Microsoft Backs Up on CDP Claim

Renames data protection product and admits it's not continuous

April 14, 2005

2 Min Read
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PHOENIX -- Storage Networking World -- The data protection product Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is demonstrating at Storage Networking World has a new name and a slightly different description than when first announced last fall (see Microsoft's Recovery Plan and Microsoft Makes DPM Beta Public).

Microsoft announced Data Protection Server last September and the product, now called System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM), is on track to ship in the second half of this year. But even if it ships on time, DPM will only be the first step towards an enterprise-class backup product.

Why the new name? Microsoft's group product manager Ben Matheson says "Systems Center" is the new product family for all Microsoft systems management products, and all the product names in the family will end with "Manager."

DPM uses a combination of snapshots and replication to back up files, but stops short of the continuous data protection (CDP) capabilities that Microsoft claimed last fall.

Customers will install agents on all protected servers. While the product acts a lot like CDP products aimed at SMBs from startups Storactive Inc. and TimeSpring Software Corp., it stops short of doing restores from any point in time. It also will work only on file servers.Matheson says Systems Center will eventually work with Exchange and SQL Server -- the Windows applications best suited for replicating for disaster recovery purposes. It might get true CDP capability too, but Matheson doesnt consider it necessary now.

“It’s not considered true continuous data protection,” Matheson says. “That’s defined as unlimited recovery. It’s something we’re evaluating. We’ve heard so far from our customers that an hour is enough.”

Matheson says the product is aimed at mid-sized data centers with five to 99 servers, and remote offices of large companies that run Exchange and SQL Server in the data center, but not locally. He says it is seen as complementary to tape backup, and most backup software vendors will support it.

However, leading backup software vendor Veritas Software Corp. (Nasdaq: VRTS) appears to be on a collision course with Microsoft, and not just in the backup space (see Veritas Plots Its Backup Plan. Veritas is about to become part of Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) as part of a $13 billion acquisition, and Symantec sees its security and Veritas’s backup software as a two-front battle against Microsoft (see Symantec Execs Give Details and Symantec & Veritas: It's a Deal).

The Windows market accounts for about one-quarter of Veritas’s revenue, and Symantec CEO John Thompson said today he’s not about to concede anything to Microsoft.“Veritas has been very strong protecting Windows,” Thompson said when asked of Microsoft’s entry onto Veritas’s turf. “Microsoft has an insatiable appetite for growth, and they’re trying to expand their wings. We welcome them.”

— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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