DPM will bring D2D CDP to the masses

Microsoft’s recent release to the channel of its Data Protection Manager (DPM) backup/recovery software will no doubt fuel what is already one of the hottest trends in the storage industry: disk-to-disk backup. (Actually, Microsoft advocates a D2D2T approach that includes tape for archiving.)

DPM is also being lumped into the category of continuous data protection (CDP), although Microsoft readily admits that DPM is actually near continuous data protection.

There are a few other drawbacks to DPM. Not surprisingly, it only works with Windows. And it doesn’t support specific applications such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server. As such, some analysts (as noted in Ann Silverthorn’s cover story in this issue) say that CDP start-ups won’t be threatened by DPM because many of the start-ups’ CDP solutions work in heterogeneous environments and/or are “application-aware” by supporting applications such as Exchange and SQL Server.

I disagree. Sure, DPM doesn’t have all the functionality of some of the CDP start-ups’ products, but at $995 DPM will be a barn burner that brings disk-based CDP to the masses. Smaller CDP players (Kashya, newcomer Lasso Logic, Mendocino, Mimosa, Revivio, Storactive, TimeSpring, XOSoft, etc.) will have to hustle to stay far enough ahead of Microsoft on the technology front, and close enough on the price front, to survive (although a decent alternative would be to get acquired by a larger vendor).

From a competition standpoint, the interesting battle will be between Microsoft and Symantec/Veritas. Both DPM and Veritas’ CDP play-code-named “Panther”-will hit the end-user market at about the same time. From initial reports, it appears that Panther will offer more functionality, but we’ll have to wait and see how it will be priced.

DPM is Microsoft’s biggest move into the storage market by a long shot. It dwarfs the introduction of iSCSI software drivers, and I think will eventually dwarf even Windows Storage Server, which ushered in a new generation of low-cost NAS servers that quickly took over about half of the entire NAS market.

For users, it’s a huge win. It’ll keep competitors’ prices down and provide at least a base-level entry into the disk-based backup/recovery market.

With all the talk about D2D backup, you’d think the tape market would be getting hammered. Not so, as noted in this month’s Special Report, “Tape drive/library trends: LTO surges,” p. 28. In fact, tape library revenues grew 13.5% last year and are expected to grow about 7% this year. Some habits die hard.

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Dave Simpson

This article was originally published on August 01, 2005