EMC Bundles Tech From Recent Deals For Consumer, Small Biz Storage

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EMC was completely unknown in the small business storage market until a couple of year ago was unheard of in the consumer storage market until this year. But it showed Wednesday it is serious about the market by introducing its first bundle, based on an external hard drive, and promising more to come for business-oriented users.

The new bundle features a 500-GB or 1-TB Iomega Prestige external USB hard drive, which comes with instructions on how to download a license for the Windows or Macintosh version of EMC Retrospect Express backup software, as well as a free subscription to the EMC MozyHome online backup service. That free service includes up to 2 GB of online storage capacity, with unlimited capacity available for $4.95 per month.

Previous purchasers of Iomega hard drives that are still under warranty can also download the backup software and service.

EMC just last month closed its $213 million acquisition of Iomega as part of a plan to expand into the small-business and consumer storage hardware market.

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That move followed EMC's $76 million acquisition of Berkeley Data Systems, the developer of the technology behind the Mozy online backup business.

EMC acquired of Dantz Development, a small developer of data backup and restore software under the Retrospect brand, in late 2004 for less than $50 million.

Bundling Iomega hardware with backup software and services has been planned for at least a year, long before EMC said it would buy Iomega, said Jonathan Huberman, former Iomega CEO and current president of EMC's Consumer and Small Business Products Group.

Iomega put out an RFP (request for proposals) a year ago, and EMC came back with the best offer, Huberman said. "I'd rather not talk about the losers," he said. "But they were all the relevant players."

Going forward, EMC plans to start integrating its LifeLine storage software into Iomega NAS appliances this summer and expects to add the Retrospect/Mozy bundle by year-end, Huberman said. However, he said, that new bundle will include the business version of the Mozy service.

Solution providers that worked with Retrospect since before EMC acquired Dantz said they will watch carefully how EMC handles the bundling of its products for small businesses and consumers.

Jerry Pape, principal at Excalibur, a Big Sky, Mont.-based small-business solution provider, said EMC is a very careful company that has shown itself to be concerned with customers' requirements, a concern he said he expects to continue going forward.

"The company has always invested in due diligence to make sure it provides the maximum amount of benefits," Pape said. "This is an example of that kind of activity."

Tedd Nipper, president of NexGenEx, a Medford, Ore.-based small-business solution provider, said he has a soft spot for Retrospect, and that, except for changes in how the Retrospect team communicates with customers and partners, little has changed since the acquisition.

NexGenEx is already selling a storage appliance from Zenith Infotech that offers both local storage backups and online storage as a service, Nipper said. "But we still find a lot of small-business customers are not comfortable with online storage," he said. "They still like to take things home. For customers under 75 users, they feel, well, it's my data, and I'll take care of it."

Even so, Nipper said he will try the new Iomega bundle. "I'm always interested in new products," he said. "I don't want to have a closed mind. I like to look at the specs, and wonder from the customers' point of view whether they would like it or not."