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E-Discovery Product Adds Ability To Find And Collect Data

Clearwell Systems has enhanced its Clearwell E-Discovery Platform, now in version 6.0, to add an Identification and Collection module that makes it easier for IT administrators to locate, collect and share information that could be used in corporate litigation. Data can come from more than 50 sources, including Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, Lotus Domino, OpenText, Documentum and FileNet, as well as from file shares, personal computers and the cloud.

The product is packaged in either a virtual appliance or a 2u physical appliance that can be situated in the cloud or on premises. It includes a GUI so users can select data sources to be searched, rather than requiring IT to write scripts for collection and identification. In addition, the software reports on the steps it has performed, tracking the data as it moves through the E-discovery process. The data source can be any storage area network or network attached storage, says Teddy Cha, senior product manager. Because the product accesses computers and servers when finding and gathering information, administrators can set a maximum throttle rate on the software while it is in the cloud to prevent the search from disrupting machines, notes Cha.

Electronic discovery is divided into different phases, as outlined by the Electronic Discovery Reference Model. Prior to this announcement, Clearwell focused primarily on processing and analyzing electronic information, a phase in which corporate attorneys or outside counsel evaluate electronic information gathered by a separate tool. Like Clearwell, many E-discovery vendors such as Autonomy Zantaz, Guidance Software, EMC Kazeon and Recomind are adding capabilities in an effort to become a one-stop vendor for all of an organization's E-discovery needs. However, given the complexity of the discovery process, companies that deal with multiple legal actions every year are likely to employ several products or services.

The biggest advantage of the Clearwell product is that it adds identification and collection capabilities to the existing platform, says Brian Babineau, senior consulting analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group. "It's still a small, hardened appliance, installed quickly, and configured and set up in a swift manner. That's the key," he says. "They're adding capabilities without changing the footprint. You don't have to buy a bigger appliance, or more appliances, to get the modules." The product's biggest limitation has been its ability to scale, notes Babineau, but a clustering feature lets users add more appliances and manage them from one location. This can improve the speed of identification and collection and store and process more data.

The module will ship by the end of September. Pricing is priced based on the number of users with potentially relevant information and starts at $50,000. The product does not yet support devices such as the Blackberry, but will search them if they are attached to the network or if their data is archived.