CommVault Elaborates Upon Simpana 9’s Enhanced Information Governance Capabilities

Back in October 2010, CommVault introduced Simpana 9 but did so in a two-fold manner. It first announced Simpana 9’s core data management features on October 5. Then, a few weeks later on October 19, CommVault introduced Simpana 9’s enhanced information governance capabilities. It was during this latter presentation that a number of statements were made by CommVault’s Senior Director of Information Access Management, Simon Taylor, about Simpana 9’s enhanced information governance capabilities that I asked him to elaborate upon.

One of the statements that Taylor made during his live presentation on October 19th was, “The data mining techniques in Simpana 9 are so unique that we (CommVault) believe our customers are able to find information significantly faster than traditional search approaches.”  So I followed up with Taylor via email to clarify what he meant by “traditional search approaches” and how CommVault arrived at the conclusion that it was ” significantly faster” than traditional search approaches.

Taylor explained in a written response that the nature of searches is very speculative so in order for organizations to improve their ways of mining their existing data repositories they need tools that provide them more intelligent ways to do so. He writes, “It is very important to know what is in information sets in order to be more specific on how you find content.

Taylor points to the Enron example of a few years ago and why that investigation took so long to complete. Among the many records they were reviewing, investigators would come across a few thousand records that appeared to be relevant. However they could not easily understand which records among the thousands were the most important so it took them quite a bit of time to review all of them.

In Taylor’s estimation, if the investigators would have had access to software like CommVault® Simpana 9®, it potentially would have simplified their search and substantially sped up their investigation. For instance, using Simpana 9 and its new data mining techniques, among those thousands of records for review if 100 of them contained the phrase “shredding documents” and 250 used the phrase “hide and don’t disclose,” Simpana 9 could have identified which documents contained both of those phrases.

This technique, which is called “navigation” in Simpana 9, would likely have enabled the investigation to proceed more quickly as it provides a method for doing unstructured data mining. Taylors adds, “That is really what enterprises require today – techniques to jump into data very quickly based on some form of intelligence or some form of meaning based suggestion.

As to how Simpana 9 speeds up searches significantly, he estimates around 6 times faster on average based on CommVault’s own internal benchmark. Taylor explains that when customers do search in the context of eDiscovery, the availability of deduplication in Simpana has reduced overall volume of data in customer accounts by 30 – 40% which contributes to them being able to complete searches across their data stores in seconds.

As part of Simpana 9 doing its searches, Taylor also mentioned in his live presentation on October 19th that Simpana 9 can identify “social security and credit card numbers as well as other predefined patterns.” In asking Taylor about that comment, he wrote that in Simpana 9 CommVault introduced Entity Modeling in addition to the core capabilities built around its use of the FAST indexing engine.

Entity patterns that Simpana 9 can now natively identify include social security numbers, credit card numbers, and drivers’ license numbers. Customers also have the option to define their own patterns such as bank account or employee ID numbers and input them into Simpana.

This ability to detect specific patterns can then also be leveraged by Simpana 9 automated legal preservation capabilities. Using Simpana’s policy engine, rules may be created based on custodian search criteria based on these patterns that can be modeled and then searches executed on pre-defined intervals. When these searches execute, any data visible to Simpana that meets this criteria including those that match the entity patterns is automatically preserved without legal or end-user action.

Simpana also can export data in the XML format supported by a number of legal tools (Concordance, EnCase, Clearwell, CaseCentral and others) that may be used by third parties during eDiscoveries. So as Simpana 9 collects, searches, reviews and/or preserves data for litigation, it can optionally export this data in the legally accepted Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) compliant XML format for information interchange.

These new information governance capabilities that CommVault introduced as part of Simpana 9 coupled with Simpana 9’s steadily growing data management capabilities is doing more than separating enterprise backup software products like Simpana 9 from entry-level and mid-tier backup software products. Simpana 9 provides the across the board functionally that gives enterprise organizations the platform they initially need to solve today’s pressing backing and recovery issues while equipping them to meet future information governance challenges with which they are being increasingly beset.

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