Equant, Others Add Archiving

Equant's archiving service is the latest of several aimed at cashing in on compliance needs

September 3, 2004

3 Min Read
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Equant (NYSE: ENT; Paris: EQU) is the latest of several companies aiming to capitalize on organizations' growing demand for help with archiving.

The business services provider announced this week that it's enlisted Kahn Consulting Inc., an Illinois-based firm specializing in legal advice about data archiving, in order to offer service to business customers worldwide.

Using Centera storage systems from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) -- chosen for its support of Microsoft Exchange -- Equant plans to help customers plan their archiving strategies, then put them into practice on the carrier's facilities. "Our approach is assess, design, implement, and manage," says Andy Earley, director of IT services at Equant.

For the service, Equant's taking the role of application service provider (ASP), offering three primary sites for archiving email, in Sydney, Australia; Rennes, France; and Atlanta, U.S.A. There are a series of four secondary backup sites at undisclosed locations.

Presently, Equant's offering each customer its own dedicated storage system on the network. But by the first part of 2005, Earley says, Equant will have a fully secure, shared environment as well. It's not clear exactly how that will affect pricing, but it should help a bit. Right now, Earley says Equant's got a range of proposals out to customers, ranging from $20,000 to $200,000, per month, depending on what services and facilities are required.Hang on: Isn't the storage service provider (SSP) model giving off a distinct whiff of decay these days, having failed to meet even minimum expectations?

Not when it comes to archiving, sources say. Customers everywhere need and want outsourced help with managing email, instant messaging, and other forms of corporate documentation, which is mounting, as many organizations look to comply with new regulations governing what data must be saved and for how long.

In addition to focus, new SSPs like Equant build on a range of services that are related to storage but not dependent on it. Equant, for instance, claims to make over $500 million annually by providing secure email, managed messaging, project management, and other IT services to customers worldwide. Email archiving builds on that model.

Equant isn't alone in wanting to extend its existing services to answer opportunity's knock in compliance archiving. A range of other news shows that other companies are looking to cash in as well:

  • Archive Systems Inc., a 14-year-old company based in Fairfield, N.J., has just garnered $8.5 million in its first round of venture funding, which will be formally announced next week. The company specializes in hosting document images (of mortgage agreements, checks, human resources documents, and the like). It will use its new funding in part to start other services, including email archiving. "Our model is variable growth," says senior VP of sales and marketing Hank Boggio. And compliance archiving, he says, is a growth market.

  • FrontBridge Technologies Inc. and MessageRite Inc. announced this week their spam blocker and email archiving services to enter a market for email archiving they think is "exploding." (See Spam Blocker Chomps Email Archiver.)

  • ManagedStorage International Inc. (MSI), an SSP, and Front Porch Digital Inc., which makes software for managing digital archives, are merging to create a more diversified company called Incentra Solutions (see MSI's Incestuous Marriage and Front Porch OKs Name Change). There's been speculation that the new company, announced August 18, will get into a compliance offering based on MSI services and Front Porch software.

Bottom line? Email compliance looks to be a hot market for companies already using their facilities for other kinds of hosted services or consulting. With the right focus, these players should be able to parlay their resources successfully.Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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