A new e-Discovery worry to consider: Virtual Machines


From EnterpriseStorageForum.com comes an article about Virtual Machines and the impact they may have on e-discovery.

First things first. What are Virtual Machines? EnterpriseStorageForum.com defines them this way:

A self-contained operating environment that behaves as if it is a separate computer. For example, Java applets run in a Java virtual machine (VM) that has no access to the host operating system. This design has two advantages:

• System Independence: A Java application will run the same in any Java VM, regardless of the hardware and software underlying the system.

• Security: Because the VM has no contact with the operating system, there is little possibility of a Java program damaging other files or applications.

The second advantage, however, has a downside. Because programs running in a VM are separate from the operating system, they cannot take advantage of special operating system features.

Companies such as Kazeon Systems are offering solutions for the problem. In Kazeon’s case, they claim support for VMware (NYSE: VMW) in its Information Server product line. Version 3.1 of the software supports VMware instances and VMware images so users can discover unknown or hidden virtual instances on servers, laptops and desktops.

Taneja Group founder and consulting analyst Arun Taneja noted that the rise of server virtualization has led to more and more information being stored in virtual machines.

“Traditional e-discovery products and methods have not evolved sufficiently and can potentially miss out on important, relevant and incomplete information associated with a legal matter that is contained in unknown or deliberately hidden virtual environments,” Taneja said.

The bottom line? While not as obvious as email, text and instant messages, this is yet another area that law firms and corporate counsel alike need to consider when developing and implementing their e-discovery plans and processes.

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