Index Engines is in its fourth year of operation. It says its mission is organise enterprise data assets and make them immediately accessible and easily manageable. It is about the discovery, classification and management of enterprise data.

(For some background to the relevance off this read about AMD and Intel's litigation.)

Index Engines was started by Tim Williams and Gordon Harris, who prior to Index Engines, were responsible for successful startups that include CrosStor and Tacit Networks. CrosStor was a storage operating system company that was sold to EMC in November of 2000. Tacit Networks, a remote office file-sharing product supplier, was sold to Packeteer in 2006. The two founders have great track records and have started up a company to sell product into the data indexing and classification space.

It competes with Kazeon and Scentric, also Zantaz. What is the Index Engines technology like?

The Index Engines Enterprise Discovery Platform automates information access and retrieval by streamlining online discovery and introducing the industry’s only solution capable of retrieving content directly from backup/archive tapes without the need to first restore the data back to disk. This approach dramatically compresses the electronic discovery process to save hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars in recovery expenses.

According to a recent report by Forrester Research, the eDiscovery technology market, which in 2006 was worth close to $1.5 billion, will grow to almost $4.9 billion by 2011. The largest direct cost is the collection, processing and review of data, which on average runs about $1,800 per gigabyte. The Index Engines technology should reduce this cost.

Generally methods of electronic discovery are built around getting the least amount of data required to satisfy legal requirements. Litigators today are afraid to ask for electronically stored information since doing so could put their organization at risk of being asked for an equal amount of actionable data. However, amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) that went into effect on December 1 require that organizations be prepared to locate and produce information in electronic format— including emails, files, and database data—during legal litigation. Index Engines says it delivers fast and easy access to all corporate data irregardless of where it rests, making eDiscovery easier, better and less expensive.

Brian Babineau, a senior analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group, said: "The Index Engines eDiscovery Platform compresses the eDiscovery process to reduce the expensive and time consuming restore process associated with backup and archive tape-based information recovery. This will undoubtedly be of value to organizations challenged with identifying content across the enterprise."

Index Engines says there is a paradigm shift going on in eDiscovery. It will no longer be a project-based effort in which companies respond to legal requests case by case, creating a searchable repository, performing the discovery, then deleting the repository only to repeat the operation and expense for the next request. Instead it is an ongoing effort with a continually updated repository.

Index Engines ingests data from all online and offline data stores, creating a permanent repository that can be searched at a moment’s notice. This is done more efficiently than ever before, allowing billions of files to be indexed an order of magnitude faster than previously available and in a very cost-effective manner.

Enterprise Discovery Platform appliance

Index Engines’ Enterprise eDiscovery Platform is an appliance-based offering that collects and prepares data in support of electronic discovery faster and more accurately than any existing solution on the market. Data is indexed at wire speed through connections on a storage area network (SAN) or local area network (LAN) for availability on demand when needed.

Index Engines has added offline indexing to extract content from tape without the need to restore it to disk, creating the industry’s first comprehensive eDiscovery platform. This indexing process is clean and accurate —no metadata is modified and there is no spoilage. Search and management tools ensure that sought after information is found without duplication. This product includes:

- Full content reconstruction of documents without requiring the full restoration of tape content.
- Extraction of metadata – Once a query is executed, metadata and file contents can be exported to today’s most popular document management systems for further review and analysis.
- Offline tape document restoration – After query execution, full file content can be restored. IT administrators receive detailed reports with all the information necessary to efficiently restore the specific file.
- Dynamic de-duplication – Duplicate files will not be displayed when a query is executed. This ends the need to eliminate duplicate files in order to guarantee that only unique files and email are uncovered.

According to National Data Conversion (NDC), a leading US-based compliance, backup tape restoration, data conversion, and electronic discovery firm with over 20 years experience in litigation support and corporate compliance, Index Engines is breaking down the barriers for cost-effective and efficient electronic discovery. Chris Clark, COO at NDC, said: “We have chosen to work with Index Engines because no one else can do what they do in terms of searching and finding data without having to restore backup and archived content in proprietary formats. Online or offline, Index Engines finds and produces targeted data faster than any solution we’ve seen on the market, cutting eDiscovery costs by more than 50 percent.”

Index Engines’ Enterprise Discovery Platform will serve as the engine behind NDC’s data discovery process. NDC will integrate the technology as part of the company’s pre-discovery processing to rapidly identify, access, and index historical information stored on tapes it is sent.

Tim Williams, CEO of Index Engines, claims: “Organizations armed with our eDiscovery platform will have significant competitive advantages in terms of speed, cost and accuracy.”

The eDiscovery Platform is not cheap, being currently available with prices starting at $50,000 for a package that scales to support a four million file network.