Tag Archives: IaaS

As Desktop-as-a-Service Gains Traction, Do Not Overlook Productivity Search

by Barry Murphy

Oftentimes, federal government agency IT departments are technology early adopters because of mandates to cut costs and increase efficiencies and business agility. It is not surprising, then, to see FCW.com pointing out that agencies are embracing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Benefits of VDI include simpler and more automated systems administration, better control over security (always a big factor for government agencies), and lower costs for client-side support. Those “hard” benefits are only part of the story – VDI also enables worker mobility (especially important to the Department of Energy) and helps enable more “green IT.” Because VDI provides a zero client environment, it can reduce the required power consumption per desktop, thereby reducing the environmental impact of the agency’s IT systems. This is perhaps more of a soft benefit, but a necessary one nonetheless.

As the FCW article states, there are now two options for deploying VDI: on-premise and through the Cloud, as Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS). There are good market options in both directions, with on-premise providers like Citrix and VMWare, and DaaS providers such as Amazon (with its Workspaces offering) and the aforementioned VMWare (with its Horizon offering). Whichever direction an organization chooses for its VDI, it is critical to remember that business worker adoption and acceptance is the key to ROI. In my experience, one thing that scares business workers when moving to VDI is the potential loss of easy access to their information assets. With VDI, it is a best practice to turn off Windows indexing, and that can leave a business worker without the ability to search for his or her information.

DaaS

With VDI in the Cloud, the DaaS provider will want to manage virtual computing resources diligently – also meaning that desktop indexing will likely be turned off. And with government agencies increasingly storing information in the Cloud, it can make search of that data a challenge. There is an opportunity to ensure a better business worker transition in these environments – build in productivity search requirements up front. Business worker access to information is an important component of easing any kind of end-user angst when transitioning to a new desktop environment. Providing these workers with unified access to common information like email, files, and SharePoint will help with change management and user acceptance. And it is important to stress again – without the end-users, there is no ROI on these VDI projects. Therefore, the upfront productivity search requirements should include a search solution that supports VDI environments and that is deployable in the Cloud, like X1 Rapid Discovery.

The move is on to VDI in the federal government, and industries like financial services and professional services are also in the midst of VDI roll-outs. These early adopters will set the trend of many industries. If the early adopters require excellent business worker productivity search experiences, acceptance of these new technologies will be much smoother and more successful. And that is good for everyone – VDI vendors and customers.

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Filed under Best Practices, Cloud Data, Corporations, Desktop Search, Enterprise Search, IaaS, Information Access, Information Management, Records Management, Virtualized Environment

Cloud Search Is Important, But Only A Piece Of The Enterprise Search Puzzle

by Barry Murphy

In an earlier post, I described the importance of having the ability to quickly search for information stored in the Cloud.  The post pointed out that Cloud search is somewhat more complicated than one might think at first glance because the speed of search is affected by how close the index lives to the actual data in the Cloud infrastructure.  One comment I received was that Cloud search can be fast and simple if the Cloud vendor promises a certain service level for query times and results.  That can address part of the issue around search (although IaaS providers – what we are truly talking about when we say “Cloud” – are typically not interested in guaranteeing SLAs for things like search because they allow customers to provision their infrastructure set to enable fast search with products like X1 Rapid Discovery).  Even if a Cloud vendor were to guarantee phenomenal search SLAs, the issue of unified enterprise search of all information still remains.

The reality is that enterprises and government agencies store information in “hybrid” environments that encompass on-premise systems within corporate data centers, virtualized systems that companies operate, and Cloud-based repositories.  Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of mainstream enterprises will have a hybrid cloud.  And, research from NetApp shows that organizations will be managing data across multiple cloud environments, not just a single provider, per se.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

These are exciting developments.  As organizations embrace more modern infrastructures, there are many benefits to be had.  What we need to remember, however, is that business professionals still need to quickly find and take action on their information assets to do their jobs.  As that information gets further scattered, enterprise search will take on increased importance.  Workers don’t care if their data is stored on-premise or in the Cloud as long as they can quickly find it in an easy-to-use interface.

The challenge for today’s organizations is that information now lives in multiple infrastructures – on-premise, virtual, Cloud, or most frequently, a hybrid of all of these.  Current approaches to including Cloud-based data in enterprise search and eDiscovery require downloading a copy of the data to search so that it resides alongside other local content.  Unfortunately, that defeats the purpose of storing the data in the Cloud in the first place.

This takes me back to my original point:  Cloud search is very important.  But, Cloud search cannot simply exist in a vacuum.  An effective enterprise search solution will combine on-premise search capabilities that can talk to search in the Cloud – without requiring downloading the cloud-based information in order to search across all data.

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Filed under Cloud Data, Enterprise Search

“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.

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

Judge Peck: Cloud For Enterprises Not Cost-Effective Without Efficient eDiscovery Process

Hon. Andrew J. Peck
United States Magistrate Judge

Federal Court Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck of the New York Southern District is known for several important decisions affecting the eDiscovery field including the ongoing  Monique da Silva Moore v. Publicis Group SA, et al, case where he issued a landmark order authorizing the use of predictive coding, otherwise known as technology assisted review. His Da Silva Moore ruling is clearly an important development, but also very noteworthy are Judge Peck’s recent public comments on eDiscovery in the cloud.

eDiscovery attorney Patrick Burke, a friend and former colleague at Guidance Software, reports on his blog some interesting comments asserted on the May 22 Judges panel session at the 2012 CEIC conference. UK eDiscovery expert Chris Dale also blogged about the session, where Judge Peck noted that data stored in the cloud is considered accessible data under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (see, FRCP Rule 26(b)(2)(B)) and thus treated no differently by the courts in terms of eDiscovery preservation and production requirements as data stored within a traditional network. This brought the following cautionary tale about the costs associated with not having a systematic process for eDiscovery:

Judge Peck told the story of a Chief Information Security Officer who had authority over e-discovery within his multi-billion dollar company who, when told that the company could enjoy significant savings by moving to “the cloud”, questioned whether the cloud provider could accommodate their needs to adapt cloud storage with the organization’s e-discovery preservation requirements. The cloud provider said it could but at such an increased cost that the company would enjoy no savings at all if it migrated to the cloud.

In previous posts on this blog, we outlined how significant cost-benefits associated with cloud migration can be negated when eDiscovery search and retrieval of that data is required.  If an organization maintains two terabytes of documents in the Amazon or other IaaS cloud deployments, how do they quickly access, search, triage and collect that data in its existing cloud environment if a critical eDiscovery or compliance search requirement suddenly arises?  This is precisely the reason why we developed X1 Rapid Discovery, version 4. X1RD is a proven and now truly cloud-deployable eDiscovery and enterprise search solution enabling our customers to quickly identify, search, and collect distributed data wherever it resides in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud or within the enterprise. While it is now trendy for eDiscovery software providers to re-brand their software as cloud solutions, X1RD is now uniquely deployable anywhere, anytime in the IaaS cloud within minutes. X1RD also features the ability to leverage the parallel processing power of the cloud to scale up and scale down as needed. In fact, X1RD is the first pure eDiscovery solution (not including a hosted email archive tool) to meet the technical requirements and be accepted into the Amazon AWS ISV program.

As far as the major cloud providers, the ones who choose to solve this eDiscovery challenge (along with effective enterprise search) with best practices technology will not only drive significant managed services revenue but will enjoy a substantial competitive advantage over other cloud services providers.

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Filed under Best Practices, Case Law, Cloud Data, Enterprise eDiscovery, IaaS, Preservation & Collection

X1 Rapid Discovery: First Enterprise eDiscovery Solution Supporting IaaS Cloud

Today I am pleased to announce our launch of  X1 Rapid Discovery, version 4. X1RD is a proven and now truly cloud-deployable eDiscovery and enterprise search solution enabling our customers to quickly identify, search, and collect distributed data wherever it resides in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud or within the enterprise. X1RD is a sister product to our acclaimed X1 Social Discovery, which we launched last year. Version 3 of X1 Rapid Discovery is a proven early case assessment and enterprise search application, but is now IaaS cloud deployable and features a new interface.

I know what you may be thinking — another eDiscovery CEO re-branding the company’s software as cloud. But hear me out on this. Sure, X1RD can serve as a hosted SaaS solution like many other tools (SaaS hosting has been around for over a decade), but the big news here is that X1RD is now deployable anywhere, anytime in the IaaS cloud within minutes. X1RD also features the ability to leverage the parallel processing power of the cloud to scale up and scale down as needed. In fact, X1RD is the first pure eDiscovery solution (not including a hosted email archive tool) to meet the technical requirements and be accepted into the Amazon AWS ISV program.

So what does this mean? Allow me to illustrate these ground-breaking capabilities through the following two growingly common scenarios faced by organizations today:

Scenario 1: A F1000 company maintains 2 terabytes of data up in the Amazon EC2 or S3 (storage) cloud and suddenly must find the comparatively small amount of relevant data within those 2TB as quickly as possible to respond to a critical investigation requirement. There is no time to spend several weeks downloading the entire 2TB out of the cloud through the thin pipe or waiting for Amazon personnel to copy the entire data set to hard drives and ship it back. What is urgently needed is the ability to quickly install eDiscovery software to index, search and review that data in the very IaaS cloud environment where it exists. That way only the small data set (say 10 gigabytes) of relevant data is identified and then finally exported. That is what X1 Rapid Discovery delivers.

Scenario 2: The same investigation sends the company’s eDiscovery consultant overseas to collect data at a subsidiary site. Upon the collection of the first 200 gigabytes, the attorneys insist  that the data must be quickly indexed for detailed, iterative searching in order to better inform the remaining on-site collection effort. However, the collection team left their large ECA appliance they normally use at home as it doesn’t travel well nor would it pass foreign customs. However, in this case there are several options with X1RD. If an eDiscovery software solution is truly a cloud-capable solution, then it can quickly install anywhere, including the IaaS cloud or on available hardware on-site. So the team can either locate available hardware resources with Windows OS or upload the data to a private or public IaaS cloud environment and operate a virtual eDiscovery lab with X1RD.

X1RD can just as easily be installed behind the firewall as in the cloud, but right now, all of our demos and proof of concepts are being performed in the IaaS cloud. But don’t just take our word for it, we would be happy to demonstrate this for you by remotely installing in your public or private IaaS cloud environment and collecting, indexing and searching your data. We are up for the challenge!

> Register for our live webinar on May 2 to see a demo of X1 Rapid Discovery and to hear from eDiscovery expert, Barry Murphy, on his view of the current eDiscovery market, with respect to the cloud.

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Filed under Cloud Data, eDiscovery & Compliance, Enterprise eDiscovery, IaaS