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Expert Insight: Symantec Enterprise Vault

Symantec Enterprise Vault (EV), which featured in our recent "E-mail Archiving and Management (EAM) Report" started out in 1999 as KVS.” In 2004, Veritas acquired KVS for $225 million, completing a heady and rapid journey -- from start-up obscurity to a division of a multibillion-dollar Goliath in just five years.

While best known for its sales of security and antivirus products, Symantec generates a sizable percentage of its revenues from its availability and performance management offerings, as well as its broad compliance tool-set. As Symantec likes to say: It provides the tools to enable you to use your technology with confidence. Within this large corporate structure, EAM comes under the Data Center Management Solutions Group, which is itself part of the Enterprise Availability division.

Symantec Enterprise Vault (EV) offers one of the more comprehensive EAM solutions on the market today. This solution set does just about everything, and it does much of
it well. Widely assumed the clear market leader (in terms of revenue), EV appears on many shortlists -- often as the vendor to beat.

The product has at least one major weakness, though: relying on Alta Vista for searching and indexing. Alta Vista has reached the end of its life, and though Symantec asserts that it won’t move away from this solution, EV customers have consistently told us that search and retrieval can be very slow. This has been enough of a shortcoming for some customers who have to routinely run complex queries (e.g., for discovery) to switch to other systems.

As the EAM market goes through a period of upheaval and change, many credible alternatives to EV have emerged. Additionally, the EV technology has been through a couple of ownership changes in a short time, and the development team has had considerable – if expected – staff turnover. We expect some time to pass before things settle down.

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