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RealTime IT News

Microsoft's Tape Alternative Imminent

Microsoft said it will make its disk-based storage software available for manufacturers within the next 30 days to cater to customers looking for an alternative to tape-based storage.

System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) is designed to help corporations trim operational costs associated with the manual recovery of lost data, chores that can be onerous for IT workers. The software, which runs on top of Windows Server 2003, is being released with a development kit and a Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 Pack.

DPM went into beta test in April, signaling the Redmond, Wash., company's entry into the disk-based backup and recovery market. Since that test launched, DPM has been distributed to more than 100,000 customers, including over 50,000 downloads.

Customers will be able to license DPM for $950 in a package that includes one DPM server license and three management licenses.

Microsoft is positioning DPM as a cost-effective alternative to tape, which has to be physically transported and is less speedy and reliable than disk-based products. The company believes tape should complement disk storage, and be relegated to backing up storage that does not need to be recalled much.

The company announced the DPM release at its Worldwide Partner Conference 2005 in Minneapolis, where Microsoft's mantra was the integration progress it has made among its different software stacks. Microsoft has promised a better user experience for its more than 6,500 partners.

Touting its product roadmap for the next 18 months, Microsoft said in a statement that partners will reap additional business opportunities with customers.

For example, Microsoft will again discuss its next version of its Office productivity suite. But for the first time, partners will get to see actual new forms functionality that will be included in the so called Office 12 suite.

Microsoft Information Worker Product Management Group Corporate Vice President Chris Capossela said in a statement the overall partner market opportunity for Office 12 solutions is expected to reach $140 billion by 2007.

The company also has a real-time collaboration (RTC) toolkit with visual controls for Visual Studio on tap. This tool will allow programmers to embed instant messaging and call control into their applications.

Other new releases will include applications, such as the software-as-a-service Microsoft CRM 3.0, Microsoft Business Solutions-Great Plains 9.0 and the next version of its retail management system.

For small and medium-sized businesses, Microsoft plans to upgrade Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 and is now offering a Windows Server System Midsize Business Promotion.

Leading these upgrades and new projects will be Longhorn, the company's next operating system, which will boast increased security and interoperability.

Longhorn is due in August. Major software upgrades SQL Server 2005, BizTalk Integration Server 2006 and Visual Studio 2005 will arrive Nov. 7.