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Microsoft goes live with continuous data protection product

Data Protection Manager works with most major backup software

September 27, 2005 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of its disk-to-disk continuous data backup product, Data Protection Manager (DPM). The software saves up to eight snapshots of data off Windows servers throughout the day, allowing IT administrators to restore files from disk faster and use a larger number of data points from which to recover information.
DPM installs on Windows Server 2003 and takes up to 64 snapshots of data over eight days, storing them on a generic Wintel server. Retail pricing starts at $950 per server. Microsoft announced the product a year ago and had it in beta testing even before that announcement.
James Tarala, CIO and chief technology officer at Schenck Business Solutions in Milwaukee, said he recently purchased DPM and expects to use it to eliminate daily tape backups at 11 remote offices. His plan is to replicate snapshots to three new iSCSI storage arrays at his primary data center in Appleton, Wis. The storage arrays are from EqualLogic Inc. in Nashua, N.H.
"One thing I like is the DPM product is less expensive," Tarala said, explaining that it's easier and faster to manage incremental disk backups instead of full or incremental tape backups. "From a time standpoint, one of the things that takes so much time is going back to tape to recover files."
Continuous data protection products come in two iterations: those that record every change to data at the byte level, which allows IT administrators to dial back to any point in time, and those like Microsoft's DPM, which take periodic snapshots of data, allowing recovery back to specific points in time.
Whichever model is used, continuous data protection dramatically improves how quickly the restoration of data can occur as well as the recovery point objectives when compared to traditional incremental or full backups, said Brian Babineau, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass.

Rakesh Narasimhan, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Enterprise Management division, said Microsoft was convinced by the move away from tape backup products that customers wanted more "rapid and reliable recovery."
Babineau said the product will be popular. Enterprise Strategy Group recently surveyed IT managers at 228 companies asking them whether they would use a Microsoft disk-based backup product. Forty-seven percent said they would. When asked if they had heard about Microsoft's DPM, 40% said they hadn't, and another 40% said they had, but knew little about it, according to Babineau. The rest said they were very familiar with the product.
"We've got 80% of them saying don't know much about it, but 50% of those saying if Microsoft

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