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In separate announcements, storage heavyweights HP and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) have expanded their data protection product line-ups. HP Data Protector Notebook Extension enables users to back up and recover data while working remotely and offline, while the HP Backup and Recovery Fast Track Services is a suite of scalable service engagements. At the same time, HDS has added the Hitachi Dynamic Replicator to its replication and data protection software portfolio.

Data backup and recovery are huge concerns — and opportunities — says Shari Cravens, HP Data Protector worldwide product marketing manager, HP Software and Solutions. According to market research, almost a quarter of all employees are using a mobile data device, and the average PC user has around 4,000 unique business files on each PC. That’s a vast amount of data living outside the network, she adds, and only about 25 percent of companies routinely back up their hard drives. Throw in the fact that 70 percent of data loss is due to HDD failure and "it’s a huge impact not just on the data, but on employee productivity."

Measuring the cost isn’t easy, but Cravens says it will cost a ‘midsize’ company with 5,000 employees an average of $2,900 per incident to recover the data and lost productivity, and the bill is higher when the data can’t be recovered. So the data has to be available everywhere, any time, and immediately, she says.

With HP Data Protector Notebook Extension data is instantly captured and backed up automatically each time a user changes, creates or receives a file. The data is then stored temporarily in a local repository pending transfer to the network data vault for full backup and restore capabilities. Key features include single-click recovery, deduplication, encryption and compression techniques. A user’s storage footprint is reduced by deduplication of multiple copies of data and all of the user’s data is stored encrypted and compressed and the expired versions are cleaned up. The HP Backup and Recovery Fast Track Services help ensure the implementation of HP Data Protector and HP Data Protector Notebook Extension.

The notebook product is not restricted just to large organizations and is a great opportunity for the channel, says Billy Naples, HP Data Protector product marketing manager, HP Software and Solutions. "We’re moving to the point where everybody needs data protection for their notebooks.

It’s also a very easy product for the channel to sell, he adds. "It’s only got three components (and requires no hardware) which makes it so simple to sell in the channel."

The active part of the solution, the Agent, is installed on the employee’s PC to provide continuous protection of office documents, as well as open files such as mail archives (PST). It captures the data locally and then transfers the data to a central Data Vault upon connection to the corporate network. The local version allows recovery of files and directories even while offline.

The Policy Server is the central administration server for Agents and Data Vaults. It is used to set central protection policies for Agents and to manage their licenses and status. And the Data Vault is the central data container for Agents where data is stored in an encrypted, compressed and de-duplicated fashion. An Agent accesses the Data Vault frequently to clean out old versions.

As for the channel opportunity, Naples says partners have two potential customer pools to fish in. First are the current 35,000 customers already using HP data protection products and services. The second pool is everybody else, he says. "This is a great add-on product, but it’s also a great greenfield opportunity. It’s a great product for the channel in both respects."

Partnering with InMage Systems, a developer of application recovery solutions, HDS is targeting midsize customers seeking disaster recovery solutions for heterogeneous disk-based environments. This hybrid technology accommodates heterogeneous storage and servers while providing recovery solutions that are tailored to specific application environments, says Sean Moser, vice president, Software Products, HDS, in a prepared statement.

"Additionally, the flexible design helps preserve existing investments, allowing customers the benefits of disk-based recovery and maximum freedom for purchasing and deploying future products."