Microsoft and Symantec to offer back-up

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Two of the world's largest software makers are this week expected to follow IBM in announcing products aimed at protecting vital company data.

Microsoft is due to announce its System Center Data Protection Manager and Symantec its Backup Exec 10D, made by its new acquisition Veritas, at events in New York. IBM released its Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files 10 days ago.

Traditional back-up of vital information has happened nightly in data centres, but this approach is no longer sufficient for many companies, says Steve Duplessie, senior analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group research firm.

“There's simply too much data. We've reached the physical limits of backing up data for a 24-hour period,” he says.

With Continuous Data Protection, or CDP, the software can be set to save data every few seconds or whenever something is written.

If a computer virus or natural disaster strikes, a file's state can be quickly “rewound” to the point just before the problem occurred.

Mr Duplessie says that while IBM offers true CDP, Microsoft and Veritas will provide KCDP “which is a technical term meaning ‘Kinda CDP',” he says.

“They will have a collection of point-in-time snapshots, that might be every five minutes or five hours.”

IBM has sought to steal a march on its rivals by launching first and making the product available at a low price it costs just $35 to protect a desktop PC or laptop with its software.

“Companies have an increasingly mobile workforce people working on laptops in the field, executives on planes, need their data to be backed up all the time,” says Ron Riffe, Director of IBM Storage Software Strategy.

Companies that face ever more complex storage requirements and recognise the increasing value of business data are driving the trend towards CDP, says Charles King of Pund-IT Research.

“I think it reflects a growing recognition among customers that the data created by their employees individually have a significant importance and it's something they need to get a handle on,” he says.

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