EMC Buys Into SMB Back-up

EMC said on Tuesday that it has bought back-up and recovery software maker Dantz Development for about $50 million in cash.

EMC, which for the past year has offered back-up software for commercial and large-sized businesses through its Legato NetWorker product, picked up privately held Dantz to fill the gap in its back-up portfolio for small- and medium-sized business (SMB) customers.

With 500,000 registered users and millions of seats, Dantz makes and sells the Retrospect line, which backs up and recovers data for file servers, desktops, notebooks and applications. Retrospect also provides convenient, one-step recovery with backup to disk. It supports Windows, Red Hat Linux and Macintosh operating systems.

The software performs back-up automatically, making it an obvious fit with EMC’s quest to automate software functions in its tiered storage environment, according to Prashant Dholakia, vice president of information protection software at EMC.

Dholakia told internetnews.com that EMC had been considering a purchase of Dantz for sometime to fill the gap in its recovery management line that has been carried by Legato Networker.

“Networker wasn’t the right answer [for SMBs] for many reasons,” Dholakia said, noting that EMC and Dantz will continue to develop Retrospect. “So this becomes a key part of our product portfolio going forward.”

The purchase, the Hopkinton, Mass., company’s 15th acquisition since 2000, should give EMC a toehold in the back-up sector for SMBs, where Veritas Software and Computer Associates are strong. EMC is currently third overall in the backup and archive software functional market behind Veritas and CA, according to IDC.

While it’s proven its ability to provide technology and services to high-end customers, EMC has increasingly turned toward the bountiful SMB market.

In May, the company unveiled the NetWin 110 network-attached storage (NAS) server for SMBs and a storage area network (SAN) machine.

Many analysts have said the market for storage software among SMBs is set for explosive growth, with AMI Partners expecting it to balloon to $1.2 billion by 2008. Moreover, SMB customers will be likely to spend some 72 percent of their storage software budget on backup and recovery, AMI said.

Because of the market opportunity, SMB should play a key role in EMC’s information lifecycle management (ILM) strategy for helping enterprises manage their info from its creation until its disposal. ILM is the outfit’s weapon to help customers battle the swell of e-mails, spreadsheets and photos that clog the computer systems of enterprises.

Key ingredients of ILM are archiving and content management, so EMC bolstered those areas last year by buying Legato Systems and Documentum. Dantz is a smaller piece of the puzzle, albeit an important one as EMC seeks to curry more market share.

Dantz and its 80 employees will continue to operate from its current headquarters in Walnut Creek, Calif., where it will be folded into EMC’s Software Group. President and CEO Larry Zulch will report to EMC Software Group leaders Dave DeWalt and Mark Lewis.

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for CIO.com covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.
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