EMC’s Iomega and Mozy Divisions Offer Combined Desktop and Cloud-Based Backup

As Bob observed in a March story, EMC (NYSE: EMC), the Hopkinton, MA-based information infrastructure and content management firm, is very good at acquiring companies whose technologies fit with its existing technology architecture. But it isn’t so well known for actually melding the technologies from various acquisitions into new products. VMware (NYSE: VMW), for example, was acquired almost five years ago, in December 2003, but still functions as an almost completely separate company with its own line of software for virtualizing data centers.

Today, however, three EMC subsidiaries announced that they’re throwing their lots together—at least when it comes to data backup products for consumers and small businesses.

The three units are Walnut Creek, CA-based Dantz Development Corporation (acquired by EMC in 2004), makers of Retrospect backup software for Windows and Macintosh computers; Utah-based Mozy (acquired last September), which offers online backup services for consumers and businesses; and San Diego-based Iomega (acquired in April), which makes external hard drives. The organizations said that starting this summer, new portable and desktop hard drives from Iomega will come with instructions on how to download a free version of Retrospect Express that also helps buyers sign up for the free or premium versions of Mozy’s online service.

All of which means that PC users who buy Iomega external drives will be able to arrange cloud-based data backup at the same time that they’re setting up automatic local backups of their PCs’ primary hard drives. According to EMC, it’s the first time local and remote data backup have been integrated in a single product offering.

“It’s a seamless customer experience at this point,” says Steve Fairbanks, director of product management for Mozy. “When a customer goes to install Retrospect Express, they’re given the option to back up online using Mozy, and we’ve done the integration work to pass information from the Retrospect setup screens to Mozy.” That means, in effect, that PC owners can specify in one step which parts of their hard drives should be backed up regularly; the Retrospect and Mozy software will then make local and off-site copies automatically. Mozy provides up to 2 gigabytes of online storage free, and charges $4.95 per month for unlimited storage.

Fairbanks says the project to combine the Iomega, Retrospect, and Mozy products became a high priority for EMC as soon as the Iomega acquisition was completed. “This was a very strategic decision made by senior executives, involving working teams who identified great synergies between the products,” says Fairbanks. “If you think about it, the target audiences are very well aligned.”

EMC reasoned, in other words, that anyone who cares enough about their data to buy an external hard drive from Iomega is probably also cautious enough to spring for a second level of off-site protection from Mozy. “Mozy has about 750,000 customers, and many of them also have USB hard drives protecting their data—but they recognize that if their external hard drive failed or if, heaven forbid, their house or their business were to burn down or have some natural disaster, they would completely lose that data,” says Fairbanks. “The cost and efficiency [of online backup] has become such that customers are taking a look at both options now.”

Among the first products to include the new software bundle will be Iomega’s bestselling 500-gigabyte and 1-terabyte desktop hard drives, which are available from online retailers now and are expected to be on shelves at Best Buy before the end of July. The bundle will be rolled out with the full line of Iomega external hard drives over the next two months, according to EMC.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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