By Kevin Komiega
—Symantec is beefing up its digital archiving software with a new level of automated data classification, broader support for upcoming Microsoft applications, and support for a variety of enterprise content management (ECM) platforms. Enterprise Vault 7.0, slated to ship next week, automatically manages, stores, and discovers e-mail and collaborative content according to retention and compliance requirements.
"Archives need to become more aware of the content that they are holding. Our automated data classification feature allows users to set rules and policies and enables them to search and find information intelligently," says Art Gilliland, senior director of product marketing at Symantec.
What makes Enterprise Vault 7.0 smarter than the average archiving solution, according to Gilliland, is its Automated Classification Engine, which theoretically reduces archive size and search times by categorizing and retaining e-mail based on 50 pre-defined rules.
End users can also configure their own rules and policies based on business or regulatory requirements using the software's User Classification Engine. This tool can classify all e-mail as each message is created or read by the user directly in Microsoft Office Outlook.
With Enterprise Vault 7.0, Symantec is also widening its breadth of support for applications and content. "Market demand is driving us toward extending our archiving capabilities to other file types and content beyond just e-mail archiving," says Gilliland.
The software will now be able to handle data from several popular ECM platforms. Enterprise Vault 7.0 can perform retention management for ECM platforms while storing, searching, and securing the content. The software initially supports EMC Documentum, IBM DB2 Content Manager, Open Text LegalKEY and LiveLink, Oracle Stellent Universal Records Manager, and CA MDY FileSurf, on top of existing support for Microsoft SharePoint and CA MDY.
Vivian Tero, a senior research analyst at International Data Corp. (IDC), says automated classification is the next wave in content archiving, but it still needs some work.
"Automated classification is not new, but it is a good feature. A lot of e-mail archiving vendors are moving in this direction. But there are natural language limitations to the technology," says Tero.
Today's automatic classification technology only captures about 60% of its target content because of these limitations. That's where customization helps offset the technology's shortcomings, according to Tero. "Having the combined capabilities of automatic classification and user-defined customization is good, especially in next-generation archiving solutions," she says.
Support for ECM is also key. "A lot of these developments are being driven by customer needs. One of the major concerns of the large enterprises is a lack of tight integration between content management and archiving systems," says Tero.
Part of Symantec's success has historically been tight integration with Microsoft software. To that end, Enterprise Vault 7.0 supports archiving for all of Microsoft's soon-to-be-released applications, including Exchange Server 2007, Windows Desktop Search (WDS), Windows Rights Management Services (RMS), and native capture for Live Communication Server, which will facilitate archiving of all corporate IM traffic without routing through Exchange to reduce server load.
A number of new administrative features have also been built into Enterprise Vault to streamline the management process. For example, the software uses secure, roles-based administration to delegate common tasks to first-line administrators while controlling what each administrator can do within the infrastructure. Granular provisioning capabilities enforce different archiving shortcutting and retention policies for users with varying requirements, and reporting and monitoring features provide automated, Web-based, customizable diagnostics and dashboards for tracking the health and usage of the archive.
Enterprise Vault 7.0 pricing for Mailbox Archiving for up to 25 users with one year of support starts at approximately $40 per user.
In a related announcement, Symantec is bundling several of its products into a single software suite called Symantec Information Foundation 2007.
The Information Foundation bundle includes Enterprise Vault, Enterprise Vault Discovery Accelerator, Enterprise Vault Compliance Accelerator, Symantec Mail Security 8300 Series, IM Manager, Information Foundation Mail Security for Exchange, Mail Security for Domino, and Web Security for Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA).
"The integration and delivery of this bundle of technologies under the Information Foundation 2007 umbrella provides a single product SKU and a single price point per user, per year, for solutions focused on mitigating risks," says Symantec's Gilliland.
Information Foundation is available as a single enterprise license and is priced on a subscription basis, at a starting price of $95 per user, per year, with volume and multi-year discounts available.