IBM Spectrum Protect Review

For initial setup, we followed everything in the large blueprint, and it was a smooth transition from there

What is our primary use case?

We are currently looking at doing a refresh for the PowerNAS for Spectrum Protect and getting Spectrum Protect Plus in-house for our VE as well as backing up our databases, such as Oracle, DB2, or SQL.

We use all-flash for all the storage that we use for Spectrum Protect.

We do not have anything going to the cloud now. The goal is to have anything which requires a long-term retention backed up to either Amazon or Azure.

How has it helped my organization?

We currently use Tivoli Data Protection to back up our databases. Spectrum Protect is actually the application which backs up the file system data, then anytime you want to back up the databases you use an agent with Tivoli Data Protection (TDP) to be able to back up your Oracle databases or your SQL databases. 

Right now, we are getting  good results when we back up Oracle with TDP, but we back it up directly to the VTO. So, the goal is to get rid of the VTO and utilize the native features within Spectrum Protect to be able to do deduplication and no replication as we would do it on the VTO, because all that functionality is on the VTO. However, Spectrum Protect does not know about the VTO. So, it would be nice to be able to move that within the functionality Spectrum Protect. However, in order to do, we have to make sure we are sizing the servers correctly. This is why we are also considering using the PowerNAS, and maybe putting Spectrum Scale ESS behind it as well. 

We currently are working with our sales rep and some of the IBM techs to see how this solution would play out if we wanted to bring it in-house.

What is most valuable?

From a tech perspective:

  • Utilizing deduplication
  • No replication
  • Getting the virtual environment backed up using Spectrum Protect Plus on all of the databases.

What needs improvement?

I would love to see something which allows us to do an auto restart of backup jobs. Right now, we have it where we have health checks, and if anything that missed or failed, we monitor those. However, we have to manually go onto the servers to execute a manual backup. It would be nice if there was something that ran behind the scenes on the Spectrum Protect server saying, "If our file spaces have not been backed up in eight hours or 12 hours (depending on the attribute status set by the customer), then an auto backup restart occurs automatically." This would be instead of having to do it manually. 

This would help us out, and also the operational teams as it would allow them to focus more on maintaining the Spectrum Protect server versus restarting backup jobs.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Performance has not been an issue. If we do move all of our Oracle and SQL databases off of the VTO on to Spectrum Protect, performance will be a huge factor because we will now a LAN-free backup to a LAN backup. This means we will be going over the network. Therefore, we need to be able to know that Spectrum Protect and our internal network will be able to handle the workload.

We do have a test environment. Currently we just upgraded our test environment to 8.1.5. We are currently testing some of the issues that we have had related to the GS Kits that were resolved in 8.1.5, as well as some issues where the nodes were not communicating back to the Spectrum Protect server providing you information on the last time it established communication with Spectrum Protect.

These issues were resolved by reading. We did a lot of googling and found some information which was on the IBM website. It gave us information in regards to the issues that we found. However, when we upgraded our production servers to 8.1.3, we actually ran into the GS Kit issues, and we had a lot of clients who still run 7.x. Therefore, we had a lot of issues from the first time it started to authenticate to the Spectrum Protect servers and the servers stopped backing up. 

One of the things we did was open up a ticket with IBM and say, 'This is what is going on." The IBM technician helped us out and ensured that we had everything in place. He made sure that we did not have that issue again when we were using it. When the Clients started communicating back with the Spectrum Protect servers, it was back on level. So the issue was resolved.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have been impressed with the scalability.

Our environment is huge. We have a large AIX Windows environment, and it is growing every day.

If we build our servers correctly when we refresh our environment using a PowerNAS, Spectrum Protect will definitely be able to handle our growth.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We came from version 7.1.3. Based on some of the features which were offered in version 8, this was the focal point for us to say, "We need to upgrade if we want to take advantage of using container pools, start using deduplication, and no replication." 

We wanted to go ahead and start upgrading the Spectrum Protect servers to the latest code, as well as the Client, so we could take advantage of these new features.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup. It was not complex; it was pretty much straightforward. Besides the security issues, we experiences no other issues.

We started with the blueprints, which were great. The blueprints allowed us to be able to decide if we needed to use small, medium,k or large. Because we are a large environment, we used a large blueprint. Once we followed everything in the blueprint, it was a smooth transition from there.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Veeam and Rubrik, but right now, we have the two best products. We have Commvault and Spectrum Protect. Each one of them are the best at different things and each have their weaknesses. During the last two years, IBM has put out a lot of different features which have impressed us. We may be able to reevaluate some product comparisons now. As long as IBM continues to roll out new features and adjusts a lot of other customer issues out there in the industry, they will continue to stay one of the top products.

What other advice do I have?

Look at all the products in the industry, then base your decision on the size of your environment. A lot of times products say that have cool things, but at the end of the day, scalability and performance are what you should be looking at. Spectrum Protect has been able to meet these particular needs for us. 

Do not let companies use you as their guinea pig.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
1 Comment
author avatarRobert Wosneski

Call me in a year when you want to rip and replace it.


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