Dell Previews DataSafe Online Backup Service - InformationWeek

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Dell Previews DataSafe Online Backup Service

At CES, Dell Chairman Michael Dell showed off the PC giant's big services gambit: an online backup service called Dell DataSafe, which will be available later this year.

Dell Chairman Michael Dell used his 2007 Consumer Electronics Show keynote to show off what may be the PC giant's biggest services gambit yet: an online backup service called Dell DataSafe that will be available later this year.

The new password-protected service, unveiled Tuesday before hundreds of CES showgoers, allows users to easily back up data online and migrate it to a new laptop or desktop PC. Pricing for the new service wasn't available.

The DataSafe online backup storage portal, however, poses a competitive threat to MSPs doing online backup for small businesses or even consumers. It also could be a threat to VARs that image new systems for corporate customers. In addition, the service potentially pits Dell against Seagate Technology, which announced that it was acquiring online backup storage vendor EVault in December for $185 million.

Dell touted the new service as the kind of improvement only a "direct company" could provide its customers. In a pitch to a Dr. Evil imitator, Dell said having a service provider or retailer doing data migration from an old to a new system would mean a needless wait. "Retail's not for me," quipped the Dr. Evil lookalike, noting he still had an old OS/2 install on his system. Using a simple interface with a checklist of backup options including files, data settings, documents, programs and drivers, Dell migrated 16 files, or 29 Mbytes of data, in an instant.

Dell also announced the company's answer to YouTube: a new online broadcast service called Studio Dell, aimed at providing home users, small businesses and IT professionals with IT training videos. Studio Dell, he said, will start with 30 videos on such topics as how to set up a network and will soon allow users to post their own videos online.

Noting that Time Magazine named You as its person of the year as a result of the popularity of sites like YouTube, Dell said: "You our customers have changed the game, and at Dell we love that. You've kicked the direct model into high gear."

Kevin Coleman, a director of customer care for DSC Logistics, a Des Plaines, Ill.-based supply-chain vendor who was at the keynote, said he would definitely use the new Dell online backup service. He said he recently had his father in law, who is IT savvy, transfer files from his old Dell system to a new one he recently purchased. "This looks like it's easy and has a great user interface," he said. "It's amazing innovation by Dell."

As for new products, Dell unveiled the XPS 710 H2C desktop, which is priced at $5,499 and aimed at high-end gamers. The system incorporates what Dell is calling a breakthrough, patent-pending two-stage cooling system. The two-stage cooling process is made up of a liquid-to-air heat exchanger that Dell said works like a car's radiator and fan system to remove heat from the processor. Then ceramic-based, thermoelectric cooling modules like those used in Space Shuttles remove additional heat. Sensors help prevent frost or condensation by helping to keep the processor slightly above ambient room temperature.

The Dell cooling innovation comes after the Round Rock, Texas, computer giant last year recalled 4.2 million notebook batteries because of a potential overheating threat that surfaced after reports of Dell laptops catching on fire.

Dell also unveiled two new flat-panel monitors: a 27-inch widescreen monitor that the company said has a 30-percent broader color spectrum than traditional monitors, and a 22-inch widescreen model. Both are available immediately worldwide and are priced at $1,399 and $329, respectively.

Finally, Dell unveiled the Home Media Suite, which includes an XPS 410 Windows Vista-based desktop PC with a digital TV tuner, a 27-inch flat-panel monitor, speakers, a bundle of entertainment software, a Dell All in One 966 printer, an 802.11 draft N band router and a powerline AV bridge. Pricing of the new system, due to ship later this month, wasn't available. Dell said the Home Media Suite will be delivered with all cables and adapters required for a typical home installation. Dell said it will also offer optional in-home service to set up the equipment.

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