IBM Spectrum Protect Review

Enterprise-wide type of architecture supports a lot of different platforms


What is our primary use case?

Primary use case is for data protection and data backup. I work with the following:

  • On-premise solutions for customers.
  • Building solutions for our managed service, which uses Spectrum Protect as a backup data protection for primarily DIAX Power Systems platform.
  • Virtual workloads in our data center.

It performs great and is working wonderfully.

Our on-premise infrastructure is mostly spinning disk right now. Tape is on our plans towards the future. I have come to the conclusion that we need to make sure we add tape into the solution, because archive seems to be a big, important piece, especially since Spectrum Protect is moving as a product. Going forward, we will find it being more as a long-term retention repository than it used to be in the past.

We have two Spectrum Protect instances. We have work redundant ones in our managed solutions center that we offer for our solutions provider. For my on-premise work that I do as a consultant, I take care of instances on and off for various customers.

How has it helped my organization?

As managed solutions provider, it has been really useful because it scales bigger than a lot of other products. It allows us to consolidate costs on the back-end, making it somewhat more cost effective for us, while still being able to scale bigger for our larger customers that buy solutions from us.

What is most valuable?

The biggest thing is its enterprise-wide type of architecture. It supports a lot of different platforms. This is useful for us.

What needs improvement?

There is not much that they do not have already. 

Integration with some applications in the healthcare field could be added, as that is a big part of our business. I just recently learned that Spectrum Protect Plus has integration with Epic. They are planning on implementing it. It is on their road map, and that seems to be the right direction. 

IBM has a good direction, making sure they address the things that they discuss with us as a service provider, and looking to provide better products to our customers.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is super stable. This is one of the reasons that we like it as a solutions product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is extremely scalable. This is why we like it, because a lot of other products require a more complicated deployment as the environments get bigger. 

Spectrum Protect keeps things rather simple, because as long as we build the core system, it can scale with the hardware, essentially. We use Power Systems for our servers. Therefore, it can scale massively, as well as the application. Thus, we keep our costs low.

The solution will definitely meet my customers' growth requirements. However, the challenge I have is that customers are becoming more homogeneous and need diversity less. This has worked more for us as we take on workload for them, but I have a lot of customers who used to need five or six different types of enterprise integration: workload, virtualization of different platforms, etc. However, this all seems to be getting more homogenized. Therefore, the need has been going down from what we have seen previously.

How is customer service and technical support?

Most commonly, we call technical support for performance related issues, if we run into something which is a weird anomaly, we will call them up. 

They have recently added support tickets specifically engineered around performance. This has been very useful for us when we run into issues where customers are looking to try to squeeze a lot more horsepower out of older system.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is a little more complex than some of the other solutions. The younger, backward products out there are much easier to implement. 

Generally speaking, it works well for me, as a person who sells my services. It is nice to be able to be able to set something up for a customer, and have it work directly the first time, because of the fact that I have the experience. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Typically, the competitors have been EMC or Commvault. Those are the most common ones that we have run into. 

What is probably most interesting, more recently, customers have been having conversations with me around some of these newer backup applications which are more web scale architected, like how Spectrum Protect Plus is designed. This has been a different conversation, because the customers' focus is more about ease of use, and less about flexibility and scalability. Therefore, this has been a little bit of a shift, because they have simplified so much, and what they have is their infrastructure.

What other advice do I have?

Customers' most important criteria when selecting a solution:

  • Robustness
  • Durability
  • Flexibility with storage and the Client.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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