Microsoft to Release Disk Backup in 30 Days

Microsoft will release its first backup-to-disk software system to manufacturers within 30 days, the company said at its Worldwide Partner Conference.

The software giant said it has the only product that allows end users to recover lost data from their desktop. Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) backs up data from local or remote file servers and can be set to back up as often as every hour.

Initially, only Windows file servers will be protected, but Microsoft said it will add SQL Server and Exchange server protection in the future.

Other Features

The software package also includes an active directory domain for discovering servers and maintaining security settings of files and folders. A tape device can be attached to the DPM server as a long-term storage option.

While major manufacturers Veritas, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Computer Associates all offer disk backup, they are tape systems retrofitted for disk. DPM was designed exclusively for disks. The software giant is far from the only company offering disk backup, but many of the other companies are startups, Michelle Zou, research analyst, IDC, told TechNewsWorld.

“The potential impact to the market is big. They have such a huge channel partner network,” she said, adding that when Microsoft first announced the beta of the system, many smaller manufacturers scrambled to get their products out and win customers before Microsoft entered the market.

Big Market

IDC, which tracks the backup and archive market together, estimates the market in 2004 to be US$2.6 billion, the majority of that in backup software. The firm forecasts that market will rise to $3.5 billion in 2009.

“It’s a big market. That’s why Microsoft is interested in this market,” Zou said.

Disks are faster, easier to manage and don’t fail as often as tapes, but they are usually more expensive. As disk prices go down, more and more companies will make the move to disks, Zou believes, but tapes are convenient for storing data off site that does not have to be easily accessible such as information that must be kept long-term for regulatory reasons.

DPM software is expected to be available this quarter and carry a retail price of about $950 for one server and protection of three file servers. A license for each additional file server will cost $189. Volume license customers will pay no more than $425 without file server licenses. Each file server license will cost $147.

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