IBM Spectrum Protect Review

A robust product with vast flexibility in scheduling policies


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for little backups, such as our exchange databases.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps insomuch as that it is a run solution. The issues that I've had with IBM are few and far between. Every time it restores, even though it may use tapes, there are no issues.

What is most valuable?

We really like that it just works and haven't had any problem with it, whatsoever.

It is very flexible in terms of schedules for different types of retentions. We have different policies for images, for audio files, and for user files. We have policies set up for something lasts for 15 years, or five years, or some for only two years. It can put up many, many schedules for different types of retentions. It's awesome.

What needs improvement?

The user interface needs to be improved. It is mostly a command line and you're stuck in a terminal most of the time. They have been moving over to a graphical interface, in part, but it still has a way to go in terms of ease-of-use. The commands are awesome but you can't really remember all of them. If the whole thing goes graphical then you don't have to remember obscure commands to run stuff, or set stuff up.

The configuration section needs some work done, especially with the day-to-day usage of setting up schedules and policy domains, etc.

The licensing needs to be simplified, changing it from "per core" to "per socket". This would make it much better.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This product is robust, and stability is the best part. It doesn't really fall over unless you want it to, which is the main thing.

As we are currently migrating to Veeam, I can tell you that I had less sleepless nights with the IBM solution. Veeam is very dependent on the health of the cluster, and if it isn't running well them Veeam doesn't perform too well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, it doesn't matter how much you throw at it, it just handles it. The product doesn't require that much in terms of resources. There is no overhead CPU consumption unless you're doing deduplication and stuff like that. It is not heavy, resource-wise.

I am the main backup administrator and the only one who is using this product. I run it for the company. Currently, we are backing up between forty and fifty virtual machines on Tivoli. If I want to leave and let the schedules run then I have a second IT person to monitor it.

The usage will not increase because the solution is being phased out, and all of the backups are moving over to the new product. Before the end of the year, it will not be used anymore.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't really needed any technical support because I haven't had any major issues with the product itself.

I did speak with them about tape issues but that's more hardware than software. The experience was easy and prompt, as they came out the next day and fixed it. It was awesome.

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

We did not use a solution prior to this one.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward. It's a basic setup and you just need to know what has to be done. Your pools and everything, it just has to point to that directory and it's done.

Our deployment took about a day. We last upgraded in 2015 to V7, and it handles backups of all our file systems, our images, our recordings, etc. The deployment included setting up these policies.

What about the implementation team?

I took care of the implementation and deployment myself.

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

The licensing fees are on a yearly basis, which for us it is about R400,000 (approximately $27,000 USD). The additional costs depend on your backup technology. For example, if you are using tape technology then it depends on the type of tape and how many you purchase every month. It could cost about R10,000 (approximately $650 USD), or so. The pricing is a little expensive for our current employer, so they want to move to a cheaper solution.

Currently, pricing with IBM is based on sockets and the cost depends on the machine or server. Even if you don't have anything hectic running on the host, you are still paying for the whole host. This is something that should be improved.

If it wasn't for the price we would most likely still be using it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This solution was in place when I arrived. However, we are currently in the process of migrating to Veeam but this is a cost consideration rather than one of functionality or performance.

What other advice do I have?

The best part of this solution is that it just works.

I would rate this product eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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