Recovery Software Digs Deep for Data

ActiveVault Enterprise will let users quickly sort tape archives for e-mail, attachments and user files.

Innovation on the recovery side of the backup/recovery industry has been red-hot recently, but RenewData Corp.s upcoming software spotlights extreme cases of getting back the oldest and most relevant information.

ActiveVault Enterprise, debuting from the drive recovery service and electronic evidence company this summer, will let users quickly sort tape archives for e-mail, attachments and user files. For speeds sake, it will recover just one copy of each datum, with metadata about the context, CEO and President Bob Gomes said.

"There isnt a company that knows, when theyre sued, if there isnt a smoking gun sitting in the backup tapes," Gomes said. "We developed this technology that allows us to put a tape into a drive and pull data right off," he said. Renew has used that tool in-house for years; whats new is selling it directly as software to enterprises, he said.

The 30-person, Austin, Texas, companys software runs on Windows 2000 and Red Hat Linux, and will cost about $300,000 to $800,000 on a per-terabyte basis, Gomes said. But, "theyre nominal compared to the damage that can be done if youre not able to comply," noted Charles Burton, vice president at Minton, Burton, Foster & Collins, p.c., also in Austin. The law firm has used ActiveVault in its services incarnation.

"Basically Im responding to massive subpoena requests, calling for a lot of documents and hard drives and that sort of thing. Weve had in-house computer experts who could respond to something minimal," Burton said. Equally important, "I dont see any lingering aftereffects" on clients IT infrastructure, he said.

ActiveVault Enterprise currently is tailored for Microsoft Corp.s Exchange. Future versions will support servers from IBMs Lotus division and from Novell Inc., Gomes said. The actual hardware location of recovered data is irrelevant, but network-attached storage is ideal because of its relative low cost and simplicity, he said. Data compression is also on the road map, he said.

"It isnt as unique as they say but [is] still very cutting edge. They seem to have a good understanding of their market," said industry analyst Rich Ptak, founder of Ptak & Associates Inc., in Amherst, N.H. "I think they are on to something."

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