IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Review

Virtual snapshots with incremental backups is a key feature

What is our primary use case?

We're a bank and use the solution for backup and recovery, it's a disaster recovery enterprise solution. We're partners with IBM and I'm the Senior Technical Lead Consultant.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are the virtual snapshots that offer incremental backups forever. 

What needs improvement?

I don't think the solution is particularly user friendly, it requires expertise. Technical support could also be improved. Now that they're in the cloud I think they'll start enhancing with their backups. They weren't very good in the virtual world but they seem to be making more of an effort in the latest version and trying to align themselves with other backup solutions. IBM's an expensive solution so if you're enterprise you'll go with them, especially if you have other IBM products in the workplace. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a very stable solution, but it requires a spectrum protect person working with it and not a regular admin person. In that respect, it's not very user friendly. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a scalable solution but not like the products we have today. Scalability depends on setup and requires planning and architecture. If you have that then it's a scalable product.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is a bit problematic, I have good technical support within the company but if I need third level support there's nobody in Australia who can take a call for that. I wouldn't call support unless it's third level but it takes a while to get a response from them. I've been trying to solve an issue for six months. They keep sending different codes and commands that don't work. Maybe now that they've designed a private cloud it might be better. 

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup of the solution requires expertise in configuration and installation, a person who has a connection to IBM or knows the product. This is not an out of the box solution. If it's not set up properly it's a nightmare to try and maintain down the line. Initial setup doesn't take a long time as long as the hardware specs are aligned but you have to know your environment and have a design. It requires planning.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Given that it's an expensive product I would suggest that if you're rich go with IBM, and if you're poor go with someone else. Most enterprise companies like to show off with these products. I've been lucky to have worked in enterprise companies. 

What other advice do I have?

IBM doesn't work well on a middle-ware level when you're using solutions from different companies. I've been reading about their recent virtualisation. Once they master that, they'll probably be number one again and they seem to now be aligning themselves and starting to create a compatible product with all the clouds. 

What's caused part of the problem with IBM are their ongoing support costs. It looks like they're now changing their model and aligning themselves by creating a compatible product with all the clouds. Until now, Commvault has been the only compatible solution with all the clouds, whereas IBM has only been compatible with their own solutions. It's only now they're starting to integrate. There is an arrogance about them but lately I think they've realised that they need to be more public with their stuff and to compete with Commvault.

I would rate this product a nine out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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