IBM Spectrum Protect Review

Integrates well with Unix/Linux and high-end databases


What is our primary use case?

I have been working for more than 14 years in service companies dedicated to implementing and consulting in the area of backup and storage. This has allowed me to work with a multitude of backup environments. I have worked in Unix, Linux, Windows, and VMware environments, with all kinds of databases, applications; environment backup contingency solutions (DR) - formerly through "double copy" and tape management offsite; replicating storage pools via disk systems, and the databases of the backup server itself. Lately, I have been using node replication in on-premise environments and replicating against the server located in the IBM cloud (Softlayer).

What is most valuable?

Yields are a key feature. There are also very few incidents related to restores that cannot be performed. The level of product support is very high.

What needs improvement?

Integration with Windows environments needs improvement. It should be more "assisted", both at the application and database level. It remains a product that fits better in Unix/Linux environments than in Windows environments, given its configuration procedures. It needs BMR (bare machine recovery) solutions for both Windows and Linux systems.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The deduplication functionality has caused some issues as has the upload of deduplicated/encrypted data to the cloud. These errors have been solved, thanks to the power of its DB2 engine. It enables detection and correction of these problems. To date, I have not found any error that could not be resolved.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is one of the best features of this product. An IBM Spectrum Protect environment (a DB2 instance) can manage up to 4PB. Sometimes it is more practical to define several instances of DB2 (several DB2 databases, several TSM servers) on the same physical server, which drastically reduces the size of the DB2 databases.

How is customer service and technical support?

The problem in Spain is that level-1 and 2 support, which were very good, has been moved. Now, almost all level-2 incidents are handled in France or the US. In the US there is very good support but its work schedule does not match ours.

Which solutions did we use previously?

For medium/large environments (Unix, Linux, Windows, VMware) we also propose the Commvault solution. For fully virtual environments, such as VMware and Hyper-V, we always use Veeam Backup & Replication. For a small environment with Windows and VMware/Hyper-V, we usually implement Veritas Backup Exec.

How was the initial setup?

Setup/implementation requires a high level of knowledge/skill. For those with experience, the setup can be very fast, although it is true that it requires a pre-planning and sizing process.

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

The licensing is varied. If we have small environments (not many TB being managed) it is best to license by PVUs (depending on the number of cores of the machine). If we manage many TBs we look at licensing by capacity which allows us to use all the agents of the product.

If the customer has more IBM products, as well as IBM storage, we can resort to global licensing, which can be very economical.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In principle, and whenever I can implement this product, if a customer is reluctant or has many Windows servers I choose products that are configured/installed almost entirely via a graphic interface, such as Commvault.

What other advice do I have?

It is a very powerful product that offers great performance and integrates very well in Unix/Linux environments and with powerful databases (Oracle, DB2, SAP, etc.). However, it requires a middle to high-end knowledge of, and skill with, the product.

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