What is our primary use case?
The primary use case is backup and disaster recovery.
It is fantastic. We have a number of clients using the product. Everybody who uses it is very happy with it. It is cross-platform, very flexible, and a great product.
One of my primary clients has a fairly hybrid solution where they use a TS4500 Tape Library as their offsite and primary data store. They are also using directory-container pools and replicating it to a near-site location which is on the same WAN.
How has it helped my organization?
It is something like: How does insurance make people happier? An insurance policy of sorts. You have to spend money to protect your assets. That is what this is. It does that job. That is why people like it. However, much like insurance, I am sure people dislike it for a lot of the same reasons.
What is most valuable?
There is a laundry list of valuable features: scalability, performance, mass platform coverage, etc. It is one of the few backup products on the market right now which an organization can bring in and it will serve all of their backup needs. It is a completely centralized solution and one of the three largest, market share wise, in the world (I believe).
It is a strong, mature product, which a lot of people are using, and there is a ton of support for it.
What needs improvement?
This is more something that I would have to go over with the IBM guys. There is probably a small laundry list.
Ease of use. This has got to be the one thing that I routinely hear from clients and customers. It is a bit more difficult than it should be. What I find is that IBM has heard this issue, and they are responding with updated interfaces.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Usually, after the initial rollout, there are a few kinks to iron out, and from then on it's almost a self-maintaining system. It's generally very stable. Only when you introduce new features, options, or massive changes in your workload do you really find a major problem with the backup infrastructure. It tends to be very stable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It scales infinitely. I have customers that are protecting less than 100 terabytes of data versus customers that are protecting petabytes of data. Provided you size your hardware solution properly, it will work with any organization.
How is customer service and technical support?
IBM support is great. It is world-class support. They have a great system in place and they generally get the problem solved. It can take some time. If a problem requires it, we escalate it. They have to dive a bit deeper than you normally would, reading through logs, but they are always there with the next step to fix a problem.
How was the initial setup?
If I'm being completely honest, setup is not easy. It's a more complex setup, but with great flexibility comes great complexity. If you want something to do things which are very complex, you have to be mindful of that in the setup process. It is not trivial, but it is very workable and the documentation is out there to get it done.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
The competitors are Commvault, Veeam, or any of the other major backup players who are out there right now. It is a zero sum market. Everybody is bidding for the same customers.
What other advice do I have?
In terms of why my customers go with Spectrum Protect, it is usually cost. The second most common is platform readiness. It can support multiple types of clients. It can back up your Exchange database for your email, at the same time that it can back up your user's file shares, and at the same time you can back up your virtual machines. It meets everybody's needs and that is often why IBM wins out when there is a competitive bid process.
I recommend a conversation where we sit down and spec out what the requirements are. I will always recommend Spectrum Protect. From my perspective, it is the best one on the market. That is the reason I have gone in this direction. I am fully onboard.