As previously predicted, EMC has acquired Berkeley Data Systems, provider of Mozy Online backup and recovery services.

The move comes amid worries that the growing popularity of social networking websites and corporate demand for Web 2.0 applications, is putting increasing pressure on storage vendors to satisfy demand for online data storage and backup facilities.

EMC has traditionally shied away from the consumer storage market, but it now joins companies such as Seagate Technology, which acquired online storage provider Evault for $185 million last December. Prior to that, Iron Mountain purchased LiveVault for $50 million in 2005.

The purchase of Berkeley gives EMC a valuable foothold in the consumer, Soho (small office home office) and even the SMB space.

EMC did not disclose the purchase price, although it has been previously mooted the purchase price would be in the $76m region. All EMC would say is that the transaction would not have a material impact on its revenues or EPS (earnings per share) for 2007.

Privately-held Berkeley provides Mozy, which offers users a simple way to protect their data. Once it is installed and setup on a user’s computer, backups are automatically performed in the background. Data is transferred whenever the user is connected to the Internet to Mozy’s archive system. It encrypts all files on the user’s computer before transfer, and is able to perform incremental backups.

“Mozy’s technology and online delivery model has proven itself to be one of the industry’s most admired offerings for customers looking to safely and cost-effectively backup and recover their digital information stored on desktops, laptops, and remote office servers,” said Tom Heiser, EMC SVP, Corporate Development and New Ventures.

“We will continue to invest in Mozy’s full portfolio of online backup and recovery services and advance the Mozy brand in the marketplace,” he added.