By Heidi Biggar
EMC recently acquired Dantz Development Corp., a 20-year-old provider of backup-and-recovery software for the small to medium-sized business (SMB) market, to the tune of about $50 million.
Dantz is the latest in a string of software acquisitions by EMC, which include VMware, Documentum, Legato, Astrum Software, and Prisa Networks (see figure).
Dantz has been integrated into EMC's Software Group but will maintain its Walnut Creek, CA, headquarters, as well as its offices in Paris and Tokyo. Dantz currently has about 80 employees worldwide and about 500,000 registered users.
While the size of the Dantz acquisition pales next to that of VMware, Documentum, and Legato, EMC officials are playing up the significance of this announcement as an integral step in the company's larger effort to secure a piece of the fast-growing SMB market.
EMC recently made a series of product announcements geared for SMBs, such as the release of NetWin 110, CLARiiON AX100, Legato RepliStor, and Legato Co-StandbyServer AAdvanced.
The company has also recently increased its channel presence in the SMB market through a network of distributors led by Ingram-Micro, Tech Data, Arrow, and Avnet. In May, EMC expanded its reseller agreement with Dell to include the CLARiiON AX100 system and Legato backup-and-replication software.
It is estimated that the SMB market will spend approximately $1.2 billion on storage software annually by 2008, according to AMI Storage Spending Model.
EMC officials say that Dantz's Retrospect backup software will help fill a gap in EMC's existing backup lineup, one that it has not been able to address with the Legato NetWorker product.
EMC says that while it considered bringing NetWorker down into the SMB space, issues with the product and specific user demands made it necessary to look outside the company for a product that was built from the ground up to serve the SMB market. "I'd like to say that we knew that intuitively, but we figured it out the hard way," says George Symons, CTO, information management, in EMC's Software Group.
Dantz claims that its success against leading backup providers (the company claims 400 "competitive replacements" to date) is due to the fact that its Retrospect software addresses specific SMB pain points-in particular, ease of use and management issues.
In comparison, products such as NetWorker aren't designed to serve this level of users, so there are issues with trying to retrofit them for the market, according to Symons.
Larry Zulch, Dantz CEO and president, says that when it comes to competitive bids, the company has had an easier time going up against vendors such as Veritas and Legato than it has some of the smaller players that offer products that are tailored to the SMB market. "Those that are trying to take an enterprise focus and apply it to SMBs are generally the easiest ones to compete with because the requirements of the two market segments are quite different," says Zulch.
EMC is positioning its Legato NetWorker product to serve the commercial/enterprise backup market and Dantz Retrospect as its SMB play; however, the company plans to integrate the two products and offer a common management console so that administrators can use both products within an organization (e.g., Retrospect at remote offices and NetWorker at primary locations).