EMC Makes SMB, Channel, Macintosh Play With Dantz Acquisition


EMC scored a triple-play with the acquisition of Dantz Development, a small developer of data backup and restore software under the Retrospect brand.

EMC executives on Tuesday said the deal will cost the company less than $50 million cash. It also will bring under EMC's wing a new entry-level backup and recovery software tool for small businesses and a new group of solution providers, as well as leadership in the Apple Macintosh backup space.

Solution providers said the move was a smart one for EMC, which has in the past year or so showed a keen interest in small businesses with the introduction of SAN and NAS products for the space.

However, they warned that Dantz's software still has some work to do before it can be counted on for the Windows space.

John Thome, vice president of Chi, a Cleveland-based solution provider that has sold Dantz's Retrospect software for years into tape and Macintosh environments, said that while Dantz is strong in the Macintosh space, applications such as Legato NetWorker—also owned by EMC—cost two or three times more but can do much more.

"Dantz owns the Macintosh backup space," Thome said. "But for Windows and Linux folks, they have a small market share. [In those markets], few people know the name Dantz. With EMC acquiring it, this will put some oomph behind Dantz."

That Macintosh strength will help EMC branch out into other areas, Thome said. "If EMC is looking at the Mac market—and the video editing, video production and prepress space—this is the way to do it," he said.

EMC is using Dantz to go after the Macintosh and OEM market, said Eryck Bredy, president of Bredy Network Management, a Woburn, Mass.-based solution provider.

"Dantz is the only game in town in the Mac-based backup market," he said. "They also have very good small-business customers, and a strong OEM channel."

George Symons, CTO of information management at EMC, said Dantz is a strategically important acquisition because of EMC's continued expansion into the small-business space.

"The SMB market is where the growth for backup and recovery is coming from," Symons said. "So it's important for EMC to get into this space."

That is exactly what EMC will do with Dantz, said Tony Barbagallo, Dantz's vice president of sales and marketing.

Dantz currently sells about 25 percent of its products through OEMs such as Western Digital, Maxtor, Sony, Symantec and Iomega, much of which then goes through the channels, Barbagallo said. About 15 percent to 20 percent go through Web-based or telephone sales. The rest goes through distributors such as Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Bell Microproducts, he said.

Dantz's Retrospect software is a good complement to EMC's product line, Symons said. The company has already introduced two hardware platforms to the small-business space, including the AX100 SAN array and the NetWin 110 NAS appliance. For midsize businesses, the company also offers the RepliStor and Co-Standby Server applications it received as part of its acquisition last year of Legato, he said.

The Dantz software will be a good fit for EMC's Clariion AX100 series of entry-level RAID arrays, Thome said . "Dantz allows a customer to do a full backup, then just back up the changes," he said. "It's for people doing lower-end disk-to-disk backups and who don't need the features of the Legato software. For the Clariion CX-series, Legato is good. But for the AX100, Dantz is a better fit."

For EMC, the Dantz software is a way for it to go head-to-head with Veritas Software's NetBackup and Computer Associates International's ARCserve software in the small-business space, Symons said. "Dantz has the ease of use and ease of installation lacking from Veritas and [CA]."

Thome said the acquisition means Dantz should find a bigger home in the channel. "Since EMC bought Legato, and we have got engaged with EMC on more opportunities, we've probably sold more Legato than before because of that relationship," he said. "It may help us with Dantz, too. But it will definitely help EMC."

There is less certainty about how much of a threat EMC poses to Veritas and CA, Thome said. "I think they are more worried about each other than about Dantz," he said.