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Jatheon pushes into U.S. market

The Canadian e-mail archiving company aims Plug n Comply appliance at growing demand from SMBs south of the border

Jatheon technologies, headquartered in Toronto, recently announced an aggressive push into the United States with its e-mail archiving appliance.

The appliance, named Plug n Comply, is designed to meet growing demand for archiving in the SMB market.

Kieron Dowling, Jatheon president and CEO, says that although archiving has been around for a while it’s been exceedingly complex.

“The SMB market falls under the same rules and regulations as the big guys,” says Dowling, “but they don’t have the big budgets.”

Jatheon promotes the product as being able to deliver on a range of compliance and regulatory requirements, and has a strong reference list of happy customers willing to sing its praises. Interestingly, one of these customers, the law firm Fraser Milner Casgrain (FMC), says the driver for them was less compliance or policy-based than it was on delivering on internal work-flow and customer satisfaction.

“Capturing e-mail is one thing, but it’s hard to get that information off of tape,” says John Esvelt, director of technology for FMC and a former lawyer. “This product starts off the bat with a search interface. We can search any topic and find it in 30 seconds. In a traditional system it would be weeks just to restore the back-up.”

The pricing is right — a Jatheon appliance starts at under $5,000 — and the feature set, which includes archiving of instant messages and policy-driven notifications, is good enough to give most small and mid-size companies all they need.

Part of the company’s reason for pushing hard into the U.S. is an estimate by the Radicati Group, a technology market research firm, that the e-mail archiving market will hit $6.1 billion by 2011. North America is thought to represent 60 per cent, and Europe 32 per cent, of global sales. A more sober assessment by Gartner puts the global market at $921 million by 2010, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.4 per cent. If that CAGR were to be maintained the market would hit $1.326 billion in 2010.

Still, that isn’t exactly loose change. But how does Jatheon compare in a crowded field that includes EMC, Symantec, CA, IBM, HP, and smaller players such as AXS-One, CommVault, Open Text, and Zantaz? The short answer is that the big guys are off the radar, and when it comes to a player like Zantaz this is really a technology decision regarding the relative merits of appliances versus hosted solutions.

The Radicati Group claims that 29 per cent of the e-mail archiving market is taken by hosted offerings; one can assume that a big chunk of that is in the SMB space. For customers like FMC, however, the data has to stay close to home.

“We have client confidentiality concerns, and don’t want to use an administrative back door,” says Esvelt. “A service provider would have to provide me with a level of security that currently doesn’t exist. Many vendors are on the move, but they aren’t there yet.”

For Esvelt the product has appeal in numerous areas. “The compression technology is impressive. We’ve stored 9.8 million (e-mail messages) since Jan. 1, 2006, and plan to go out 20 years. The price, the ease-of-use and set-up, this is what sold us on the product.”

Dowling claims that changes in the regulatory environment may put archiving under additional scrutiny, and that future Jatheon products will be built with this in mind. However, from Esvelt’s perspective the real appeal is still core functionality.

“Now the console assigns rights, but soon there will be an Outlook plug-in allowing a user to search for any e-mail to or from that person. This will provide for great customer service and take a load off of admin.”