IBM unveils software for real-time data backup

Big Blue's product is designed to let workers automatically and continuously back up data to PCs and laptops.

IBM plans to announce new data-backup software on Friday, becoming the latest and largest entrant into the market for continuous data protection.

IBM Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files, which is slated for release on Sept. 16, is designed to let workers automatically and continuously back up data to their computers or laptops, as well as send a copy to a remote company server.

"There are products out there that take snapshots of your data every hour or half an hour, but...you have to figure out what was saved and what was not," said Michael Nelson, IBM's On-Demand director of information.

Snapshots also require more storage space than a continuous data protection approach, said Steve Duplessie, a senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group.

Continuous data protection backs up only the last changes made to a file, whereas snapshots record the entire file and, as a result, require more storage space, Duplessie added.

IBM is entering a fairly new market, pioneered a year ago by Revivio, Duplessie said. Other players include XOSoft and Mendocino, which was founded by a former executive at Veritas.

Veritas, a storage giant now owned by security titan Symantec, currently has a beta out for a product called Panther. Symantec plans to market the final product in the next couple of months, said a company spokeswoman.

Though other large industry players are poised to enter the market in the near future, IBM believes it has an advantage, Nelson said.

"One advantage is it's integrated with other Tivoli products," Nelson said, adding, "This is part of our On-Demand strategy, which...brings better reliability, cost savings and data management" to customers.

Big Blue plans to sell its IBM Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files at $35 per laptop or desktop and $995 per server processor.

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