Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2012-11-19 04:00:50Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. Best practice or not, many companies rely on disaster recovery systems for business retention and discovery compliance needs. I have written several times about how this can impact your accessibility strategy and discovery obligations, but I wanted to take a look at how the restoration market has evolved as eDiscovery has matured. Historically, litigants have made successful undue burden arguments against mass tape restorations on the basis that the content would be mostly duplicitous or not relevant to the key facts under dispute. The trend to migrate files from unstructured network shares or desktops to SharePoint or other Cloud repositories means that many corporations are finally cleaning up their digital landfills. This can have the unintended consequence of actually making those yearly snapshots or tape collections the only source of unique ESI. So when you find yourself in the unintended position of needing to do discovery from these sources, what are your options?

The traditional methodology is to set up compatible physical or virtual hardware and restore each back up. Then you extract what you need, wipe the system and do it all over again for the next incremental or full back up. If this sounds inefficient and expensive, it is. eDiscovery providers have made incredible profits on these kind of jobs over the years. I have seen bids well in excess of $10,000 to extract custodial ESI from a single tape.

The market responded to this kind of problem with offerings from specialized providers like RenewData and eMag. They tackled the tape quandary by reading the raw storage format directly from the backup media instead having to restore the system. That brought lower, fixed fee pricing to customers for standardized Exchange and file share backups made from the dominant systems such as Symantec, CommVault, EMC and others. The providers could stream emails and files directly from the tapes or drives, deduplicate and apply filter criteria for a flat per tape price.

Index Engines took this solution to the next level by offering software or an appliance to perform this process on site. This took the cost from a per-tape or per-GB basis to a traditional enterprise purchase that can be attached to your existing tape library. I expect that the traditional backup providers have noticed this value proposition and will build ‘discovery’ features into your existing disaster recovery platforms now that Index Engines has proven that this is a viable market. There are still only a limited number of players in the restoration market for software or services. I expect that more traditional eDiscovery service providers will acquire these capabilities and will continue to drive down the cost of restorations and erode the weight of burden arguments. Have you done an eDiscovery fire drill recently? Send me an email because I would love to hear about your experience.

eDiscoveryJournal Contributor and eDJ Group Lead Analyst – Greg Buckles

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