Under the terms of the deal, Zantaz's Digital Safe archiving infrastructure will be available to IBM customers looking for a secure, cost-efficient way to store reference data, according to Steve King, the chief executive officer of Zantaz.
"We've formed a partnership with IBM Global Services to take to market the Zantaz solution for digital archiving and data restoration focused primarily on financial services," said King.
Zantaz's Digital Safe captures and archives e-mail, instant messages, and other electronic files as required. The addition of a single dedicated circuit within a customer's datacentre is all that is needed for Zantaz to capture millions of e-mails a day from multiple clients. An outsourced service for now, Digital Safe will soon be available for customers to manage in-house, said King.
"We work with our clients to implement a service where they will send us their e-mail traffic. We then capture, index, and store that traffic to make it easily accessible and guarantee that the client complies with any set rules," said King.
Reference data can take the form of any e-mail or instant message communication dealing with corporate, legal, medical or financial industries. And each industry has its own rules for the length of time particular reference data must be held. For example, the US Federal law requires brokerage firms to retain e-mails for at least three years.
With the stigma of the Enron accounting debacle still fresh on the minds of potential financial customers, King said that Zantaz's Digital Safe technology not only protects companies from potential legal trouble, but also from dishonest employees who may wish to override the system, preventing a certain file from being archived.
"That's part of how we ensure that the system is compliant," said King. "Any ability to override would make the system non-compliant."
The addition of Digital Safe to IBM's arsenal means that IBM now has a weapon to counter EMC's recently released content addressed storage (CAS) architecture, which also is aimed at managing reference files.
These files will make up more than half of all stored corporate and government data by late 2004, according to research by the Enterprise Storage Group.