Category Archives: Cloud Data

Cloud Search: Not As Simple As You Think

By Barry Murphy

Corporations and Government agencies are moving data to the Cloud in droves.  No matter which analyst firm you look to on Cloud storage adoption, you will find consistent results:

  • Forrester Research reports that 40% of enterprises surveyed indicated they have already rolled out workloads on public clouds or have near-term plans to do so and that the number will increase to 50% this year.
  • IDC predicts that from 2013–2017 public IT cloud services will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.5%, five times that of the IT industry as a whole.
  • Gartner says Cloud Computing Will Become the Bulk of New IT Spend by 2016 and that spending on public Cloud services will have a CAGR of 17.7% from 2011 – 2016, with spending on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) itself will have a CAGR of 41.3% in that time period.
  • In eDJ Group’s recent Cloud services adoption fast poll, Greg Buckles found that less than 5% of respondents reported that all information is kept on-premise on company infrastructure and cloud services are not being actively considered.

Cloud-icon_magnifying-glassNo matter where data is being stored, though, the fact remains that the ability to search that data will be critically important.  Workers still demand unified access to email, files, and SharePoint information, and they want fast-as-you-type search results regardless of where the data lives.  In addition, Legal teams require that search queries and collections execute within specific time-frames.  But, Cloud search is slow, as indexes live far from the information.  This results in frustrated workers and Legal teams afraid that eDiscovery cannot be completed in time.

Lest you think this is not a big deal, consider the following story.  When I was at eDJ, we worked with a very large enterprise client that wanted to move its collaboration system to the Cloud.  The problem was that the Cloud system the client was contracting with could not meet the Legal Department’s requirements for speed of query results and collection.  This significantly slowed down the movement to the Cloud until the client had worked with the Cloud vendor to ensure that search and collection could execute at the necessary speeds.  The delay frustrated an IT team anxious to reap the promised benefits of the Cloud and cost the project team significant man-hours.

This story highlights the need to granularly define search and eDiscovery requirements before moving data to the Cloud.  Most “cloud search” solutions pass queries through connectors, and then the Cloud vendor needs to figure out where in its vast data center the index lives, find the content, return the query result, and then the customer will need to download all the content.  The result is a slow search and another copy of the data downloaded on premise, which basically defeats the purpose of moving to the Cloud in the first place.

If a customer wanted to speed up search, it would have to essentially attach an appliance to a hot-air balloon and send it up to the Cloud provider so that the customer’s index could live on that appliance (or farm of appliances) in the Cloud providers data center, physically near the data.  There are many reasons, however, that a Cloud provider would not allow a customer to do that:

  • Long install process
  • Challenging pre-requisites
  • 3rd party installation concerns
  • Physical access
  • Specific hardware requirements
  • They only scale vertically

The solution to a faster search is a cloud-deployable search application, such as X1 Rapid Discovery.  This creates a win-win for Cloud providers and customers alike.  As enterprises move more and more information to the Cloud, it will be important to think about workers’ experiences with Cloud systems – and search is one of those user experiences that, if it is a bad one, can really negatively affect a project and cause user revolt.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Cloud Data, Enterprise eDiscovery, Enterprise Search, Information Access, Virtualized Environment

The Post-PC Era Will End eDiscovery Collections as we Know It

Post PC World image

Updated 11/14/2013: Amazon Webs Services announced today a “game changing” cloud-based desktop virtualization offering.

“As of next month, no employees get a new PC, we are going all virtual and B.Y.O.D.” These words, spoken by one of our customers from one of the world’s largest financial institutions, should be disconcerting to anyone in the traditional eDiscovery collection business.  With well over 1000 computer forensics and eDiscovery services businesses in the US and Canada alone, ranging from small shops to large firms with hundreds of eDiscovery professionals on staff, the industry faces substantial disruption going forward. This is because most all of these firms thrive on full disk imaging, or otherwise manual collections, from the PCs and laptops issued to corporate employees, either as a substantial source of revenue, or a foundational first step that feeds into their processing and hosting business.

However, enterprises have entered a “post-PC world,” where desktop virtualization, cloud, social media, and mobile devices are supplanting the traditional PC infrastructure and “local” data storage. In fact, desktop virtualization, which will be about a six billion dollar market in 2016 according to industry researcher the 451 Group, is an ideal infrastructure to enable B.Y.O.D. as employees can have access to a virtual PC across a broad range of devices, from traditional PCs and laptops to smartphones and tablets. However, in such a framework, all the employees’ data and applications are stored and managed centrally in a virtual environment.

In addition to enabling B.Y.O.D., a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) provides IT significant benefits through the ability to centrally manage user desktops, gaining efficiencies in costs and resources. VDI provides for simpler desktop provisioning, lower costs for deploying new applications, improved desktop-image management, and improved data integrity through centralized backup services. In addition to a reduction in both desktop operating costs and call support, there is also a reduction in the number and duration of downtime events.

However, finding content is difficult enough on a traditional desktop, but the issue is compounded with the virtualized variety. There are many compelling benefits to VDI, but the architecture does not facilitate or even enable traditional desktop search solutions or physical disk imaging for forensic examination. X1 Search 8 provides search capabilities across physical, virtual and cloud environments with results returned in a single pane. X1 was specifically architected to uniquely and seamlessly operate in virtual desktop environments, including popular Citrix solutions XenApp and XenDesktop.

To further explore the disruptive challenges and benefits of VDI, X1 is partnering with one of the nations’ top VDI consulting firms, Agile 360 in a November 17 webinar (register here) to outline these challenges and opportunities associated with search and information access in VDI environments. We hope you can attend to learn more about the disruptive changes in store for enterprise search and eDiscovery in the Post-PC enterprise.

1 Comment

Filed under Cloud Data, Virtualized Environment

Highlights from Amazon’s Cloud eDiscovery and Search Webinar

Recently, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted a first of its kind webinar by a major cloud provider addressing the topics of eDiscovery and enterprise search. The webinar showcased solutions that allow organizations to quickly search, identify and act upon distributed data, whether it resides within the enterprise or within the AWS cloud. Vikram Garlapati, an Amazon Web Service Solutions Architect, lead off the discussion.

LTech CIO Eric Klotzko also presented. LTech is a cloud systems integrator and AWS partner supporting implementations of next-generation enterprise search and eDiscovery solutions that install and operate in virtual environments.Amazon Web Services2

Here are some of key highlights and takeaways:

Vikram Garlapati outlined the key benefits of the cloud, including the provisioning of resources on demand as needed as opposed to incurring large capital outlays that must meet organizations’ estimated requirements over a multi-year period. This applies to enterprise software as well, where cloud-enabled eDiscovery software can be provisioned on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis as needed.
The webinar featured a discussion featuring a compare and contrast between AWS’s Cloud Search and X1 Rapid Discovery. The presenters described AWS Cloud Search as a SaaS search engine geared toward the search of websites and static databases. Cloud Search is a solution popular with many developers in specific use cases. X1 Rapid Discovery operates in both a SaaS or IaaS (within the customers cloud instance) environment with an extensive feature set and an intuitive user interface. Vikram Garlapati stated that X1 supports “more of an enterprise scenario.”
Eric Klotzo underscored the limitations of traditional enterprise search solutions that are hardware appliance-based or require an extensive manual on-site install process, thereby rendering such solutions as non-starters for deploying into and operating within virtualized cloud deployments.
Eric also emphasized the importance of supporting hybrid cloud deployments as most cloud adoption involves an often long transitory period: “X1 can install into both the cloud and traditional on-premise locations, providing consolidated access to your data from a single pane of glass, which is very compelling.”

A recording of the AWS webinar is available here >

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Cloud Data, eDiscovery & Compliance, Enterprise eDiscovery, IaaS, Information Management, Preservation & Collection, Uncategorized, Virtualized Environment

Next Generation Desktop Search for Law Firms and the Enterprise

We are taking a break from eDiscovery and investigations to discuss some big news in the world of X1 search. Today I am excited to announce that we launched a major upgrade to our popular desktop search software, X1 Search 8. In addition to a new, very sleek interface (see screen shot below), and a faster and more scalable index, X1 Search 8 (X1S8) features two distinct game-changers.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

First, X1S8 comes with a built-in SharePoint connector. SharePoint is proliferating throughout the enterprise, and X1S8 provides an outstanding search experience of SharePoint, which we believe is a vast improvement over native SharePoint Search. All search results are displayed in a single sortable view with a full-fidelity preview pane, in the same view as your local files an emails. The feedback from many enterprises is that X1 now has the best search of SharePoint in the business.

The second game-changer is that X1 Search 8 is fully compatible with desktop virtualization. Finding content is difficult enough on a traditional desktop, but the issue is compounded with the virtualized variety. There are many compelling benefits to desktop virtualization, but the architecture does not facilitate or even enable traditional desktop search solutions. X1 Search 8 provides search capabilities across physical, virtual and cloud environments with results returned in a single pane. X1 was specifically architected to uniquely and seamlessly operate in virtual desktop environments, including popular Citrix solutions XenApp and XenDesktop.

Here is a 2 minute video demo overview and another demo video specific to our integrated SharePoint search support.

At just $49.95 per seat, X1 Search 8 is a time-saving, intuitive tool that saves enterprises time and money. For more information, visit www.x1.com.

1 Comment

Filed under Cloud Data, Enterprise eDiscovery, Virtualized Environment

“Act Reasonably” — Two Court-Issued Checklists Outlining Defensible, Targeted ESI Collection

Recently two separate and prominent courts — the federal court for the Northern District of California and the Delaware Court of Chancery (which is the primary court of equity for Delaware registered corporations) issued eDiscovery preservation guidelines. This is not unprecedented as other courts have issued similar written guidance in the form of general guidance or even more enforceable local rules of court specifically addressing eDiscovery protocols. What I found particularly interesting, however, is both courts provided fairly specific guidance on the scope of collection and preservation. In the case of the California court, which notes that its “guidelines are designed to establish best practices for evidence preservation in the digital age,” the Court offers a checklist for Rule 26(f) “meet and confer” conferences with good detail on suggested ESI preservation protocols. The Delaware Court of Chancery also issued a detailed checklist or “sample collection outline.” ESI preservation checklists are useful practice guides, and these are sanctioned by two separate influential courts.

This is important as the largest expense directly associated with eDiscovery is the cost of overly inclusive preservation and collection, which leads to increased volume charges and attorney review costs. To the surprise of many, properly targeted preservation initiatives are permitted by the courts and can be enabled by adroit software that is able to quickly and effectively access and search these data sources throughout the enterprise.

The value of targeted preservation is recognized in the Committee Notes to the FRCP amendments, which urge the parties to reach agreement on the preservation of data and the keywords used to identify responsive materials. (Citing the Manual for Complex Litigation (MCL) (4th) §40.25 (2)).  And In re Genetically Modified Rice Litigation, 2007 WL 1655757 (June 5, 2007 E.D.Mo.), the court noted that “[p]reservation efforts can become unduly burdensome and unreasonably costly unless those efforts are targeted to those documents reasonably likely to be relevant or lead to the discovery of relevant evidence.”

The checklist from the California Northern District and the guidelines issued by the Delaware court are consistent with these principles as they call for the specification of date ranges, custodian names and search terms for any ESI to be preserved. The Northern District checklist, for instance, provides for the identification of specific custodians and job titles of custodians whose ESI is to  be preserved, and also specific search phrases search terms “that will be used to identify discoverable ESI and filter out ESI that is not subject to discovery.”

However, many lawyers shy away from a targeted collection strategy over misplaced defensibility concerns, optioning instead for full disk imaging and other broad collection efforts that exponentially escalate litigation costs. The fear by some is that there always may be that one document that could be missed. However, in my experience of following eDiscovery case law over the past decade, the situations where litigants face exposure on the preservation front typically involve an absence of a defensible process. When courts sanction parties, it is usually because there is not a reasonable legal hold procedure in place, where the process is ad hoc and made up on the fly and/or not effectively executed. I am personally unaware of a published decision involving a fact pattern where a company featured a reasonable collection and preservation process involving targeted collection executed pursuant to standard operating procedures, yet was sanctioned because one or two relevant documents slipped through the cracks.

This is because the duty to preserve requires reasonable efforts, not infallible means, to collect potentially relevant information. As succinctly stated by the Delaware court: “Parties are not required to preserve every shred of information. Act reasonably.”

Another barrier standing in the way of defensible and targeted collection is that searching and performing early case assessment at the point of collection is not feasible in the decentralized global enterprise with traditional eDiscovery and information management tools. What is needed to address these challenges for the de-centralized enterprise is a field-deployable search and eDiscovery solution that operates in distributed and virtualized environments on-demand within these distributed global locations where the data resides. In order to meet such a challenge, the eDiscovery and search solution must immediately and rapidly install, execute and efficiently operate locally, including in a virtual environment, where the site data is located, without rigid hardware requirements or on-site physical access.

This ground breaking capability is what X1 Rapid Discovery provides. Its ability to uniquely deploy and operate in the IaaS cloud also means that the solution can install anywhere within the wide-area network, remotely and on-demand. Importantly, the search index is created virtually in the location proximity of the data subject to collection. This enables even globally decentralized enterprises to perform targeted search and collection efforts in an efficient, defensible and highly cost effective manner. Or, in the words of the Delaware court — the ability to act reasonably.

Leave a comment

Filed under Case Law, Cloud Data, Enterprise eDiscovery, IaaS