Microsoft enters data backup and recovery mart

Microsoft Corp. is entering the crowded backup and recovery solutions market with the beta release of its System Centre Data Protection Manager (DPM).

The software giant first announced DPM under the name Data Protection Server last September. The goal was to provide customers using Microsoft’s Windows file servers a disk-based backup solution that would simplify and speed up backup and recovery of production files and other information.

Beta can be downloaded at this site

Dave Ryan, senior product manager for Data Protection Manager in Redmond, Wash. said current recovery and data backup solutions are often “unreliable and painful, with typical recoveries taking hours or even days.”

According to Ryan, 42 per cent of companies have had a failed recovery in the past year and most backups and recoveries are being done by IT managers who are often overwhelmed by the process and time it takes to do it right. This is unacceptable in today’s corporate world where data needs to be backed up regularly and recovered quickly. It also runs contrary to new regulatory requirements, outlined in Sarbanes-Oxley in the United States and PIPEDA in Canada, are to be met.

“So what we wanted to provide to customers in a Windows server environment is a fast and efficient way to back up and recover files,” Ryan added.

DPM works by grabbing files and data images from an enterprise’s file servers and backs that data on to a central DPM server. Files and data can be backed up on a flexible schedule, hourly, daily, or weekly. These DPM disk backups can be transferred later to tape for archival storage.

Ryan said DPM could be used in branch offices to back up data, and later using a wide area network (WAN) send the data to a company’s headquarters where it can be archived on traditional tape. He added Microsoft is using DPM in 120 of its branch offices.

Alan Freedman, research manager specializing in infrastructure hardware with the Toronto-based IDC Canada said Microsoft has been working on DPM for some time. He said Microsoft saw backup and recovery was becoming more important to its customers, who were looking for an application “that could be easily integrated into their networks.”

“There is a real need in the marketplace right now for backup and recovery products like this as companies realize they can’t get by anymore without a solid recovery plan,” Freedman added. “Areas such as business [continuity] and disaster recovery are really big right now.”

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