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Backup and Recovery Innovation With IBM Spectrum Protect

IBM Spectrum Project

One of the most important functions (and perhaps most neglected areas) of IT is related to systems backup and recovery. With so many products on the market, where do you start? When you start accessing products, you need to start with maturity. Has the product been around for awhile? Can the product scale? As you company grows, you’ll need a product that will grow with you. Most importantly, does it do everything you need from a feature and functionality standpoint—including disaster recovery? In this article, we’ll review the most mature, scalable and reliable product on the market: IBM Spectrum Protect (formerly known as Tivoli Storage Manager) and discuss what the product can do for you.

The roots of TSM started branching at the IBM Almaden Research Center, around 1988, where a form of the software was used to backup VM/CMS systems. Originally, it was called Workstation Data Save (WDSF). This product evolved into ADSTAR Distributed Storage Manager (ADSM). It was rebranded to TSM in 1999. Approximately a year later, I was exposed to TSM during my tenure with a large healthcare company as an AIX production manager. I learned firsthand that TSM was a very stable product that did everything we wanted it to do, which was mostly backup and restore.

Starting with version 6.1, TSM started using Db2 as its instance, which addressed architectural limitations on prior releases. Starting with version 7.1.3, IBM Storage Manager was rebranded to IBM Spectrum Protect. It was a hybrid transition, as only some applications, such as their software fulfilment system and IBM License Metric Tool used the new production name, while the software and product documentation continued to use the TSM production name. Beginning with version 8.1, the branding transition was complete.

Solution bundles such as IBM Spectrum Protect Suite and IBM Spectrum Storage Suite can provide you with exactly what you’re looking for, in cost models that are appropriate for your organization.

IBM Spectrum Protect Suite

This product, which was formerly named TSM Suite for United recovery, helps reduce the complexity and infrastructure costs for the organization, which also increasing application availability. It's a comprehensive data protection solution that includes backup servers and snapshot management, as well as advanced agents for VMs. It provides advanced support form VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V data protection and recovery. The advanced agents provide backups for all your core applications, including your databases, email and ERP applications. To that end, snapshots and backup agents are available for MS Exchange, MS SQL Server, SAP, Oracle and various flavors of Db2.

With the emphasis on VMs in today’s infrastructure, Spectrum Protect has made it very easy to manager your VMs. As it relates to both VMware and Hyper-V, the product has the following features, which apply to both VMware AND Hyper-V:

  • Auto Discovery of new VMs. This feature will ensure that all of the data in the VM structure is protected.
  • Item level recovery. This enables fast recovery of files – especially useful for MS Exchange and MS SQL.
  • Application consistent backup and recovery. This ensures consistency and simplified restore
  • Copy Management. This enables a single VM snapshot to be used for data recovery, testing and DR.
  • Incremental forever backups. This reduces the need for extra capacity and staff to manage full backups.
  • Data deduplication. This enables high performance space reduction.
  • Non-disruptive single pass backups. This helps increase your overall backup performance
  • Agentless support. This helps simplify deployment, by reducing your operating system expense.

Incremental backups using deduplication significantly can reduce your space requirement by up to 95 percent. This is simply because less data needs to be sent to the backup server. I also like that the server automated configuration scripts that are provided, which can also reduce your backup server deployment time significantly.

Recovery Failover can be enabled to automatically failover to an alternate disaster recovery site if the primary recovery server is down. It also supports multi-site replication, including accelerated recovery from outages that impact an entire site.

IBM Spectrum Storage Suite

This product gives you unlimited access to all members of the Spectrum Storage software family, with licensing per Terabyte, which makes it much easier to manage and forecast costs. When you use this bundle, there are no licensing headaches, as you grow from one type of storage to another or different types of data. There is no delay in waiting for procurement. Rapid testing is another feature of this product, because non-production use of the software in test environments is also included.

The product gives you full recovery for all software defined storage needs, including access to all members of the storage family and IBM Cloud objects, including:

  • IBM Spectrum Control
  • IBM Spectrum Protect
  • IBM Spectrum Protect Plus
  • IBM Spectrum Archive
  • IBM Spectrum Virtualize
  • IBM spectrum Accelerate
  • IBM Spectrum Scale
  • IBM Cloud Object Storage

What About the Cloud?

IBM Cloud Storage allows you to manage your data using IBM’s self-service portal and APIs. You can connect your applications directly to Object Storage and integrate IBMs Cloud servers to your backups. Using the IBM Cloud console, you can quickly create buckets, manage your objects and see the usage details. The Cloud Object Storage API is a REST-based API, which supports S3 API functions for programmatic access. There’s SDK support for Java, Node.js and Python.

What does Spectrum Accelerate is a hyperconverged enterprise-class software defined block storage, which is tailored for VMware, Docker and mixed workloads. It can be used across multiple private, hybrid and public clouds. It can be deployed on your choice of servers and even the IBM cloud. Based on IBM XIV technology (a high-end grid-scale storage system), Spectrum Accelerate offers robust cloud automation through OpenStack, RESTful API and VMware, and provides for full security and data protection, with its advanced mirroring, encryption capabilities, multi-tenancy and self-healing properties.

To sum it all up, IBM Spectrum Protect has something for everyone. It’s truly a platform agnostic system—you can run it on AIX, Linux (including Linux on Power and Linux zSeries) and Windows, and it has backup client support for AIX, HP-UX, Linux (all types), Mac, Solaris and Windows. It can scale from SMBs to the large enterprise—because of its flexibly licensing modules and many offerings. It can help you recover from a disaster using site-to-site recovery and also be used simply as a standard backup and restore tool. It can be used in a cloud or in a more traditional environment. Backup and recovery may not be the most exciting type of software that you will use, but there is nothing more important than safeguarding your data and nothing does it better than Spectrum Protect!

Ken Milberg, CATE, PMP, is a diverse IT Professional with 20+ years of experience. He is a Power Systems Champion. Ken is a technology writer and site expert for techtarget and has also been a frequent contributor of content for IBM developerWorks. Ken has also been a freelance writer for IBM Systems Magazine and is a former technical editor. He can be reached at

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