Booming Archiving Market to Evolve Beyond E-mail

Compliance mandates and efforts to better document business interactions are helping to more than triple the $1.7 billion market for e-mail archiving technology by 2012 — while also setting the stage for dramatic change in the space, a study finds.

As e-mail archiving swells to a booming $6.6 billion market within four years, it’s also undergoing a sizable shift away from its roots, according to a new report from the Radicati Group, an analyst firm.

Far from simply storing old e-mails, archiving products are morphing into multifaceted solutions, helping enterprises develop knowledge databases and improve customer service.

For one thing, enterprises are seeking to cope with the threat of a deluge of data. A recent study by Enterprise Strategy Group found that businesses’ archived data could exceed more than 30 petabytes by 2012, or more than 30 million gigabytes.

Part of the reason for this surge in storage needs is that businesses’ retention requirements are moving beyond simple e-mail. More often, they need to store far more types of communication, ranging from images to instant messaging.

Specialized solutions like e-discovery tools are also gaining momentum, according to Radicati. There are also data-loss prevention tools that can thwart sharing of noncompliant messaging.

Not surprisingly, growing enterprise needs are drawing increasing attention from brand-name vendors and startups, Sara Radicati, the firm’s president and CEO, told

“Customers have more choices and we expect to see more storage vendors come into the market,” she said.

At the moment, the space is dominated by large players like Symantec, HP and Zantaz, which search vendor Autonomy bought last year.

Research firm IDC identified Zantaz as the global market leader in content archiving and electronic discovery solutions — although Symantec, HP and Zantaz are all in fairly close contention for the crown in an increasingly fragmented market.

Even as market leader, Zantaz holds only about 25 percent market share as of 2007, IDC reported.

Exactly how businesses deploy their archiving solutions may be in for a change as well, Radicati said. More than 76 percent of all archiving offerings are now on-premises solutions, but hosted solutions are gaining favor beyond their core user base of small to mid-sized organizations.

Reluctance for a hosted solution has typically been due to concerns about data being offsite, Radicati said. But now, larger companies are looking more favorably on hosting, thanks to its often-lower costs and ease when it comes to deployment.

“There are no real downfalls,” Radicati said. “The main concern is security and privacy as well as a sort of loss of control. Much of this is paranoia rather than based on facts.”

“Other issues have been that hosted services were not always up to par with on-premises solutions,” she added. “This is changing now.”

Despite the burgeoning choices in vendors and niche products, picking the right tool for the job shouldn’t be rushed, Radicati said.

“There are many different business needs out there and the chosen solution must map to the company’s business problems,” Radicati said. “It is not merely an IT issue.”

And don’t be surprised to find that most solutions are all lacking in one specific area — search capabilities. That’s one aspect every vendor could improve on, she added.

“It’s all about search, search, search,” Radicati said. “The key issue is still how to retrieve all conversations effectively and quickly.”

“That is still where we expect to see the most innovation in the future due to the need to sort through so much data, including images, voice and video, at some point not too far away,” she said.

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