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Classification & Search Converge

The worlds of data search and classification continue to consolidate following a flurry of M&A activity, as users look for all-in-one products that can handle more than one task.

Classification specialist Autonomy ramped up its efforts in this space by throwing down $375 million for archiving firm Zantaz earlier this week, followed by Business Objects' acquisition of Inxight for an undisclosed fee. (See Autonomy Acquires Zantaz for $375M, and Autonomy Acquires Zantaz, Business Objects Closes on Inxight, and Business Objects to Acquire SRC Software.)

The rationale behind Autonomy's Zantaz deal was to create an all-singing, all-dancing solution combining both data classification and search features, something which is high on users' storage agendas. Typically, users have been confronted with buying two separate appliances to solve these problems. (See Classifiers Grab Search Partners.)

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Brian Babineau tells Byte and Switch that there is likely to be plenty more consolidation in this corner of the market. "There's certainly going to be a lot of activity in this area," he says, adding that, initially, startups specializing in "conceptual search" are likely to see a lot more funding, possibly becoming acquisition fodder for the likes of EMC and IBM.

Recently, startups such as Attenex have begun touting in-depth search technologies that go beyond traditional keyword searching, enabling users to view the context in which different pieces of data are presented. "If funding comes in, then there's a lot more enterprise search technologies for these types of partnerships and acquisitions," says Babineau.

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