Microsoft Fleshes Out Data Protection Manager Details

The application, which has been in beta for more than two months, replicates changes to files on multiple file servers to a separate DPM server as often as once per hour to eliminate backup windows and cut the time it takes to restore one or more files to previous versions, said Ben Matheson, group product manager for DPM at Microsoft, Redmond, Wash.

"It's Microsoft's first entry into the backup market," said Matheson. "It was developed from the ground up for disk-based backups."

For customers looking to continue using tape to archive data, Microsoft is also releasing a software development kit that allows third-party software developers to work with DPM, Matheson said. CommVault Systems, Oceanport, N.J., is expected to release such a feature within a month, while Computer Associates International, EMC's Legato and Yosemite Technologies are working on the feature, he said.

DPM is expected to compete with software and appliances from a number of vendors, including the upcoming Panther software from Symantec, which was developed by Veritas.

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Brian Greene, senior product manager at Symantec, Cupertino, Calif., said that while both DPM and Panther are disk-based backup products, Panther is also integrated with Symantec's Backup Exec to be part of a complete, single-vendor backup solution.

Also, said Greene, while DPM backs up changes to files every hour at the most, Panther offers continuous data protection, which means it captures every change as it happens. "When customers talk about disk-based backups, they want the backups to be done as quickly as possible," he said. "They don't want to wait for backups in batches."

Greene said that Panther also allows customers to set policies, such as which files should be saved for how many days or weeks before being deleted.

Panther is expected to be released before the end of the year, said Greene.

DPM will be released to manufacturing within 30 days, said Matheson. The software will be available as a stand-alone boxed product with an estimated retail price of $950, including one DPM server and licenses for up to three file servers, with additional file server licenses available for $189. For the volume license channel, the maximum price is $425 for DPM with no file server licenses, and $147 per file server license.

The software will be integrated within Microsoft's Advanced Infrastructure competency in the Microsoft Partner Program, under which the company will provide its channel partners with technical and market training, testing and certification starting in September, said Matheson. "We want to help them really create a business around DPM," he said.

DPM will be a boon to the 90 percent of businesses today including small and midsize businesses and their partners that use tape for backups, Matheson said. "We are advocating that customers have a disk-to-disk-to-tape strategy," he said.