Like lots of other eDiscovery professionals this morning, I had to do a double take when I read the press release today from Kazeon announcing their new partnership with Attenex, titled, “Attenex and Kazeon Announce eDiscovery Alliance“. The double take was caused by the fact that Kazeon announced that they can deliver industry-leading price/performance for in-house processing of ESI in preparation for reactive and proactive eDiscovery matters as low as $4.30 per Gigabyte. This is actually not new news as they had previously contended in a press release titled “ESG Lab Finds Kazeon’s Information Server Delivers Fast and Cost Effective Information Access” this same financial offering in a slightly less alarming way by stating that the ESG Lab verified impressive price/performance with a single Kazeon Information Server appliance able to index 2,500 documents per dollar and a cost as low as $4,300 dollars per terabyte (which is approximately $4.19 per gigabyte).
However, any way you crunch the numbers, position the cost or spin the offering, it is just flat alarming and bordering on unbelievable for both users and technology vendors in the eDiscovery market. Bottom line, whether or not you believe that Kazeon is comparing true eDiscovery apples with the rest of the apples in the market, it doesn’t matter as this is definitely the first shot across the bow of the rest of the eDiscovery vendors. Prices are comming down and the rest of the market is going to have to keep up. Unfortunately, many of them have very old technology that requires lots of manual manipulation and processing and therefore may not have the “legs” to stay in the race. I don’t see any dramatic changes in 2008 as users will still trying to figure out what they are getting for thier investments or not getting from each of the vendors. However, once this is all common knowledge, 2009 may be the year of the changing of the vendor guard in eDiscovery.
All of that being said, the best comments on this press release came from Kurt Leafstrand of Clearwell on his eDiscovery 2.0 Blog. The title of his posting is “eDiscovery Processing: You Get What You Pay For” and does a really great job of questioning whether or not Kazeon can really support even the minimum requirements of the EDRM processing node for what basically amounts to the less than the cost of my favorite Starbukcs venti, breve, sugar free hazlenut latte.
With all the talk of the cost of lattes, maybe the next big eDiscovery winner will be the vendor that announces a cross marketing deal with Starbucks to include a free venti latte with every GB of data procesed. Remember that you heard it first here on the eDiscovery Paradigm Shift Blog.
Because I beleive that it is one of the more humerous eDiscovery posts that I have read in some time, I am inlcuding the entire contents of Kurts Blog post below:
Anyone reading today’s announcement from Kazeon could be forgiven for doing a double-take: did someone misplace the decimal point? Kazeon claims that it can perform “processing of ESI in preparation for eDiscovery matters as low as $4.30 per Gigabyte.” Assuming that’s not simply a typo, it begs an obvious question: If Kazeon really can process information at a tiny fraction of what e-discovery service providers are charging, how come every e-discovery service provider isn’t going out of business? Why wouldn’t everyone take this incredibly good deal?
The answer (in press releases, as in politics) lies in definitions. Exactly what sort of processing would you be getting for your four dollars and change?
You’ll have to ask Kazeon to get the answer to that one, but give a venti latte to a bleary-eyed e-discovery service provider who’s just pulled an all-nighter preparing for a meet-and-confer, and they’ll tell you all about the nuances, complexities, and risks inherent in e-discovery processing that may be difficult for enterprise search/information lifecycle management vendors to grasp. Quite likely, they will refer you to EDRM’s processing node overview, which outlines the basic goals of robust processing:
- Capture and preserve the body of electronic documents;
- Associate document collections with particular users (custodians);
- Capture and preserving the metadata associated with the electronic files within the collections;
- Establish the parent-child relationship between the various source data files;
Automate the identification and elimination of redundant, duplicate data with the given dataset;
- Provide a means to programmatically suppress material that is not relevant to the review based on criteria such as keywords, date ranges or other available metadata;
- Unprotect and reveal information within files; and Accomplish all of these goals in a manner that is both defensible with respect to clients’ legal obligations and appropriately cost-effective and expedient in the context of the matter.
And that’s just the high-level overview. After the caffeine from the latte starts to kick in, they’ll tell you it’s also absolutely critical to:
- Provide statistical count tie-outs that reconcile every incoming email, loose file, and attachment with the processed document set
- Automatically scan critical large container files (such as PSTs) for errors and problems prior to processing
- Automatically perform custodian mapping to track ownership of all documents
Maintain detailed reports on every anomaly encountered during processing, down to the individual email, loose file, and attachment
- Automatically handle common metadata anomalies (with logging) so that the maximum number of documents are made available for review
- Provide robust and thorough handling for container files regardless of container format
Support non-email content types such as contacts, calendar entries, tasks, and notes
- Robustly handle embedded objects
- Provide full visibility into exceptions encountered during processing, along with an integrated exception handling process to allow repaired/decrypted data to be easily added back into the document set
All that for under five bucks? That’s quite a deal! But remember, if you drive by your corner gas station tomorrow morning and they’re advertising regular unleaded for 20 cents a gallon: It may be cheap, but it’s probably not gas you’re getting.