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Microsoft adds cloud data backup to Data Protection Manager

Microsoft's first service pack for Data Protection Manager includes an option for backing up data to Iron Mountain Digital, as well as boosted Hyper-V and application support.

Microsoft Corp. and Iron Mountain Digital rolled out a new cloud data backup service today for customers of Microsoft's Data Protection Manager (DPM) Service Pack 1 (SP 1), released last month with new features including granular backups for Hyper-V.

CloudRecovery for Data Protection Manager is sold by Iron Mountain, and is accessed through DPM's GUI as a checkbox for a user to select when choosing an offsite backup method (DPM also backs up to disk and tape.) Iron Mountain will then collect, encrypt and transport data according to a user-selected schedule from DPM. The service is priced by capacity and retention period for the amount of storage used.

Iron Mountain representatives say the offering is based on IP for current Iron Mountain backup and archiving SaaS offerings, but is a different service than any others that Iron Mountain offers. Iron Mountain VP of strategic alliances Archie Miller said this is the first backup SaaS for Iron Mountain with a third-party software provider on-premise with the customer.

CloudRecovery has been in beta for at least six months. Iron Mountain says about a half dozen early adopters supplied by Microsoft has been testing the system. One beta tester, Convergence Computing president Rand Morimoto, says the Microsoft-certified consulting firm restored about 240 GB over the wire in about four or five hours. He also received a test restore of the full environment mailed overnight on a removable hard drive.

Microsoft director of branch and storage solutions Bala Kasiviswanathan said Iron Mountain would not be an exclusive partner for adding cloud capabilities to DPM. One future SaaS option for DPM users is Microsoft's own Azure compute cloud, which Kasiviswanathan said is not yet ready to host this service. Backup applications including Symantec Corp.'s Backup Exec, Atempo Inc.'s TimeNavigator, and Zmanda Inc.'s Amanda Enterprise already offer similar integration with the cloud.

CloudRecovery for DPM adds New Hyper-V, Windows application support

Microsoft added virtual server and remote and branch office (ROBO) backup capabilities, as well as enhancements to existing support for Windows applications to DPM SP 1.

SP 1 adds the ability to run DPM within a Hyper-V virtual machine, which in turn offers up two new features: the ability to back up Hyper-V guests without separate networked storage or a separate backup server, and the ability to back up to DPM locally at a branch office.

DPM SP 1 also provides speedier SharePoint catalog indexing during backup by addressing only changes rather than the entire catalog. It allows DPM to act as a secondary Exchange server using Exchange 2007's Standby Cluster Replication, and adds the ability for multiple DPM instances to share the same tape drive, and support for SQL Server 2008.

Gartner analyst Dave Russell pointed to the lack of native support for non-Microsoft apps and its finally adding a feature such as tape drive sharing as evidence that DPM lags the leading backup applications. "This is a problem backup software like IBM's TSM and Legato NetWorker had back in the 90's," he said of multiple tape drive sharing.

Microsoft reps point out that backup packages such as EMC Corp. NetWorker now support backing up DPM, so that DPM snapshots and non-Windows data can share tape backups within the larger backup product. Convergence Computing's Morimoto said he incorporated non-Windows apps into his backup scheme by using native Oracle tools and saving Lotus Notes data as flat files. "I'd rather have a product that does one thing extremely well than a product that does everything [but is] mediocre," he said.


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