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Microsoft Ready To Take On Symantec, Veritas In Backup And Recovery

Microsofts widely anticipated Data Protection Manager 2006 backup and recovery software will ship this fall for prices starting at $950.
Looking to offer an option to customers of older versions of Backup Exec, Microsoft is also offering an SDK that makes it possible to link Backup Exec servers as well as backup and replication software from other vendors to DPM. "Microsoft will be a serious contender because its cheaper and easier to install DPM fresh, than it would to [upgrade] Backup Exec," Alford said.

Symantec CEO John Thompson has repeatedly said he's not concerned. "We welcome them," he said when asked during a press conference at the spring Storage Networking World conference in Phoenix following a keynote address there. "Beating up on Microsoft is going to be a hell of a lot of fun."

But Alford said DPM will have a lot of appeal, notably in SMBs that have Microsoft Server products, Exchange and SQL Server. His tests on the second beta reveal that the product works as advertised, able to perform continuous backup of servers typically within an hour, and recoveries within minutes.

DPM has its share of flaws, Alford said. For one thing, file paths can only be 123 characters, which can be problematic when there are large file paths. Also, the server has experienced some unexpected crashes, which Microsoft said will be fixed. Also currently in the beta, it can only run under an administrator account, which could create a security problem, he noted.

Noting that 90-plus percent of its software sales go through the channel, Microsoft is integrating DPM into its Advanced Infrastructure Partner Program, which includes training and certification, and tools to help extol both the technology and business benefits of using DPM. A project guide and Web-based training will be offered in September.

Microsoft will release DPM to manufacturing within 30 days and it should be broadly available once CDs can be manufactured, putting it in the late September or early October time frame.