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Friday, July 08, 2005
Microsoft Readies Disk-Based Recovery System

Microsoft's System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) will be ready for prime time in the third quarter, the vendor is expected to announce Friday.

Microsoft has completed production of its disk-based data backup and recovery system and will release the product to manufacturing in the next 30 days, says Ben Matheson, group product manager for DPM at Microsoft. The vendor also has set the pricing for the product at $950 for one DPM server and the ability to protect three other file servers.

Microsoft will highlight DPM's impending release at its annual Worldwide Partner Conference, which kicks off Friday in Minneapolis. The server, which can handle nearly continuous disk-based backup of files running in a Windows Server environment, should be available to customers and partners between 60 and 90 days after the product's release-to-manufacturing date, Matheson says.

Also at the conference, Microsoft will reveal that it is integrating DPM within its Advanced Infrastructure competency in the Microsoft Partner Program. This means that partners will have access to training, certification, and marketing resources around the product so they can begin offering it to their customers.

Microsoft revamped its partner program about a year ago to focus on a series of competencies around which partners can get specific information and develop skills, Matheson says.

Microsoft first announced it was working on DPM about two years ago, and the product's first public beta was in April. Since that time more than 100,000 copies of the beta have been distributed, he says.

Microsoft designed DPM from the ground up to interoperate with existing tape-based backup and recovery products, but recommends that customers use disk as well because of the unreliability and time-consuming nature of tape.

"DPM doesn't really replace anything; it's designed to be complementary," Matheson says. "Ninety percent or more customers rely on tape backup, but when it comes time to do recovery, it's slow and unreliable ... we are advocating that customers have a disk-to-disk-to-tape backup scenario."

Microsoft hardware and storage partners such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Quantum will be developing storage appliances with DPM pre-installed at a cost-effective price for customers of all sizes, he says. Matheson estimates that these vendors can offer a 1TB DPM storage device for less than $5000.

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