Goal of System Center Data Protection Manager, Storage Strategy: Reduce Time, Expense of Backing Up Data

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 27, 2005 – No company can afford to lose valuable electronic records or other data in the event of an unforeseen technology problem – or even a natural disaster such as the recent hurricanes in the United States.

But the technology and labor costs of backing up data can be high, and companies often must wait hours to recover any lost data. Microsoft aims to significantly reduce the costs and other headaches associated with backing up and restoring data with a new disk-based backup technology, as well as a new strategy for data storage on the Windows platform. Both were formally announced today.

PressPass met up with Bob Muglia, Microsoft senior vice president for the Windows Server Group, to discuss the new System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) and Universal Distributed Storage strategy.

PressPass: Tell us a little bit about System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM).

Muglia: DPM is unlike most other solutions in the market because it was designed entirely around disk-based backup. It is not old, legacy tape backup software that we are reusing on disk.

As a result, data can be recovered in minutes with DPM, as opposed to the hours it takes from tape. When you consider that even mid-size companies may do 20 or more recoveries per month, DPM can enable a significant time and labor savings on recoveries alone.

With DPM, customers never have to do a full backup from the production server again; they only have to do incremental backups, which are much more efficient. We have seen customers reduce 48 hour backup windows down to 10 minutes with DPM.

Also, DPM is designed to be very easy to use. It eliminates a lot of tasks that customers spend time on, such as trouble shooting failed backup jobs because of open file-backup issues.

PressPass: In addition to DPM, Microsoft today announced Universal Distributed Storage, a new strategy for meeting the storage needs of its customers. Can you describe the strategy?

Bob Muglia, Senior Vice President, Windows Server

Bob Muglia: Our long-term vision is to provide customers with Windows-based storage solutions that are available on industry-standard hardware from multiple partners. We want to utilize the latest storage technology while remaining cost-effective, and offer solutions that work with the broad range of devices, PC’s and servers that our customers use.

We also want to ensure that Windows can manage storage more cost effectively than any other platform, be it centralized on a Storage Area Network (SAN) or on a remote worker’s desktop. With IT managers spending 70 percent of their time on maintenance tasks, the role of the operating system has to evolve to reduce this large massive time commitment.

We developed this vision based on more than three years of feedback from our customers and partners, as well as the improvements we have made to address their most pressing requirements: upgradeability, manageability and security.

Press Pass: How does System Center Data Protection Manager fit into this strategy?

Muglia: DPM is all about enabling simpler storage management and reducing the amount of manual labor that customers must dedicate to backup and recovery. These are key components of our strategy.

DPM takes advantage of key Windows Server 2003 features, such as Active Directory, to ensure discovery of all of the servers within a customer’s organization. DPM also has released a MOM management pack to enable monitoring of DPM servers through MOM, and DPM is integrated with Windows XP and Office 2003 to enable end-user recovery.

PressPass: How do other Microsoft offerings fit into this strategy?

Muglia: Windows Server 2003 R2 — with its emphasis on technology for distributed environments such as branches and remote offices — is the next step in bringing us closer to our vision of Universal Distributed Storage. The improved storage features in the Windows Server platform enable our partners to build next-generation storage, branch office and data protection solutions to meet the growing needs of our mutual customers with the goal of providing the best TCO.

PressPass: What has Microsoft accomplished since it entered the storage market three years ago?

Muglia: Windows is now the No. 1 platform for the following storage metrics: total capacity, revenues generated, external storage and RAID storage, according to IDC. Windows has also surpassed UNIX as the No. 1 host for hosting external storage such as Fibre Channel, and is the clear leader in the iSCSI space. Windows Storage Server is the leading operating system for NAS and has captured more than 53 percent of market share in three years, according to Gartner.

PressPass: How would you assess the backup and recovery market and Microsoft’s place in this market?

Muglia: Overall, the backup and recovery is a US$2.8 billion software market. About $1 billion of that is on Windows Server, according to IDC. So I feel we are very well placed in this market.

Disk-based backup is still in the early stages of adoption in enterprises, and, even then, it is mostly limited to high-end enterprises. But more than half of our customers tell us they don’t feel their existing backup solutions meet their needs.

The incredible demand for the public beta of DPM may be the best indication yet that customers are looking for alternatives to tape-based backup. More than 60,000 customers downloaded the software. This brings the total number of copies of DPM, including CD kits handed out and sent to channel partners, to more than 120,000.

PressPass: How does DPM compare to tape backup in terms of reliability and recovery speed?

Muglia: DPM recoveries are much more reliable than tape backup in part because DPM has a higher success rate for backing up data. If you back it up successfully, you obviously have a much higher chance of successful recovery.

Based on independent testing by Veritest, DPM enables recovery of files up to 11.6 times faster than leading tape-based solutions. That is on a pure performance standpoint and doesn’t include the time it takes to find the tape, load the tape, etc. If these factors were taken into account, DPM would be an order of magnitude faster.

PressPass: How does DPM reduce backup times so significantly?

Muglia: DPM only moves the bytes of the data that have changed rather than the entire file, so it can reduce backup times significantly.

Veritest benchmarks have shown that DPM is 3.7 times faster in incremental backup than leading tape backup systems. Customers have cited even more significant examples where backup times have gone from 48 hours down to 10 minutes with DPM.

PressPass: How big a factor is cost in the growth of disk-based backup?

Muglia: It’s huge. A disk-based backup product from a proprietary vendor with a proprietary operating system and backup software costs as much as $50,000 for 1 TB of storage and associated software.

DPM has an ERP of US $950 and comes with three agent licenses. This fits the budgets of more mainstream customers. By working with great hardware partners like HP, Quantum, Dell and Fujitsu Siemens, we can provide the same 1-TB solution for $6,000 or less, based on DPM and Windows Storage Server products.

PressPass: Apart from price, why should customers choose DPM-based solutions over other solutions in the marketplace? Isn’t this space already crowded?

Muglia: There have been some fast followers over the past 12 months since we announced we were building DPM. But we still feel that we are the first legitimate disk-based backup solution on the market for the mainstream customer.

The fact that DPM works well with other Microsoft products that customers commonly use is a big differentiator. We also feel that our strategy of working with a broad ecosystem of partners is a winning strategy. This provides customers with a variety of choices, and we can provide a full solution for a fraction of what a proprietary hardware appliance vendor can.

PressPass: What DPM solutions are available today?

Muglia: Three OEM vendors are announcing hardware appliances based on DPM.

HP is releasing ProLiant Data Protection Storage Servers, a new line of data protection products built on Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager. The starting price for these appliances begins at less than $6,000.

Quantum is announcing their DPM5500, an appliance based on System Center Data Protection Manager.  Quantum’s high performance disk system allows customers increased granularity of restores, differentiated features such as hardware-based compression for lower cost of ownership, and integrated data migration to tape.

Fujitsu Siemens is announcing a Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager-based appliance. This appliance runs on FibreCAT-Hardware and will provide exceptional value for protecting our customer’s data on Windows file servers.

This is just the start. Many other OEMs around the world are interested in building appliances.

PressPass: How can customers take advantage of Microsoft storage solutions today?

PressPass: More than 100 industry partners are adding storage solutions to Windows Server 2003, Windows Storage Server-based devices and Data Protection Manager-based products from Dell, HP, Quantum, Iomega, Fujitsu Siemens and other OEMs.

With Windows as the storage host, customers can take advantage of open APIs for key storage technologies, such as snapshot and storage management technologies with volume shadow copy service (VSS) and the virtual disk service (VDS). Storage partners can integrate these features with their hardware platform.

This gives customers new ways to restore their Exchange environment from disks in seconds, using VSS integration from storage partners. Integration with VDS by storage vendors also brings a new, simpler way to manage storage area network (SAN) provisioning directly from a Windows server. For network-attached storage (NAS) deployments, customers can choose from a wide range of Windows Storage Server models from more 50 different OEMs partners.

PressPass: The recent hurricanes in the United States have made clear how critical disaster recovery and data protection can be. Can DPM help customers address these challenges?

Muglia: DPM can be used to backup remote sites, and we have seen tremendous customer demand for this scenario. In fact, we have rolled out DPM within Microsoft’s own IT department to protect 20 TB of remote data in 130 sites. Because of the DPM rollout, Microsoft anticipates saving about $1.4 million per year in hard costs, compared to the costs of buying and maintaining our tape library. These are hard savings that add directly to our bottom line.

PressPass: How will DPM affect your competitors and partners in this business?

Muglia: The announcement of DPM has spurred a tremendous amount of innovation and competition in the backup and recovery market. Competition is a good thing; it spurs innovation and leads to better products for customers.

We are going to compete with partners, but, ultimately, the company that provides the best value to customers is going to win. So, our focus is on listening to customers and building products that solve their problems.

PressPass: What’s next for Microsoft in the storage space?

Muglia: The Windows Server 2003 R2 release and Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 will offer a number of significant storage and branch office enhancements. With R2, there are new features in name-space virtualization (DFS-N) and self-replication (DFS-R) that make this operating system ideally suited for remote office deployments. With the growth of branch offices, customers can look forward to R2 being seamless in their branch office environment. This is a trend that will continue through the “Longhorn” Server wave of server operating systems. Over the long term, we will be adding rich storage features such as client side caching in Windows Vista, self-healing and transaction file system etc. in Longhorn Server.

We are also developing new features and technologies that ensure that Windows can manage storage regardless of if this storage is centralized on a SAN or is in a remote client. The idea of provisioning storage directly from the platform is starting with the R2 wave with Storage Manager for SANs, and enhancements to the platform will complement storage management tools that have been introduced already, such as Event Tracing and FC Info.

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