Sonian Gets $13.6M Funding For Cloud-based Archive Search, E-discovery

Cloud archiving and search technology developer Sonian this week unveiled that it has closed a new round of investment, giving the company an additional $13.6 million it plans to use to invest in growing its sales and marketing capabilities and beef up its channel.

The new C-round of funding brings the total investment in Newton, Mass.-based Sonian to $27 million since its founding in 2007.

Sonian focuses its business on the archiving of emails and files in public clouds, and it has developed applications for e-discovery and search to help customers gain additional value from that archived data, said Jon Pilkington, vice president of marketing and product management.

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Sonian provides the front end to customers for archiving emails and files on public clouds, primarily Amazon Web Services, said Pilkington. The company has also recently started to work with Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM's SmartCloud and with San Antonio, Texas-based Rackspace, he said.

Seattle-based Amazon and Broomfield, Colo.-based Webroot were early strategic investors in Sonian but did not participate in the latest round of funding because Sonian has expanded its public cloud offerings, Pilkington said. "Both had observer status on our Board," he said. "No longer. They decided since we are using a multi-cloud strategy, they would not add to their investments."

Sonian's business comes from three primary industry drivers, Pilkington said. The first is customers who want to get their email data off their Exchange or other system but keep it available forever. The second is customers who want to have data archived for easy availability for e-discovery purposes. And, the third is for compliance purposes.

Pilkington said Sonian's system works well for customers who, because of compliance reasons, need to prove they know where an email or file is stored.

"We replicate data eight ways," he said. "But customers can retrieve the original document for compliance purposes. And it's never replicated outside of the customer's geographical area."

Data archived by Sonian is encrypted both in transit and at rest, Pilkington said. "We are now going through FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) Moderate certification," he said. "We want to get the security stamp on our application. AWS is already FISMA Moderate certified."

NEXT: Taking Advantage Of Public Clouds

Sonian primarily targets SMB customers with fewer than 250 users, with about 95 percent of its sales coming from indirect sales channels, Sonian's Pilkington said. However, it does have a few enterprise customers thanks to a relation with IBM's Lotus business.

By working with public clouds to archive emails and files, Sonian offers several advantages over other archiving systems, Pilkington said.

"Many companies take their old collocation facility, and say it's a cloud," he said. "But it's not. Amazon has lowered the cost of its cloud 19 times. We wring out pennies every day by managing our stack."

Public clouds also provide infinite capacity, Pilkington said. "This allows us to expand as needed," he said. "And we can expand and contract CPUs as needed. We get elasticity. When we do a particular process, we can get as much processing as we need, then turn it off when we're done. Amazon often auctions off CPU times. This allows us to buy for pennies, and then run search processes at night. Colos can't do that."