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Sony, CA build backup for laptops

The companies team to release a software-server package that automatically retrieves and saves data from Windows-based notebooks when they log into a network.

Sony and Computer Associates International have jointly launched a backup product to help laptop owners do a better job of holding on to key documents and information.

The companies plan to release the StorStation Laptop Data Protection system, which backs up data on notebook computers automatically when they connect to a network. It combines Sony's 720GB StorStation FSV-M5 server with CA's Mobile Backup software.

The package detects TCP/IP connectivity whenever workers log in to their company's network with a Microsoft Windows-based laptop, the companies said. If a backup is scheduled, the system retrieves data from the connected computer and transmits it to the FSV-M5.

"Mobile users are particularly vulnerable to having their machines damaged, lost or stolen, yet they are also the least likely to perform adequate backups," said Steve Baker, a storage executive in Sony's business division.

Sony and CA unveiled the product Wednesday. The StorStation Laptop Data Protection system, which also can be used to back up data on desktop computers in remote offices, is slated to hit the U.S. market in October at a price of about $10,000. It will also be available in other countries.

Laptop computers are becoming increasingly popular in the business world. In the second quarter of 2003, shipments of notebooks for businesses rose 9.6 percent from the first quarter, according to market researcher IDC. Notebook shipments overall rose by 22.4 percent globally on a year-over-year basis during the second quarter this year and grew by 1.5 percent from the first quarter, IDC said.

Other companies are targeting the same customers as Sony and CA. Veritas Software's NetBackup Professional is able to detect laptop computers once they connect to a network and then automatically back them up, company spokesman Jeremy Roe said.

And on Wednesday, NewTech Infosystems introduced backup and recovery software called Backup Now 3 Deluxe, which can be used with laptop PCs. The product allows users to back up information on a remote machine or on a direct-attached device, such as a CD burner.

Backup Now 3 does not have a feature allowing for automatic backup of laptops once they're connected to a network. "It's on our development plan," said Ray McGoldrick, manager of technical support and quality assurance at NewTech Infosystems.