HDS Set To Acquire Data Archiving Software Maker

Hitachi Data Systems is set to announce Tuesday its acquisition of Archivas, a developer of software for archiving and searching of data for compliance applications.

Archivas' Archive Cluster (ArC) software puts content from multiple sources into a centralized repository which enables a single tool to search all the content regardless of how it was created. The contents of a file, along with its metadata and policies that govern its retention, is converted into a non-rewritable, non-erasable object.

When the data is stored, a full text scan is done of the content. This enables users to search the data while maintaining a copy of the original content, and also allows the hashing of an object based on the original data to be used to authenticate that the data was not changed.

Other vendors offer similar solutions. EMC, for instance, last April put together a unified archiving platform, consisting of software from several acquisitions, including e-mail archiving from Legato, document imaging from Captiva, report archiving from Acartus, and document management from Documentum, along with its own Centera line of content-addressable storage appliances.

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Others include IBM's DR550 family of storage arrays for storing and securing regulated and non-regulated data, and Hewlett-Packard's HP StorageWorks Reference Information Storage System (RISS), an application-aware, content-based archiving array.

Claus Mikkelsen, chief scientist for HDS, said the difference between the HDS/ArC and other solutions like EMC's Centera is in the openess of the solution. EMC stores data based on proprietary application APIs and allows searches based only on those APIs, Mikkelsen said. Archivas instead allows full text searches across multiple applications, not just the metadata.

"So if the SEC knocks on the door one day and says, 'You have 60 days to provide data,' with Centera you need an army of temps to read all the e-mails and PDFs and whatever," he said. "Archivas uses a Google-like search."

HDS has been working with Archivas to offer combined hardware/software solutions since the two signed a technology agreement in June.

Dave Cerniglia, president of Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and HDS partner, said he is thrilled to see HDS make an acquisition like this.

In fact, he said he is thrilled to see HDS, which tends to depend on its own technology, make any acquisition. "I get a little frustrated because Hitachi is slower than others like EMC to acquire," Cerniglia said. "It's great if they can acquire the technology -- makes it easier for them to seed the market. This is small in the scope of things of that the market is doing. But it's big for Hitachi. They can't sit around while the market develops, while in the meantime hundreds of other companies come out with new products."

Consiliant just last month started offering the Hitachi Content Archive Platform to customers, and this week is working with Hitachi and Archivas to present the solution to customers in the New York area, Cerniglia said.

Mikkelsen said the acquisition comes at a time when the archiving and discovery market is really starting to grow. "We've already did much of the integration [of ArC into our products]," he said. "Now we can finish the integration. Our sales pipeline with this product is very big. The acquisition allows us to capitalize on this market."

Mikkelsen did not disclose financial details of the acquisition.

*Story updated Feb. 6 with HDS comment.