[Preamble: I have been invited by GestaltIT as a delegate to their Tech Field Day for Storage Field Day 18 from Feb 27-Mar 1, 2019 in the Silicon Valley USA. My expenses, travel and accommodation were covered by GestaltIT, the organizer and I was not obligated to blog or promote their technologies presented at this event. The content of this blog is of my own opinions and views]
The IBM Spectrum Protect Plus (SPP) team returned again for Storage Field Day 18, almost exactly 50 weeks when they introduced SPP to the Storage Field Day 15 delegates in 2018. My comments in my blog about IBM SPP were not flattering but the product was fairly new back then. I joined the other delegates to listen to IBM again this time around, and being open minded to listen and see their software upgrade.
Spectrum Protect Plus is NOT Spectrum Protect
First of all, it is important to call that IBM Spectrum Protect (SP)and IBM Spectrum Protect Plus (SPP) are 2 distinct products. The SP is the old Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) while SPP is a more “modern” product, answering to virtualized environments and several public cloud service providers target platforms. To date, SP is version 8.1.x while SPP is introduced as version 10.1.4. There are “some” integration between SP and SPP, where SPP data can be “offloaded” to the SP platform for long term retention.
For one, I certainly am confused about IBM’s marketing and naming of both products, and I am sure many face the same predicament too.
What is this about?
Traditional Backup and Restore environments are complex. In the SMB/SME market segment, they remain status quo because of the capex cost of rip-and-replace and also the lack of IT staff. Thus, backups and restores continue to fail, driving intangible costs and downtime to the operations and business.
The modern approach of the IBM SPP clearly overcomes many of the challenges of the traditional approach to backup and restore. In the purple box (above), the Restore process is greatly simplified, and is a confidence booster in data recovery. Integration with the cloud also offers semi- or full-automation for the backup process, something SMBs/SMEs are deeply considering to manage data management costs.
The IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Architecture
Here is a general high-level view of the IBM SPP architecture:
- Spectrum Protect Plus Server – responsible for all management functions such as scheduling, indexing, searching and reporting
- vSnap Storage Server – functions as a backup server and target with data repositories. Scaling the data protection requirements is just adding more vSnap servers. The backup targets include RAID-ed storage, IBM Storwize, IBM COS and a growing list.
The one full and incremental forever snapshot backup creates mountable virtual copies for restore and other functions for staging, Test/Dev and analytics.
New features added in this version, 10.1.4, are the Disaster Recovery (DR) capability, and the growing importance of cyber security and integration into air-gap for data bunkers.
The potential is there
The IBM SPP is still rudimentary despite some new features to complete its market offering but it has potential. In the recent TechTarget Product of the Year 2018 Awards, under the category of Backup and Disaster Recovery Software and Services, IBM Spectrum Protect Plus was a Bronze Winner. The win should give them industry recognition for the hard work they has done, as they continue to put more firepower into their solution.
Starting at list price of USD60.00 (MYR240.00) per 10 VMs, it may be attractive enough to tempt initial adoptions of the solution in the SMB/SME market. It may find it hard to break through into replacing incumbent backup and recovery solutions as most customers I know rarely switch. However, smaller, local or regional cloud service providers could give IBM SPP a lifeline to backup respective customers’ VMs in IaaS offerings. In Malaysia and neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, this could be an undiscovered gold mine. The SLA (Service Level Agreement) feature is certainly a big, big Plus in the CSP space. So is the automation feature as well.
I wish the IBM Spectrum Protect Plus (still a mouthful) all the best. Someone from IBM in the Storage Field Day 18 session mentioned yesterday that they would like come back to share more in the future. The future means for the solution to catch up (fast)!
It has made an impression for me to write more, with my positivity of the solution growing.