Mac market ripe for backup software boon

Atempo said it has found a new sweet spot in the backup market. It claims much of the new reference data being created, such as documentary imagery and digital photos, are being stored on Macs.

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Atempo Inc. wants to back up your Macintosh. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based software maker announced that its Time Navigator data protection product supports the latest version of the Mac OS X Server version 10.3 operating system.

There are roughly 23 million Macintosh machines in use and about 40% of those systems are running Mac OS X. Add to that Apple Computer Inc.'s recent launch of the XRAID storage array and the XSAN storage area network file system, and there's suddenly a backup market, albeit a small one.

"Atempo is making a smart move putting an emphasis on supporting Mac OS X," said Tony Asaro, a senior analyst at Enterprise Storage Group, Inc. "Reference data is one of the fastest areas of storage growth and Macintosh-based applications are driving much of this."P>

The analyst firm reports that reference information, such as documentary imagery, digital photos, e-mail archives and medical images will grow at a rate of 92 % per year through 2005.

Perhaps Atempo isn't barking up the wrong tree. Macintosh users running Mac OS X Server version 10.3 -- codenamed "Panther" -- on Power Mac G4 and Power Mac G5 machines will be able to use Atempo's Time Navigator to perform backups to virtual tape libraries and disk-to-disk backup systems, as well as synthetic full backups with centralized and remote management capabilities.

According to Data Mobility Group Inc. founder and senior analyst John Webster, the Macintosh backup market has been owned by Dantz Development Corp.'s Retrospect Backup product family for years, but Atempo believes its Time Navigator software offers more features and functions than competing backup packages.

Dantz was first out of the gate with support for Panther, and its product costs about $1,000, thousands less than Atempo's Time Navigator's $4,600 price tag. But Atempo's software has an edge when it comes to features and support.

Dantz Retrospect Backup supports most SCSI and Fibre Channel tape libraries, no limit to the size of volumes that can be backed up and used as backup to multiple FireWire or USB hard drives. Atempo supports the new class of disk-based systems, such as Quantum's DX30, NetApp's NearStore and StorageTek's BladeStore. Atempo also offers Dynamic Library Sharing in SANs and NDMP support for network-attached storage systems from EMC Corp., Network Appliance Inc. and others.

Randy Batterson, director of strategic alliances for Atempo, said Apple doesn't have any storage software vendors supporting backup and restore for their enterprise users. "There are people out there with client support, but not server support. We'll offer both," he said.

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