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CHICAGO—Microsoft Corp. officials said the company will expand its storage portfolio and vision deep into the lucrative disk-based backup and recovery arena next year. The software maker on Monday took the wraps off its Microsoft Data Protection Server (DPS) at the Storage Decisions 2004 conference here.

Data Protection Server is currently in limited beta release and will expand to a public beta in the first quater of 2005. Customers can expect the backup and recovery in the second half of 2005, said Jeff Price, senior director, Windows server product management.

Built to work in close tandem with Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Storage Server 2003, and Active Directory, DPS is tabbed to help customers drive down costly backup and data recovery times as well as inefficiencies by recording changes within Windows file server workloads. Nestled between file servers and a tape library system, DPS features deployed agents to locate all file servers, and then ensure appropriate configurable rules are in place for continuous change logging and replication.

DPS will integrate with tape offerings via a backup interface currently in development. The interface is based upon Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) API located in Windows Server 2003, Price said. This will allow third-party tape backup vendors to partner with Microsoft to support DPS for Windows-based environments.

Click here to read more about the issues addressed at this week’s Storage Decisions conference in Chicago.

Once the product is released next year, Microsoft will make available a Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) Pack at the same time for easy configuration and integrated functionality, noted Microsoft officials. Eventually, Microsoft plans to target DPS for some of its other application platforms, most notably Microsoft Exchange.

“First and foremost DPS is [designed] to make Windows the best platform for storage,” said Price. “IT professionals are struggling to just get their incremental backups [accomplished on time] everyday … we need to really be democrative with the experience of recovery.”

According to Microsoft, over 20 storage vendors have announced their support will be in place for DPS once the product hits the shelves. From the ISV (independent software vendor) ranks they include CommVault Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Dantz Development Corp., LiveVault Corp., NSI Software Inc., Quest Software Inc., and Yosemite Technologies Inc.

On the hardware side, bundled support will include, Dot Hill Systems Corp., Engenio Information Technologies, Intel Corp., LeftHand Networks Inc., QLogic Corp., Seagate Technology Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

What do financial services companies expect from their storage infrastructure? Click here to read how one group gained in performance and reliability through an investment in IP-based storage.

In addition, OEM (original equipment manufacturers) that plan to stand behind DPS include Dell Inc., EMC Corp., Hitachi Data Systems Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Iomega Corp., NEC Corp., Quantum Corp. and Storage Technology Corp.

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