Storage heavyweight EMC said Tuesday it has signed an agreement to acquire eDiscovery software vendor Kazeon, a move which could help the company become a major force in searching for data not only in the legal space but across a wide range of data sources.
Kazeon's eDiscovery software provides eDiscovery and litigation support for the corporations, legal service providers, law firms and consultants, letting them search, classify and act on the growing volumes of electronically stored information dispersed throughout their networks.
EDiscovery is technology that allows the searching of electronic volumes of data including electronic documents, e-mails, instant messages, databases and other sources for the purpose of locating data relevant to litigation. The relevant data is then held in a separate archive in such a way that it can be proven in court that no changes were made as part of the process.
Kazeon is the second acquisition unveiled by EMC this week. On Monday, EMC said it acquired FastScale Technology, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of software platforms for building, optimizing, managing and deploying application environments in physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures.
With Kazeon, EMC plans to offer end-to-end, in-house eDiscovery and litigation solutions as part of its EMC SourceOne family of modular eDiscovery, archiving and compliance solutions.
The Kazeon technology both complements and expands EMC's current archiving offerings and makes the company a powerful provider of information search technology, said Whitney Tidmarsh, CMO for EMC's Content Management and Archiving division.
Because the acquisition is not expected to close for a couple of weeks, EMC cannot discuss plans for integrating Kazeon's technology into SourceOne, Tidmarsh said.
However, Tidmarsh said, there are a couple of assumptions that can be made.
First, she said, EMC currently has two technologies for eDiscovery data searches and collection that could be combined. One of them, EMC Discovery Manager, searches and collects information from EMC archives only. The other, EMC Discovery Collector, is based on a long-term partnership with Kazeon that allows the searching and discovery of data from multiple vendors' archives, from other data pools and data "in the wild," she said.
"It's natural to assume more will be done here," she said.
The second is in the area of search, a business that EMC has been talking about for some time, Tidmarsh said.
"With the large amount of information available, how to search for it becomes important, not just for eDiscovery but also in general," she said. "Documentum has powerful search tools. Kazeon has tools for legal searches. Certainly, there's an opportunity for EMC to combine the two to do federated searches of a variety of information sources, including content systems, file systems, Web sites, archives, a long list of sources."
EMC has technology partnerships with several eDiscovery providers, but chose to acquire Kazeon in order to become a more holistic provider of eDiscovery and archiving tools, Tidmarsh said.
"Of all the partners we work with, Kazeon offers the most complete solution," she said. "It has an end-to-end solution that delivers against all the ERD [electronics records discovery] modules."
EMC will continue to work with other eDiscovery partners in order to offer customers choice, Tidmarsh said. "But we will lead with Kazeon," she said.
One of those other partners, StoredIQ, Austin, Texas, wrote in a statement not attributed to any specific person that the eDiscovery space has seen a great deal of consolidation, and that "a number of vendors that could not compete independently in this quickly changing world have become attractive targets for companies such as EMC."
StoredIQ also wrote that it is continuing to expand on its technology and channel-partner relationships. "EMC is just one partner in a growing network of industry relationships. We continue to see quarter- to-quarter growth in sales among some of the largest and industry-leading companies, and look forward to continuing our growth with all of our partners."
Kazeon also partners with other companies who use its eDiscovery solutions, including such EMC competitors as IBM and Symantec. Tidmarsh said that those relationships will not be affected by the acquisition.
Kazeon also has a number of solution provider partners who may be concerned about the acquisition.
Sudhakar Muddu, founder and CEO of Kazeon, addressed those concerns with an open letter to partners in which he wrote that the acquisition will benefit them with continued relationships and further investment in the technology.
"As a valued partner who has made significant investment in Kazeon technology, I wanted to let you know that EMC is dedicated to investing in and growing our product capabilities and scope, as well as strengthening our partnership. You can expect continuity and investment protection, as well as a smooth, mutually beneficial working relationship. Additionally, as the acquisition will dramatically expand our financial and technical resources, you will immediately benefit from a breadth of technology innovation and world-class partnership program unsurpassed in the marketplace," Muddu wrote.