EMC buys backup software vendor

EMC announced Tuesday that it has purchased Dantz Development in a multimillion-dollar deal that the storage vendor hopes will better position it to sell data backup technology in the small-to-medium-size-business market.

EMC said it bought the 20-year-old US vendor of backup software for under US$50 million and will make the company part of its Enterprise Storage Software group.

With the purchase, EMC said it is positioning itself against Veritas Software, which offers BackupExec backup software, and Computer Associates International, which sells the Brightstor ARCserve backup agent.

"Dantz has very solid traction in the (small-to-medium-size-business) space, and we think it's very complementary to EMC," said Mark Lewis, executive vice president of EMC's software group.

Lewis said the acquisition is important to EMC in three ways: It allows the company to increase the number of information life-cycle management products it offers to small and midsize businesses; Dantz's backup software will integrate easily with EMC's Networker backup management software, which is produced by its Legato division; and it gives EMC a jump-start in the market for software sales to small and medium-size businesses.

"There's a ton of capability we can very quickly integrate," Lewis said. "In this case, we believe we're gaining critical DNA for the (small-to-medium-size-business market)."

Kevin Money, network supervisor at Iroquois Gas Transmission System, has been using Dantz Retrospect software for nine years to back up its workstations, servers and field offices.

Iroquois has 123 employees and operates a 412-mile natural gas pipeline.

Money, who has six servers running Retrospect software and backing up about 2TB of data nightly, said he likes the backup application because it's simple to manage and works across Windows, Macintosh and Linux platforms. Money also said he likes Dantz's licensing structure because it's based on the number of servers the software is running on, not the individual clients that are being backed up.

He said he was concerned that EMC is buying his backup vendor. "Is it for its infrastructure, its patents or for its licensing? Or are they going to keep it for their specialized market? Are they buying to augment it or break it up?" he said. "The only other thing I'd be questioning, that also always makes people like us nervous, is just their licensing. I want to know if they're going to change the licensing structure."

Lewis said Dantz's Retrospect suite of backup software will still be sold separately even after it's integrated with Networker, which will be completed within the next year.

Larry Zulch, president and CEO of Dantz Development, said his 80 workers will remain and the acquisition of his company will allow it to gain traction in the large enterprise market, for which EMC is known.

"We need to extend into all the markets and channels," Zulch said. "A large organization already using Networker that needs to back up at the edge will find our product is very appropriate for that as well."

Over the past year, EMC has been moving into the small-to-medium-size-business market, which research firm IDC has identified as the fastest-growing segment of the storage marketplace.

In May, EMC announced the Clariion AX100, a low-cost network-attached storage gateway, at the same time it dropped the price of its Clariion midrange storage array line from US$25,000 to US$10,000 in hopes of boosting sales.