E-mail archiving on track for rapid growth

By Heidi Biggar

It’s clear that the e-mail archiving market will continue to grow rapidly over the next few years. But what is less certain is what form the market will take as the lines between e-mail archiving, content management, records management, and backup and archive continue to blur.

“I ask this question of vendors and users all the time, and everybody seems to have a different opinion,” says Julie Rahal Marobella, senior analyst, records and compliance infrastructure, at International Data Corp. (IDC) market research firm.

It’s anybody’s guess whether e-mail archiving will end up in the content management, records management, or backup/archiving product segments, according to Marobella. Although basic e-mail archiving capabilities are currently available in products from all three categories, research firms such as IDC and The Radicati Group generally do not include revenue from these three market segments in their e-mail archiving market forecasts.

“They’re not pure-play e-mail archiving products such as those from KVS, Zantaz, etc.,” says Sara Radicati, president and CEO of The Radicati Group research firm, about content management and records management vendors such as Documentum and Interwoven. The e-mail archiving features of these products are basic, at best, according to Radicati.

The Radicati Group defines e-mail archiving as “the long-term storage of e-mail (both messages and attachments) in a separate file store, with easy search and retrieval capabilities.” This contrasts with long-term storage products and content management and records management products, which generally lack the breadth of features that pure-play e-mail archiving products provide, according to Radicati.

Currently, vendors are tackling the problem of e-mail archiving/management from all directions, as evidenced by the recent string of acquisitions in these market segments. IDC claims that there were more than 40 mergers and acquisitions in the records/content management space during 2003 and 2004.

There has also been a lot of acquisition activity in the e-mail market. For example, EMC acquired Legato-for its backup and e-mail archiving capabilities-as well as content management provider Documentum; Hewlett-Packard acquired Persist Technologies; Open Text, a provider of content management software, picked up IXOS; Veritas acquired KVS; and Zantaz purchased content management provider Educom.

Analysts expect more acquisitions along these lines in the coming year. In particular, iLumin, a provider of enterprise management tools-including e-mail archiving-may be a prime acquisition candidate, according to Radicati.

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iLumin, which has partnerships with IBM for content and records management and BT Syntegra for outsourcing, added an e-mail storage management tool to its core product-Assentor Enterprise-last year. The company says that its approach to e-mail archiving/management differs from that of other pure-play vendors-such as KVS, Legato, and Zantaz-in that it is rooted in content/records management rather than storage.

“We started off with regulatory management and compliance and added storage to it,” says Mike Gundling, senior VP of product marketing at iLumin. By doing so, Gundling says users benefit from the core product’s archival, discovery, and search capabilities, and they aren’t limited to the type of storage they can use.”

Just how much of a difference this makes to end users is up for debate. “I wouldn’t say that it makes one vendor stronger than another,” says IDC’s Marobella. “However, we are starting to see e-mail archiving vendors bringing more of the discovery and supervision modules and functionality into their products.”

“I don’t think any of these things are that important to users,” says Radicati, “but there are some differences in how the products do searching. Some may have better modules than others.”

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As with storage, content management, and records management products, the trend in the e-mail archiving market is to make products more intelligent so that users can more easily store and retrieve e-mails from archives for regulatory compliance and litigation purposes.

“You’ll see more use of search technology and content management tools going forward,” says Marobella. “Vendors are trying to put more intelligence into solutions whether it’s at the policy or search level.”

What does this mean for end users? With all the acquisitions in this space, is it best to buy e-mail archiving software from your current content/records management software vendor, from a “pure-play” e-mail archive vendor, or from your storage vendor? The answer, says Marobella, depends on “what the customer is looking for and how that gels with the products vendors are offering.”

“Just because a content management vendor may have an e-mail archiving product it doesn’t necessarily mean that the two products are fully integrated on the back-end,” says Marobella. “A lot of this [meshing of technologies] is happening through acquisitions, which means there is still a lot of back-end integration work to be done. So there’s no guarantee that you’ll end up with any more integration than what you’d get from point products.”

Analysts also caution users about the tendency to build “silos” of records management, e-mail archiving, and content management. The problem: lack of communication among the individuals responsible for these business areas.

“A lot of people who have implemented e-mail archiving have no idea what the rest of the company is doing for content management,” says Marobella.

According to IDC, the e-mail market grew from $100 million in 2003 to $180 million last year. The Radicati Group sized the market at $177 million last year. Radicati expects the market to increase to nearly $2.5 billion by 2008.

Both IDC and The Radicati Group point to storage capacity growth, regulatory compliance, and litigation support, in no particular order, as drivers in this market (see figures).

At A Glance

E-mail archiving vendors*
Archive-IT (Connected), IBM, iLumin, IntelliReach, IXOS, KVS (Veritas), Legato (EMC), Persist, Zantaz, ZipLip

Content management/records management vendors with e-mail archiving capability**
Documentum (EMC), Hummingbird, IMR/Captaris, Interwoven/iManage, MDY, Advanced Technology, Mobius/eManage, Open Text/IXOS/Gauss, Tower Software, Zylab

* Partial list. Compiled by InfoStor.
**Compiled by IDC.

This article was originally published on January 01, 2005