US remote backup specialist Connected has bought British e-mail archiving developer Rchive-it.com in a £1.5m-plus deal. The acquisition means that the American will offer its users more than the ability to backup remote PCs.

"Backup today is not an archive, you can't apply policies or use it for audit trails," says Greg Nicastro, Connected's VP of corporate development.

"We wanted to be part of a more complete archiving solution, and e-mail is driving that today. What we really like about the Rchive-it platform is it's a platform to provide information lifecycle management for distributed data."

Rchive-it CTO and co-founder John Iball says the two companies will fit well together: "The technology we use to index and audit can be applied to distributed data too, and Connected has the tools to retrieve that distributed data."

He adds that while his company's MailStore product is similar in some ways to other e-mail archiving systems, it was built using open standards such as Java and designed to be flexible and extensible.

So although the initial aim is to use Connected's greater size and sales resources to bring MailStore to a bigger market, the eventual aim is to go beyond email archiving.

"We believe that over time there will be a requirement to archive more than just e-mail, so over the next 12 to 15 months we will broaden the archive to include all the unstructured data we currently manage at the network's edge," says Nicastro.

He adds that MailStore development will now be moved to the US, and says he expects around half of Rchive-it's 12 staff to move with it.