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Mimosa unifies NearPoint archive operations

Now lawyers can divorce techies

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Mimosa has overhauled NearPoint, its archiving and eDiscovery software platform product, so that lawyers and compliance officers can analyse data without having to call on techies.

Mimosa's intention is to provide an archive platform services layer below content creation applications, providing unified operations across different types of content and working with a variety of storage platforms. NearPoint is a set of services that captures content from Exchange email, unstructured Windows files and SharePoint, indexes and compresses the data, and stores it in a disk or tape archive from where it can be searched and used to satisfy eDiscovery requests.

Mimosa added SharePoint content capture in March this year. Now, with an expanded set of content types and sources to ingest, index, store and protect it has upgraded the NearPoint platform services.

NearPoint 4.0 has unified eDiscovery across email, file system, and SharePoint content. The aim is to have lawyers working on eDiscovery get results faster and so cut down legal costs based on hourly rate billing.

Search and pre-review eDiscovery activities can now be carried out directly by legal teams instead of being handled by the IT department. There are new workflow tools to organise and share complex search queries. For enterprise and multi-national customers searches can be automated and federated across domains and geographies with granulated permissions. Searches can also be scheduled to automatically populate a case with new content received into the archive.

General archive content access has been improved so that workers get email and file system content presented in Outlook, OWA or a browser user interface. NearPoint 4.0 provides offline access to its archive via a cache. It is integrated with Windows Desktop Search (WDS) such that active and archived content is presented in a single view with query terms highlighted in the search results.

The capture facility has been upgraded with Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) based Continuous Application Shadowing. Mimosa says this speeds the log application process by an order of magnitude. Customers can use a Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) option combined with Exchange Journaling as an alternative to Continuous Application Shadowing.

Mimoa has also added an extensible framework to add capture methods in the future using device snapshots, backup copies, Exchange Web Services (EWS) and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). The company says that NearPoint 4.0's generalised capture framework is designed to support server, device and network methods for capture of on-premise and hosted email.

Data storage capacity needs are reduced with the new release through compression, delta storage for distribution list changes, compaction of message headers, and enhanced support for de-duplication devices such as those from Data Domain.

NearPoint 4.0 is certified for use with VMware and Hyper-V for integration into virtual datacenter infrastructures.

There is an enhanced software development kit (SDK) to enable other archive products to work with NearPoint and, Mimosa hopes, migrate to it. These other products can use the SDK to apply record management policies and legal holds in place, without the need to move or copy the original content.

In the autumn we can look forward to Mimosa adding a capability to have archive contents stored in the cloud. There is no indication yet of how this will be done but a partnership arrangement with a cloud storage provider looks to be a reasonable bet, much as NearPoint partners with Data Domain say, for a deduplicated archive.

Competitor Mimecast already offers a cloud archive service.

As an archive becomes larger and larger, a greater and greater percentage of a business's data could reside in it and it becomes the standard means to store and protect non-active data and provide access facilities for general users as well as eDiscovery lawyers and compliance officials. Mimosa's progress: startup in 2003; 300 customers in September 2007; 525 in September 2008; and 730 in March this year, suggests that this message is getting across. ®

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