EVault and LiveOffice look to add cloud storage to Microsoft DPM 2010 and Exchange 2010

i365 partners with Microsoft to integrate DPM with its EVault cloud backup software; LiveOffice offers cloud email archiving for Exchange 2010 and other hosted email services.

i365 and LiveOffice LLC are looking to add a cloud storage touch to the latest releases of Microsoft's Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2010 backup and email software in an attempt to tap into markets they anticipate growing in the next few years.

EVault looks to fold non-Windows backups into DPM with a cloud connection

i365, owned by Seagate, said this week at the Microsoft Tech Ed Europe 2009 conference that it has been working for the last few months on new integration between its EVault backup product and Microsoft's DPM 2010. EVault already offers cloud backup as well as on-premise backup and replication for Windows servers.

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DPM 2010 is in beta and expected to be generally released in the first half of next year. By that time, according to George Hoenig, vice president of products at i365, customers will be able to buy an appliance that blends EVault backup for non-Windows servers with DPM 2010 under a common management interface. That interface will include common monitoring, administrator alerting and management reports across DPM and EVault backups. Each product will have to be managed separately for day-to-day operations but will be launched from the common GUI.

Backups can also be sent to EVault's data centers for offsite cloud storage, or copied to on-premise disk and then to the cloud. EVault calls this architecture disk-to-disk-to-cloud (D2D2C). Customers also have the option of deploying the software entirely on-premise, Hoenig said.

Presumably those who are already running DPM are mostly Windows shops, and those with mixed environments usually have a tool that covers both sides, so why run two products? According to Hoenig, the partnership is aimed at new DPM 2010 prospects who might have hesitated to deploy DPM 2007 because of a lack of coverage for heterogeneous applications.

"It comes down to total cost of ownership," he said. "We're not going to be down in the $50 per agent pricing range Microsoft introduced with DPM." Running the combined product would allow users to get the cheaper pricing of DPM while still protecting non-Windows apps.

Stephanie Balaouras, a principal analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, said the approach would make sense for a Windows shop with a small number of critical non-Windows applications to support.

"Windows, Exchange and SQL administrators, as with other platform-specific administrators such as Oracle DBAs, often have a preference for a platform-specific tool that they believe to be much more tightly integrated with the underlying technology," she said. "If a customer is 80% to 90% Windows but still has a few critical non-Windows apps to back up, this approach would likely save more money than using EVault across the environment."

One DPM user currently evaluating the 2010 version is Steven Murphy, director of IT at Las Vegas-based industrial process-automation equipment manufacturer Caltrol Inc. Murphy said he decided against EVault approximately six months ago because it wasn't needed. DPM comes free with a Hyper-V implementation, and it makes hot snapshots of Hyper-V virtual machines. Caltrol uses DPM to make system-level backups.

"I could probably save some space if I didn't have to back up every server in full every time," Murphy said. DPM doesn't have file-level integration with non-Windows apps. "But I would really have to see the [cost] on it to see whether it's worth traveling down that path," he added.

LiveOffice offers cloud email archiving for hosted email services

Microsoft is also renewing its cloud storage push for email with the launch of Microsoft Exchange 2010 this week. It now offers Exchange Online hosted email in the cloud, and Exchange 2010 includes its own data archiving features.

However, Nick Mehta, CEO at LiveOffice, said Microsoft is also certifying LiveOffice's cloud-based Mail Archive email archiving service for Exchange 2010 Online. Though Exchange 2010 and Gmail have their own built-in email archiving features, Mehta said "some users look at archiving as a backup and insurance policy for a cloud email system, so if your service provider is down you can still access your email."

LiveOffice also supports Cisco Systems Inc.'s newly announced WebEx hosted email, Google's Gmail, Yahoo! Inc.'s Zimbra, and hosted mail from AppRiver and USA.NET.

LiveOffice anticipates a significant growth in hosted email over the next few years. Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner predicts hosted email will increase from 1% of email deployments to 20% in 2012. While there isn't much quantitative research on the number of cloud email archiving deployments, Forrester Research senior analyst Brian Hill said it appears to be growing.

"Many organizations are frustrated with on-premise deployment times, and using SaaS message archiving often has a lower cost of ownership," he said.

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