Veritas Software has purchased KVault Software (KVS) for $225m to move into the e-mail archiving market.
Meanwhile, KVS' biggest customer and Veritas' main competitor, EMC, has already started to offering an e-mail archiving service through partner Equant.
KVS has more than 900 customers and 1.7 million users, and Gartner lists it as a leader in its e-mail archiving Magic Quadrant 2. Gartner has also predicted that e-mail archiving seats will grow at a 57% compound growth rate through to 2007.
The e-mail archive market is rapidly becoming the battleground for an entire industry, thanks largely to the rise in compliance regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley.
Archiving e-mails and other messages is very different from ordinary data backup not least because of the need to handle attachments and the existence of e-mail threads of messages and replies and distribution lists.
As such, any company claiming to offer a complete storage set of products has to have e-mail archiving capability. However, while EMC has it already with Legato EmailXtender and also as a product set with Legato Systems and Windows Server 2003.
Last March, Veritas announced Data Lifecycle Manager 5.0 software to "help organisations meet global regulatory requirements for data management - from creation to deletion - across all storage media".
It involved partnerships for different media types, such as e-mail. But e-mail is becoming so central that partnering is not enough and Veritas has gone out and bought what it sees as the best.
The KVS Enterprise Vault software provides policy-based archiving of e-mails and attachments and files held in Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Office and Windows file systems. The indexing facilities simplify retrieval.
Chairman, president and chief executive officer, Gary Bloom, said, "KVS will add another strategic component to the Veritas utility computing portfolio. [By buying KVS] we can deliver customers the market-leading software for storing, managing, backing up and archiving all their information."
Enterprise Vault will replace Data LifeCycle Manager during 2005 and be called Veritas Enterprise Vault. Such a hurried move, less than six months after Data Lifecycle Manager was announced, suggests that the product has been less than successful.
Product life is generally longer than half a year, admitted Veritas' corporate marketing director for EMEA, Tony Occleshaw,
"We underestimated the sense of urgency around compliance with customers due to all the regulations," he said.
EMC's partner Equant, a France Telecom subsidiary, is teaming with Kahn Consulting to offer a fully-managed e-mail archiving service across remote links. EMC Legato's EmailXtender and EmailXaminer products are being used in the service.
This is an ASP model with hosting centers in Atlanta, London, Rennes and Sydney. Customers can choose to host their central archive on their own premises.
"Enterprises have seen 20% to 30% savings in customer trials of this service," said Andy Early, sales and marketing director at Equant.
A version of the service for smaller businesses will be rolled out in 2005 - demonstrating how far ahead EMC is compared to Veritas.
At the same time, there has been another acquisition in the e-mail archiving field with FrontBridge Technologies buying MessageRite.
This company's managed e-mail and instant messaging service store messages in its datacentre. Existing FrontBridge services scan e-mail for spam or virus content and they will be combined with the archive service.
As well as this, online backup and recovery provider Amerivault and e-mail archiving specialist Connected announced this week an outsourced e-mail archiving service to help users prepare for compliance regulations.
Amerivault E-mail Archiving Service combines Amerivault's backup and recovery systems with Connected's ArchiveStore/EM e-mail archiving tool to provide management of a business's e-mails off site.
Chris Mellor writes for Techworld.com