Towards the end of March 2012 Google released an e-discovery product called Google Apps Vault for the Google Apps suite priced at $5/user/month. While there are some key records management features missing, the product is a step in the right direction.
I expect Google Apps Vault to cause some disruption in the e-Discovery market (in the U.S. at least) because the U.S. Government have long had plans to streamline their operations and move to the Cloud (thanks Vivek Kundra!) but have had to stick to the more traditional on-premise EDRMS solutions manage their records. With Google Apps Vault, online records becomes more of a reality.
While I don’t believe Australian Government organisations will readily adopt the Google Cloud due to their overt caution to “anything” related to data sovereignty, this could quickly change if Google provisioned a local data centre in Oz and ran geographically partitioned instances of GFS, MapReduce and BigTable (very slim chance of that happening, I know!).
Upon release, there has been some confusion within the Google Partner ecosystem as the value proposition of Google Apps Vault rings similar to GMD within Postini services.
Adam Swidler from Google sums up the differences nicely in the following excerpt from his comments in an online forum:
“Google Apps Vault is a completely new archiving solution, built from the ground up and working natively with Apps. While there is some overlap with Postini/GMD functionality as they both archive email for the purposes of retention and eDiscovery, there are key differences including:
- Google Apps Vault is built natively in Google Apps and provides a true manage-in-place capability;
- Vault can archive on-the-record chat messages;
- Vault plans to support additional data types in the future (stay tuned for more information). GMD only supports email;
- There is no time limit on retention. GMD has a maximum retention period of 10 years;
- Easy set-up through the Apps CPanel. GMD has a separate, non-integrated user interface;
- Vault supports archiving email and on-the-record chat messages in all languages that Google Apps supports. GMD does not support as many languages, particularly double-byte languages;
- Vault can leverage existing migration tools for Gmail which gives customers more flexibility and can lower costs;
- Vault can be deployed “on-demand” and immediately begin applying information governance policies to the data that exists in your domain’s Gmail inboxes (legacy and newly created data). GMD starts capturing messages from the time that it is deployed and requires Historic Message Journaling to load historical email into the GMD archive.”