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Autonomy 'Discovers' Virtualization

Enterprise search vendor Autonomy has added new eDiscovery capabilities for virtual environments to its Autonomy Zantaz Introspect software. Autonomy said the new feature in Introspect makes it the first to offer automated search or discovery in a wide range of virtual environments, including VMWare, a process that usually requires a time-consuming, manual set of steps, if it's done at all.

So-called eDiscovery is particularly relevant to companies that need to be government regulations such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), which states software must be able to find and hold all information relevant to litigation, including more complex file types such as virtual images, multimedia attachments, voice, video, IM and Blackberry messages.

Autonomy acquired Zantaz, a specialist in content archiving, last year for $375 million.

"What's been happening in eDiscovery is that there was a focus on searching e-mail, and then attachments like PowerPoint presentations, and then multimedia attachments and even voicemail, all of which our IDOL platform can handle without any problem," Nicole Egan, chief marketing officer at Autonomy, told InternetNews.com.

"Now there are legal requirements that you have to be able to search everything, including virtual servers, which is a hard process and many companies have just ignored doing it," Egan said.

Egan said Introspect has over 1,000 connectors to different file formats and has the broadest, automated solution for eDiscovery. The virtualization discovery feature is an add-on that requires a separate license for Introspect customers to activate.

Egan admitted in a phone interview that she isn't aware of a legal case where a defendant was specifically asked to produce content stored in a virtual environment, but said it's only a matter of time.

"It's an education process," she said. "I can see prosecutors start to ask if information provided as part of the discovery process includes a company's virtual environment. As soon as it becomes part of case law the interest will explode."

Egan is at the Legaltech tradeshow this week in New York where Autonomy is showing off its new eDiscovery features.

IDC analyst Sue Feldman said Autonomy was already a leader in providing search to a number of rich media formats and the additions to Introspect stand to improve its position.

"For large companies this isn't just something nice to have, but something they could be legally required to provide in the case of public companies," Feldman said. "Some companies dithered at first about Sarbanes-Oxley because the regulations weren't clear. But now it's quite clear that you're required to keep records and be able to search voice and email as well as all other communications."