IBM Spectrum Protect Room for Improvement

Data Protection Specialist at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees

It is not easy to manage like other products in the market. It is okay only if you are command-line driven. Even though the operation center is there, it doesn't provide a single view of everything. You have to, for example, use TSMManager on top of it, which gives you a far better management capability, but it is a third-party product. Its management needs to be improved. There should be an HTML or graphical interface. 

It is a very difficult product. For example, you have a backup policy where you want a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly policy standard. It is an old kind of system where you have to keep retention for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly backups, which is very difficult in IBM Spectrum Protect. In other products, in a matter of five minutes, you can configure such a policy. In TSM, it takes you one, two, or three days because you need to configure a node for each of them. If you have 250 nodes, you have to configure each node for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly retention. If you have 1,000 nodes, it is going to take you ages just to configure and register the nodes. You need to configure the schedule and the CAD daemons or services, depending on whether it is a Unix or Windows OS. Unfortunately, it is a very long and drawn-out process. You have to stop and start the services for changes to take effect. This is a very difficult part of TSM in IBM Spectrum Protect.

To configure a backup policy, I should be able to select the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly options in one screen and finish it. After that, everything should happen in the background. All the backup products in the market already do that, and they are very simple to manage. This particular part of this solution has really been a major pain area for us, and unfortunately, we could not find a workaround. There is nobody at IBM who can give us a way to configure all this easily through a GUI or even scripts.

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Technical Manager at Optimize It

The reporting could be better. There's not a complete solution for reporting; however, there is a solution that allows you to write SQL queries. This way, you can explore the databases with metadata and get the reports that you want. Still, that's not an out-of-the-box solution, it's just a tool that allows you to write queries as you need. There is a steep learning curve for that.

I would also love to see more agents and solutions devoted to backing up other workloads, especially in regard to non-traditional databases.

The licensing can be a pain to manage. There is a tool that can provide you with automated reports regarding how much licensing you're using, but sometimes it's not accurate. You need to contact an IBM representative in order to get the correct information. 

Traditionally, there has been a Spectrum Protect for Virtual Environments module that allows you to protect virtualized environments; however, it's not easy to use. It's very complex. In this case, my advice is to leverage Spectrum Protect Plus, which is the newest addition to the portfolio to back up both virtualized and modern workloads and works very well.

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Network Systems Analyst III at a retailer with 10,001+ employees

Their support is lacking. I've talked to their developers and stuff in the last couple of weeks and they reassure me that some people have retired, and they're working on getting that bumped back up. But the support lacks a lot to be desired at this point.

Their backups are once a day, they're not doing asynchronous replication. They're doing a one time a night backup. So whereas products like Zerto, every time there's a change in a block, it's immediately written across. They're not doing replication instantaneous, they're doing it once a day. There is a lot to be desired there.

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Unix / AIX System Administration at a construction company with 1,001-5,000 employees

The pricing is a bit high. It would be ideal if it was more affordable.

Generally, everything is changing so fast within the product, it's hard to pinpoint what needs to be changed or what is missing. The solution is constantly evolving.

It would be helpful if the solution included some sort of ransomware protection.

The only thing that I haven't tried yet is using it with VMware. I haven't done any tests on it. Let's say that I want to restore a VM, virtual machine, and I would like to access it in a short period of time. This is something that Veeam, for example, is doing. Veeam will permit you to start a VM and start working with it and restore only what is needed to do a prompt work. If it's possible to have the same functionality on this product, that would be ideal.

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Senior Storage Architect at a computer software company with 201-500 employees

The solution has a Spectrum Protect Plus product, which is more for Windows-only VM. However, it doesn't really do tape. It requires IBM to do things to the Cloud, which adds costs. They're starting to integrate the products together. That said, right now, it's like two implementations, it's not one product.

We've tried to sell Protect Plus from time to time, however, then you need Protect if you want to do tape. It's kind of clunky. Once they integrate the products, it will be pretty powerful.

Spectrum Protect is still an industry-leading product across multiple operating systems. It still runs best on an AIX server and does remember Windows or Linux. The install base is more AIX as far as hosts because the AIX server is more powerful.

They should be able to integrate the products so that you don't have to do two system installs.

The solution should have a better way to deal with the system state files in Windows. They should do that better where it doesn't try to walk the file system and you have to use in image mode.

The experienced people still use the CLI. You shouldn't have to use a CLI to use this product.

They took some of the funding off of it for a while. Therefore, instead of being a market leader, they took their position for granted. Then some competitors developed new bells and whistles that they advertise, and due to that lag a few years ago, there are not the resources to explain the differences.

They're outsold. IBM is outsold because people do not understand the product and it had a reputation of being complex.  That said, with the new GUIs and other improvements, it's really pretty easy. The problem is they've got to deal with their old reputation of being difficult and complex. Still the GUI could still be more robust.

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Database Specialist at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

Technically, I've not used the latest version. What can be improved is the graphical interface and user-friendliness of the products. Secondly, they can make it also more available for other sub-regions so that we can pick up some courses on it. We need to improve our knowledge base on their products.

IBM Spectrum Protect needs improvement, but I'm sure they looked at some of these issues in the latest version. There are continuous improvements in the application.

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IT Architect at CGI

Replication services would be nice. If these could be enhanced to be always on so multiple storage backup services could be added as a cluster pool. This would provide a better availability service.

It would be great if the API could add functions to check storage pool details using the client-side API.

It would be great if there would be an API to add new licenses using the client-side API so the licenses can be reviewed using QUERY LICENSE. Then, new licenses could be added using the REGISTER LICENSE command.

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Spectrum Protect Specialist at a computer software company with 201-500 employees

The solution is used to support newer client types for backup for cloud-based software as a service, mail as a service, things like that, and hyper-converged systems. That's what they intended Spectrum Protect Plus for. They need to make sure it continues to cater to these clients.

The solution needs to work on disaster recovery integration. Basically, VMware applications to the cloud, for example. There needs to be integration with the storage, and integration with VMware. 

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Storage administrator at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees

It can be improved for large file systems with many files. Spectrum Protect can restore large files very well, but if you're restoring millions of little files, it is not as great.

At one point, we tried to implement the VMware module with it, and it was awful and terrible. I don't know if that has improved. If it hasn't, this would be one big improvement.

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Manager - Storage & Backup at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees

Its management part can be better and simplified. It is kind of a beast as compared to Commvault or Veeam, but they are more user-friendly. They are also easier to learn, whereas Spectrum Protect definitely takes time. They should simplify it. Our teams are pretty comfortable with it because we have been using it for a long time, but from the perspective of a new user who is evaluating or using this solution, it is definitely more complex in terms of manageability.

Its monitoring could be improved so that it can even monitor the jobs that are scheduled by external schedulers. There are situations where a database team might decide to use their own schedulers, but currently, Spectrum Protect is not able to catch those jobs in the Operation Manager console.

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Lead Engineer Storage at a computer software company with 201-500 employees

Generally, the implementation of virtualization could be improved. The workflow service and so on are not working properly. They have another solution, Spectrum Protect Plus, however, for me, that is a new product. They invented a new product for virtual environments as they didn't succeed in integrating it into the former solution. For me, Spectrum Protect Plus, and Spectrum Protect are not the same product. It's not a new feature for Spectrum Protect, it is just a new thing. Therefore, we assessed IBM was not able to provide a good solution for virtual environments. Therefore, we decided to use Veeam for that.

The initial setup is quite complex.

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Business consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

The user interface could be better. It could be more intuitive or more user-friendly.

The initial setup is complex.

It's not a good option for smaller companies. It can be a bit expensive.

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Manager at a university with 10,001+ employees

The high availability of the backup servers can be improved because we can replicate nodes, but the software is very complicated. It's very complicated to do backups in several clusters.

You have to do a lot of configurations to build a server, and you would need to backup and restore.

To go to new hardware, it's a project because you would need to do tests of the backup and restoration of the  DB2 database. A lot of time would need to be spent.

There are lots of configuration issues.

I think it would be good if they could improve the self service of the users.

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Storage Administrator at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees

Their plans need to be upgraded. It's a 1.0 and needs to be taken to a 1.4. Other solutions have more; Veeam for example, has 2.0, as well as Cohesity, and CommonVault.

When it comes to virtualization in IBM, it's not perfect.

We are going to switch from IBM to Veeam because Veeam is more accommodating to virtual environments. You can restore your Active Directory or your object to your group policy with Veeam.

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Backup Administrator at a insurance company with 5,001-10,000 employees

The solution requires organizations to purchase an extra license to go to the cloud. I've got a limitation of going to the cloud. I don't want to pay more. It gets expensive.

There needs to be a bit more automation.

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Director of Storage Services at a legal firm with 5,001-10,000 employees

Although I am not a technical user, I would say the cloud integration features could be improved.

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Service Director at scsi co.,ltd

You need to use command line rather than the console. It would be better if users didn't have to use command line in order to use the solution.

Technical isn't so great. It's a bit slow in terms of response. They need to get back to their users a lot faster.

The licensing isn't very clear. They should work to simply or clarify the cost structure.

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IT Infrastructure and Architecture Manager at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees

They can include more cloud-enriching features. I would like IBM Spectrum Protect to have the functionality for backing up a VM directly in Azure. I would like to back up a VM directly in Azure without spinning up a Hyper-V cluster and backing up the virtual server. 

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IBM Product & Technical Sales Specialist at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees

Their marketing needs improvement. I don't think it's market correct.

This product comes up against other products available that are marketed better but the other products that it's in competition with are a single product and this is one of IBM products. If it could be marketed as more for competitors I think that's where it comes short. 

There are massive choices when it comes to data backup, in terms of products. VMware is known on the market, for example. But VMware only can market that. IBM on the other hand has 20,000 products and the Spectrum Protect does not get the same presence in the market, because of the vastness of the organization. But a competitor, VMware, only has to market that product offering that they have because that's all they have. IBM has to market their solution better.

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Architecte Technique at a retailer with 10,001+ employees

Better integration with other tools and databases is needed. Some examples of this are Oracle RMAN and Veeam.

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IT Infrastructure Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

Its price can be better. It is very expensive. 

Its interface is very old and not user friendly. They can improve its interface.

Their support can also be better. My clients are not very satisfied with the support because they are not really quick. 

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Director at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

It has a lot of areas for improvement. Its reporting for job completion or incompletion can be improved. It should also provide a granular recovery, ease of operation, data life cycle management, and media management. 

It should support a backup in such a format that in case of a disaster, one can start the virtual machine out of the backup itself. Its reliability can also be better. It is also expensive, and their support is also poor. 

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Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

The installation process could be simplified. However, the tool is comprehensive and if the installation is too easy, then the tool itself will be too simple as well. I do not see any pain points. The only issue I see is the pricing, it is expensive.

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Network Administrator at a government with 51-200 employees

The interface could be more user-friendly.

In the future, I would like to see more features regarding file backup, as well as multiple cloud integration.

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Head of Cloud & Systems at Abraxas Informatik AG

This is quite an expensive solution so I'd like to see the cost reduced. Technical support could be improved. 

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Service Director at scsi co.,ltd

The main admin console from the UI cannot do anything in the product. It just allows us to maintain, maybe, 30% to 40%. For the rest, we have to use the command line. I think the management console could be improved.

The initial setup is very complex.

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Sr Systems engineer at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees

They should introduce more features for virtualization platforms and backing up IBMs. Backup speeds should also be improved. 

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Sys Admin 4 at UC Davis Health System

The deduplication must be perfect, and thus should be improved. It costs us too much when we hit corruption in a backup and cannot recover.  

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Learn what your peers think about IBM Spectrum Protect. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2021.
511,307 professionals have used our research since 2012.