discusses the reason why there will be a bifurcation of products that will concentrate either on data infrastructure or on end-user function. New highly parallel architectures such as those implemented in Google’s innovative file system point the way, but the future is unclear.
Action Item: In designing strategies for unstructured data, IT organizations should avoid strategic dependence on products that try and integrate the infrastructure and end-user function within the same solution. The likelihood of success in the long run remains very limited. Short term tactical adoption of these products is necessary, but the business case should assume a cost of migration to other products within five years.