Microsoft jumped into the disk-based backup and recovery market Monday with the announcement of the Microsoft Data Protection Server (DPS), a low-cost, continuous, disk-based backup and recovery system. More than 20 storage industry partners announced support for the new software-based product, which is scheduled for release in the second quarter of next year.Microsoft\u00a0jumped into the disk-based backup and recovery market Monday with the announcement of the Microsoft Data Protection Server (DPS), a low-cost, continuous, disk-based backup and recovery system. More than 20 storage industry partners announced support for the new software-based product, which is scheduled for release in the second quarter of next year.DPS is aimed at the low-end of the data backup market and will handle basic backup tasks for Windows file servers. It is designed to let users, as opposed to administrators, easily recover past versions of their files. Microsoft will release similar products for its Exchange, SQL Server, and Sharepoint products in the future. "From their Windows desktop, users will be able to see any versions of a file DPS is protecting," said Jeff Price, a senior director in Microsoft's storage group.DPS is designed to simplify and reduce the backup and recovery process, said Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Windows Server Division at Microsoft. "Customers are telling us that backing up and recovering their data is labor-intensive and complex. Exponential growth of business-critical data and new government regulations are increasing the cost and complexity of backup and recovery, forcing companies to rethink their data protection planning," he said.According to Microsoft officials, DPS allows for recovery of file servers in a matter of minutes rather than hours through the use of disk-based backup. It also provides continuous data backup that does not interfere with business operations and integrates with tape backup procedures. Beta testing of DPS will begin in the first quarter of 2005, with general availability expected in the following quarter. "Our overall storage strategy is to make Windows the best platform for storage, and we believe this product takes us a long way in that goal," said Price. OEMs that announced support for the product include Dell, EMC, Hitachi, HP, Iomega, NEC, Quantum, and Storage Technology.Price said Microsoft is concentrating on servers that carry the brunt of the corporate workload at first -- file servers -- but said the company will add support for other servers in the future. "This is the area where customers are feeling the most pain and that's what we're going to address with this product," he said. DPS will run on a Windows 2003 Server system but can perform backup duties for Windows 2000 file servers as well. Microsoft's Price said the company will eventually bring out versions designed for e-mail and database backup support.