Hitachi Data Systems has announced tools to search unstructured data stored across a range of enterprise applications, including Microsoft SharePoint.

The software, called Data Discovery Suite (DDS), is based on technology from Norwegian search specialist FAST, to which HDS has added its own indexing capabilities. FAST is currently the subject of a take-over bid from Microsoft.

Speaking at the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover, COO Jack Domme cited figures showing that unstructured or semi-structured data, such as files or email, is far more common than structured data such as databases and is growing much faster.

"80 percent of data is not in rows and columns - and that needs new ways of thinking," he said. "Not all data can go through a tagging process, yet the real value in data is the ability to search it."

He called this "rogue data" and said that unless it can be searched, users cannot get answers to their questions and organisations will lose out as a result - especially if one of those searches is compliance-related, and the organisation gets fined as a result of its inability to find the required information.

The DDS software searches data stored on Hitachi NAS servers and also on the company's Content Archive systems. In effect, it creates a common content store for all of an organisation's applications. It is accessed via either a Windows Vista search widget or a browser interface.

HDS also announced new NAS systems at CeBIT, updating both its Essential and High-performance ranges. The latter is based on technology from BlueArc (which is part-owned by HDS) and now stretches to as much as 4 petabytes per storage pool and 1600MB/sec per node, the company said.