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Big Data and Data Protection Unite to Reduce eDiscovery Costs AND Enable Better Business Decisions

Many businesses are allocating a portion of their IT budgets to Big Data analytics projects.  At the same time, a certain amount of technology spending is necessarily tied to risk management and compliance because a failure to meet minimum eDiscovery and legal hold requirements can have disastrous consequences.  While these twin priorities often compete for funding, it is now possible for an enterprise to adopt a single core technology to address both their data analytics and compliance requirements and double their bang for the buck in the process.

Business leaders recognize that residing within the data that they already collect and store there are real opportunities to improve business decisions, products and services. According to recent Forrester survey of CIO’s, 72% of all respondents identified the need to make more informed business decisions as the top driver for enterprise information/data projects. This drove vendors to invent billions of dollars to create solutions that address this need and we are now starting to see those efforts bear fruit.  

A good example is HP’s acquisition of Autonomy last November.  At the time of the acquisition Meg Whitman, HP’s CEO, observed that “The exploding growth of unstructured and structured data and unlocking its value is the single largest opportunity for consumers, businesses and governments. Autonomy significantly increases our capabilities to manage and extract meaning from that data to drive insight, foresight and better decision making.”

The key intellectual property that HP acquired in the transaction is Autonomy’s IDOL (Intelligent Data Operating Layer). IDOL utilizes hundreds of data analysis algorithms, many of them patented by Autonomy, to understand the meaning of information in place and make sense of 100% of all stored structured and unstructured data, to include audio and video.

In speaking with Stephen Spellicy, Director of Enterprise Data Protection HP Information Management about the IDOL technology, he said, “IDOL literally automates the analysis of all that data by providing a full contextual index. Using IDOL, you can then search and find everything from keywords to concepts to things that are kind of around the concept of what you’re searching for that may be mentioned or inferred–even within audio and video files.”

HP will undoubtedly bring Autonomy technology to market in many ways, but one of its first moves was to integrate Autonomy IDOL and HP Data Protector. This integration will create additional value for the thousands of enterprises that have already licensed both Autonomy IDOL server technology and HP Data Protector (DP). 

HP moved Data Protector into the Autonomy portfolio which freed its software engineers to begin working to enable Data Protector to leverage IDOL almost immediately after the acquisition was completed. The first release of this IDOL enabled Data Protector was released in June 2012 which provided:

  • An integrated solution with the ability to leverage Autonomy’s intelligence to index data within the Data Protector repository.  This expands the information pool available to the whole ecosystem of applications that know how to use the index, such as the common IDOL search interfaces available in the Autonomy portfolio.
  • Restores based on IDOL Server’s full content search rather than DP’s more limited restore-by-query function.

Initial use cases for Autonomy IDOL/HP Data Protector integration include eDiscovery, legal hold, and early case assessment. A related use case is locating data that an enterprise’s retention policies say should have been purged, but was not. The enterprise may then subsequently use the search results to identify data that could be candidates for elimination from their archives.

As the following screen shot demonstrates, search results include the exact location of the data within the Data Protector repository from a media server perspective.  This facilitates retrieval of the information by the storage administrator.

Screen shot of HP-IDOL-Search-ResultsSource: HP

As enterprises mature in their use of DP and IDOL they will grow their ability to apply these technologies to additional use cases that directly target improved business decisions and product or service improvements.  One of the most important ramifications of this integration is that HP Data Protector 7 with IDOL provides the critical technology underpinnings for enterprises to achieve both compliance and big data analytics using a single product. 

The subsequent August 2012 release of HP Data Protector 7 Update 1 focused on extending these capabilities into cloud environments by integrating DP with VMware vCloud Director. This gives enterprises a scalable approach to realize the benefits of cloud-based virtual data center environments in a way that is fully covered by their current data protection and compliance technologies.  This should enable enterprises to accelerate their cloud adoption plans.

Enterprises implementing IDOL with DP7 can expect to achieve the following results:

  • Reduced risk of data loss across physical, virtual, and VMware vCloud Director-based environments.
  • Reduced legal exposure from non-compliance with records management/data retention policies.
  • Reduced cost and time of eDiscovery and Legal Hold research and compliance.
  • Increased opportunity to unlock value of data to innovate product or service.  

Businesses everywhere need to comply with a myriad of regulations and are forced to spend money on technologies that help them meet those requirements. However if businesses get more value from their existing data stores and even drive new revenue or business, that is the real kicker. For those organizations already using HP DP7 with this new IDOL integration, as well those evaluating its deployment, HP DP7 opens the door to achieve this objective.


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