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EMC And HP Battle For Laptop Backup

EMC and HP are launching backup software for PCs this week. EMC's Avamar 5.0 now includes agents that reside on an end user's machine. The client runs scheduled backups that include deduplication so that only changes to files and data are sent to the backup server. The 5.0 client software performs a full image backup, including files, file systems, system state and applications.

HP's Data Protector Notebook Extension (DPNE) is also an agent that runs on client PCs and laptops. Unlike Avamar, DPNE is only for files and folders. DPNE offers a two-stage backup. First, the software creates a local repository directly on the user's hard drive. Each time the user saves, creates or receives a file, the agent copies it to the local repository. If the user saves the file multiple times, only changes to the file are added to the repository. HP says the local repository provides backup for critical files while mobile users are off the corporate network.

Files in the local repository are then copied to a data vault on the corporate network. The data vault software creates a Windows file share that desktops and laptops connect to. The data vault software runs on a typical Wintel server. As with the agent, only new or changed blocks of the files are sent to the data vault. In addition to the agent and data vault software, a policy server is included to configure policies and settings for end users, including the ability to encrypt and compress the local repository. Both the Avamar and DPNE clients let end users restore data themselves. The goal is to cut down on help desk calls by letting users find and recover lost or corrupted files on their own.

Each company is taking a different approach to the market. EMC wants you to buy Avamar for server and remote site backup, so it's adding the PC backup agents for free to the overall package. EMC prices Avamar based on deduplication capacity, and starts at $14,450 for a Tbyte of data. Other new features in Avamar 5.0 include integration with VMware's vSphere, which lets Avamar back up full images of virtual machines.

HP is going directly at the PC backup market and makes DPNE available as a standalone product. To promote adoption, HP only charges for the client license. The data vault and policy server software are included in the price. HP sells perpetual clients licenses in blocks of 100 and 1,000. A block of 1,000 licenses costs $20,000.