IBM Spectrum Protect Review

It gave us the flexibility to use whatever storage we wanted. We have a balance issue between reclamation and the backup function.

What is our primary use case?

We are actually implementing our own private cloud and using Spectrum Protect to back up and replicate the backups to a secondary site.

How has it helped my organization?

With Spectrum Protect, you can use any type of disk to back-end the repositories. It gave us the flexibility to use whatever storage we wanted at our secondary site. On our first site, we have really high performing variable disks, and at our secondary site, we have a lower performing tier. On the cloud, we have an even slower tier.

What is most valuable?

Most valuable features are:

  • Good tape integration
  • The node replication to a secondary site.
  • The ability to use S3 Data Store as a repository.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see integration with Copy Data Management, which is an IBM product. That would be really nice. Right now, these two products are siloed, so if these two become integrated, the product would become a bit of a powerhouse.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

With stability, we have had some challenges. There have been some issues around some of the functionality around reclamation. In the reclamation jobs, there has been fighting over the backup jobs. With Spectrum Protect, you have a reclamation job that takes space back from tapes which are no longer needed, and we' are having a challenge with that right now. 

We are having a balance issue between the reclamation and the backup function. It has to take the space back from the tapes before it can record to those tapes, but sometimes those two processes are overlapping.

This is in the process of being resolved. We are currently working with IBM support and the IBM engineering teams to resolve the issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not really had a chance to properly scale it, but I imagine it should be fairly straightforward in terms of growing it out, e.g., we spec'd out a server that was really powerful.

In terms of scalability, the next thing should be adding additional storage.

We currently have one Spectrum Protect instance, but in the future, there will be at least three or more.

How is customer service and technical support?

The support is really good. They are very responsive. There is a PMR set up, and we are working directly with the engineering team, who are actually coding the product.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was not complex. It was really straightforward. It has been a lot easier as of late to do these implementations.

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

We chose IBM Spectrum Protect, because they actually have something called MSP pricing, which means managed services provider pricing. The pricing was attractive, and it seems to be a platform that IBM is totally investing on in terms of new functions and new capabilities. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We seriously looked at Commvault. We also looked at Veeam and another third-party.

What other advice do I have?

The way it works is customers can host their applications on our cloud, and we basically charge them to backup those products. We wanted something that could do that and we have the skill sets in-house. That is how it came about that we purchased Spectrum Protect. It is pretty much a function of wanting to backup primary workloads running on our cloud.

Most important criteria when selecting a backup:

  • Resiliency
  • Integration with tape
  • Integration with cloud.
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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