IBM Spectrum Protect Review

A very reliable, consistent, unhackable product

What is our primary use case?

It is performing very well. However, our customer feedback is the product is very complex, and mainly built for the enterprise customer. They will need to do some developments on the Spectrum Protect, especially on the Plus series. Maybe on Spectrum Protect, they can simplify it, so the admin can get more easily access the console, and generate jobs and alerts.

As a product, it is very nice. People love it, but the only issue is it requires a very unique/rare skill set. 

80% of the core business is running on-prem, and some of the applications which are add-on, go on the cloud. This is a mixture: 80% is on-premise, which is non-critical.

The problem with moving to the cloud is the government compliance agreements. The government says the data should not leave the country, or if the data is leaving Iran, it should be encrypted and no one else can read it. This is why Amazon is coming with their data center. Once it is live, all the Ministry's data should be part of Amazon and it should not go out. Those are the compliance issues with the Ministry.

We manage approximately 20 customers, except Saudi Arabia.

How has it helped my organization?

Especially for the banking and ministry sectors, they have core businesses running and they can't have a single bit of data corruption or data loss. This is a very important product for them, because it gives ease of access and the type of data consistency where they can rely on it and its safe on-hand. When there is a need or a disaster, they can get the information back from the archive. So, it is very much required.

What is most valuable?

The backup on real-time, especially for the virtual machine, archiving, and retrieving the reader from the backup repository and getting it online, getting it validated, then performing the data consistency check over the backup.

What needs improvement?

  • I would like the users to have a better experience with the product.
  • Easier recovery
  • It needs better connectivity with other non-IBM application hardware and non-IBM platforms. If it can get connected with other applications, the customer would be happier because they would not need to stick to a single vendor, so they could have a backup on multiple environments.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. It is meant for the enterprise customer's core business. I have never seen any customer talk about a system crash and not being able to retrieve their backup. 

It takes a lot of time to configure on the first setup. Once setup, you do not need to touch it again. You just need to do a formal check on possibly batch updates.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you are attaching with IBM products, it is all compatible and very easy. Issues arise when you are working with non-IBM products. Then, you need to find all the APIs with the Spectrum Product. There are some issues with HPE and Dell, because these two do not support Spectrum Protect. You have to be on certain versions before they will support integrations.

Spectrum Protect will meet our customers needs as they grow, because as the data is growing they need to have a backup. We are talking about on-premise backup, we are not talking about cloud backup. We are discussing out of the country backup. There are tapes which are getting shipped out of the country with an encryption key. Spectrum Protect is playing a vital role, because they do the encryption. It is a very reliable, consistent, unhackable product. 

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is okay, but their skills are limited.

Example: Our customer was not able to do certain activities. So it went from Level 1 to Level 2, then Level 3. Level 3 takes a longer time to bring up the batch or find a resolution. I think that is a part IBM could fix something. They should have a proper technical support team serving the customers and get issues resolved earlier.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup starts straightforward, but as soon as a customer opens the requirements for the backup because they are happy it, they will want to export their system, virtualized platform, or some applications on the databases. This is when it starts getting complex. Then you need to run multiple jobs, multiple consoles, and bring it all together. Of course, customers want to have a single console to connect all their different environments.

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

I would recommend IBM, but I am a business partner.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Other market competitors include EMC NetWorker, Veritas (Plus Edition), and Veeam (for virtualization).

What other advice do I have?

Customers main criteria when selecting a vendor: presence in the market, and onsite and offsite support.

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