Microsoft's Tape Alternative Imminent

Redmond gets closer to releasing its disk-based storage system and talks up integration at its partner conference.
Microsoft said it will make its disk-based storage software available for manufacturers within the next 30 days to cater to customers looking for an alternative to tape-based storage.

System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) is designed to help corporations trim operational costs associated with the manual recovery of lost data, chores that can be onerous for IT workers. The software, which runs on top of Windows Server 2003, is being released with a development kit and a Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 Pack.

DPM went into beta test in April, signaling the Redmond, Wash., company's entry into the disk-based backup and recovery market. Since that test launched, DPM has been distributed to more than 100,000 customers, including over 50,000 downloads.

Customers will be able to license DPM for $950 in a package that includes one DPM server license and three management licenses.

Microsoft is positioning DPM as a cost-effective alternative to tape, which has to be physically transported and is less speedy and reliable than disk-based products. The company believes tape should complement disk storage, and be relegated to backing up storage that does not need to be recalled much.

The company announced the DPM release at its Worldwide Partner Conference 2005 in Minneapolis, where Microsoft's mantra was the integration progress it has made among its different software stacks. Microsoft has promised a better user experience for its more than 6,500 partners.

Touting its product roadmap for the next 18 months, Microsoft said in a statement that partners will reap additional business opportunities with customers.

For example, Microsoft will again discuss its next version of its Office productivity suite. But for the first time, partners will get to see actual new forms functionality that will be included in the so called Office 12 suite.

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