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Hoping to lure customers away from its chief backup and recovery software rival, EMC has quietly launched its new quarterly roll-out program, called “Safe Switch.” The program is designed to woo customers deploying Veritas Software’s backup products that are considering or currently engaged in software migrations, or those wary of Symantec’s impending merger with Veritas.

Introduced this month, the first phase of Safe Switch is targeted at Veritas NetBackup and Veritas Backup Exec users who are moving toward implementation of Oracle 10g database. EMC is working with Oracle Corp. to adopt Oracle RMAN (Recovery Manager), an API used and developed by Oracle to work with backup and recovery software.

Using RMAN, EMC Corp.’s enterprise-class Networker product could reach into an Oracle database, making sure that data is coherent and qualified for backup and recovery, according to officials at Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC.

The next phase of Safe Switch will focus on customers planning to institute e-mail server consolidation or Microsoft Exchange 2003 Server standardization alongside refined disaster recovery of large-scale storage deployments.

Other “top performing” software providers competing with EMC will be targeted in later Safe Switch phases, officials said.

Storage technologies such as disk backup and snapshot protection will be used as a main selling point of Safe Switch to customers who may have seen their server and information criticality volume grow around them without major upgrades to backup and recovery operations.

Click here for analysts’ take on EMC’s Safe Switch program.

EMC officials say Safe Switch will provide financial relief in terms of savings associated with removing the need for replacement software licenses, helping to minimize the complexity of migrations, as well as reduced costs on maintenance fees.

According to a Goldman Sachs IT spending survey issued last week, EMC Software Group was ranked as the top software provider expected to gain respondents’ IT spending dollars in 2005, ahead of Red Hat Inc., Microsoft Corp., SAP AG, Mercury Interactive Corp., Oracle and Symantec.

Symantec is expected to close its $13.5 billion acquisition of Mountain View, Calif.-based Veritas in the second quarter of 2005. The combined entity would be a formidable systems management vendor capable of providing customers with integrated storage, security and data-protection offerings spanning across large IT enterprises down to SMB (small to midsized business) customers.

However, a technology merger of that magnitude is expected to take a great deal of time and work, and could force customers to look elsewhere rather than wait for integrated product suites, analysts said.

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