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EMC finds vacuum for backup software upgrades

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EMC today opened a second front in its stealth backup software assault on Veritas.

The storage giant let a couple of press releases about upgrades to its high-end Legato NetWorker and lower-end Dantz Retrospect products slip onto the wire without extending any noticeable alert to reporters. The strategy seems to have paid off, as only a couple of storage speciality sites noticed the new software. Just last week, EMC employed a similar hush-hush tactic by hinting at a "Safe Switch" campaign to woo customers from backup leader Veritas via price cuts and services deals.

It's unclear why EMC is being so quiet about its new software, although it could be because the upgrades are minor.

The Legato NetWorker product has been boosted to Version 7.2. The main addition here is the inclusion of the network data management protocol (NDMP) that permits backup-to-disk with NAS (network attached storage) systems. Customers can now multiplex, clone and stage NDMP streams. These features should help NetWorker compete against similar products from Veritas, IBM and CA.

On the low-end, EMC put out a new release - 7.0- of Dantz Retrospect for home users and small- to medium-sized businesses.

The number one new tool being touted for home users? That's right - new wizards. These wizards "further streamline setup, backup, restore and media duplication," according to EMC. New wizards might sound like a copout from a vendor that hasn't put much work into a product rev, but we're sure the Average Joe will love them.

EMC has also added in filters to sort through different types of data such as pictures, movies and music. The new version of Retrospect works with the latest releases of Red Hat, SuSE and Mac OS X, along with Windows. Retrospect Professional starts at $129.

Higher up the food chain, EMC also retooled its versions of Retrospect aimed at SMBs. Again, there are new wizards.

There's also a handy new tool for doing a backup to disk and then automatically having that data sent to tape for archiving. This lets a customer have quick access to their data and, with the automation, removes some fears of an admin not performing tape backups. Like its rivals, EMC has also made it possible to do synthetic backups where data is protected in a type of piecemeal fashion that takes less of a toll on CPUs and bandwidth. Customers will additionally now find Fibre Channel and iSCSI tape backup device support.

Retrospect Small Business Server starts at $499 and moves up to $1,299 for Retrospect Multi Server.

EMC acquired Dantz for $50m back in October. It's hoping that Dantz products can help it crack the SMB market dominated by Veritas. Version 7.0 of Retrospect is the first release of new code made by EMC since it completed the purchase of Dantz, and users should expect more than new wizards in the coming months. ®

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