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EMC to acquire backup software player Dantz

EMC is in negotiations to acquire Dantz Development Corp., a provider of backup software for small businesses.

EMC Corp. is close to acquiring backup software provider Dantz Development Corp., to fortify its position in the small to medium-sized business market, the company told

"We are in discussions with Dantz about an acquisition," said Victoria Grey, vice president of strategic initiatives at EMC. "Dantz has complementary technology to our product set and additional channel strength in the SMB market ... It reflects EMC's growth strategy, which includes small to midsize businesses." The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Should the deal go ahead, and it's never done until it's done, as the saying goes, EMC will own a 100-person software company that sells a product built from the ground up for small businesses.

"It shows they are really paying attention to this space," said Arun Taneja, founder and analyst of the Taneja Group. He noted that most companies are taking enterprise class products and stripping out functionality for smaller businesses, to be able to offer them at a lower price. "The reality is that midsize companies need all these features ... But the product has to be architected correctly from the start. ... Dantz is microscopically focused on the SMB space," he said.

EMC's efforts in this market to date have primarily been around hardware products. It offers the Clariion AX100, a prepackaged SAN-in-a-can system for approximately $6,000, and the NetWin 100 Windows-based NAS appliance. On the software side, it offers the Legato RepliStor Windows-based file replication product and Co-standby Server, a failover product for Windows Exchange and SQL servers.

Curtis Preston, vice president of service development at Glasshouse Technologies Inc., said that EMC acquiring Dantz would be a blow to Veritas Software Inc., which dominates the small business backup space with its Backup Exec product. "Dantz has a decent product for the SMB Windows backup market and completely owns the Mac backup market. ... With EMC behind it , Dantz could do a lot more damage," he said.

Dantz's Retrospect product line provides data protection for file servers, desktops, notebooks and applications, including Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange. The company owns a patent that enables it to back up only new and changed data to save time and storage capacity and deliver more accurate restores. Other backup software must perform repeated, time-consuming, full backups in order to avoid flawed restores, the company claims.

Founded in 1984 and based in Walnut Creek Calif., Dantz counts some key names, including British Telecom Plc, DaimlerChrysler AG, Motorola Inc., Nortel Networks Ltd., Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Co., West Virginia University, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Raytheon Co., Lockheed Martin Corp., University of Illinois, UCLA and Genentech Inc., among its shopping list of customers.

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