Microsoft Corp. and Veritas Software Corp. appear headed for a showdown as they vie to woo smaller backup and recovery customers with self-service file recovery capabilities and integrated backup and replication technologies.
According to Veritas officials at Storage Networking World here last week, the Mountain View, Calif., company next quarter will introduce an offering that marries its backup and replication technologies to enable users to recover data from their desktop at any time.
The disclosure comes on the heels of Microsofts announcement last week that its Microsoft System Center DPM (Data Protection Manager) disk-based backup product has moved to public beta. The product is set for release in the second half of this year, said Rakesh Narasimhan, general manager of the Enterprise Storage Division for the Redmond, Wash., company.
Microsoft also introduced Volume Shadow Copy Services Writer SDK (software development kit) 1.0 for DPM for its storage partners and Microsoft DPM 2006 Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 to manage multiple DPM deployments from a single console.
Pushing the companys own self-service backup abilities, Microsoft added a feature to DPM through which the software can grant permission to users to restore deleted or overwritten files directly from the Tools menu within Microsoft Office 2003 or from within Windows Explorer in Windows XP.
That particular feature, said Marc Williams, network operations supervisor for the Bureau of Motor Equipment, a subdivision of the City of New York Department of Sanitation, will drastically lower costs by freeing him up to take care of other important tasks.
"If [users] have to restore a file, they dont have to interrupt me from what Im doing. Its as easy as Heres the [DPM] procedure and heres your desktop," said Williams. "[Volume] Shadow Copy Services alleviates me from doing the [tape recovery] overhead part, so they now take control of their own time."
Microsoft faces a difficult challenge knocking Veritas from its perch atop the backup market.
"When you start to get big ships in a harbor and that harbor is only so big, theyre going to bump," said Dennis Martin, an analyst at Evaluator Group, of Greenwood Village, Colo.
According to John W. Thompson, chairman and CEO of Symantec Corp., based in Cupertino, Calif., the company later this year will offer capabilities around data protection and backup and archival geared toward the consumer market.
Thompson said he is neither surprised nor threatened by Microsofts encroachment into the Windows-based backup and recovery arena.
"Microsoft is a software company that has an insatiable appetite for growth, just like all of us. Theyre going to try to expand their wings in a space where they think they might have some relevant capabilities," said Thompson.
"Veritas has been very strong in protecting the Windows environments for a long time. Beating up on a little company doesnt mean anything. Beating up on Microsoft is going to be a heck of a lot of fun," Thompson said.