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A look at the data backup capabilities of IBM Spectrum Protect

Spectrum Protect data backup software helps enterprises prevent disaster through various backup methods, and aids in recovery in the case of data loss.

IBM Spectrum Protect has a long lineage that dates back to the late 1980s, when the product was marketed as the ADSTAR Distributed Storage Manager (ADSM). By the late 1990s, ADSM was rebranded as Tivoli Storage Manager. Today, as Spectrum Protect, the backup software product still has a strong following of corporate users of data backup and storage.

IBM Spectrum Protect works for any company that needs to protect its data. It captures and stores data so companies can recover it in the event of a ransomware attack, data corruption, a natural disaster or any other form of data loss. It's part of the IBM Spectrum Storage Suite of products.

Businesses can purchase IBM Spectrum as an appliance through IBM's reseller network. They can also purchase IBM's backup-as-a-service product, which has become popular with SMBs, through the Business Continuity Specialists group and through its partner network.

The main components of IBM Spectrum Protect include a backup server and a management server. Backup targets include tape, spinning disk, virtualized disk, flash and client agents. IBM also offers plug-ins for all the different workloads customers typically ask for, including Oracle, SQL, SAP, DB2, Exchange, VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V.

While IBM still offers a command-line interface and API, in the past several years, it has created a graphical user interface that's geared toward general business users who manage backups rather than a pure backup administrator.

Another reflection of the move from pure backup administrators to general business users is that Spectrum Protect integrates with the VMware vSphere suite. This enables virtual machine (VM) administrators to back up and recover VMs, or even individual files from their VMs, giving them the same level of control that a backup or storage administrator would have over their VMs, all in a familiar graphical interface. IBM also offers many of the same capabilities for companies that virtualize with Microsoft Hyper-V.

IBM offers a low, entry-level price for a single server. It also offers capacity pricing on both the front-end and back-end capacities, as well as pricing by processor. Customers can purchase IBM Spectrum Protect as part of the Spectrum Storage Suite, which enables customers to buy licenses based on capacity and to select the software from any of the six other software components in the suite. Products in the suite include: Spectrum Control (analytics), Spectrum Archive (data retention), Spectrum Virtualize (virtualization of mixed block environments), Spectrum Accelerate (enterprise block storage for hybrid cloud), Spectrum Scale (hybrid cloud storage for unstructured data) and Cloud Object Storage (simple object storage).

Users can purchase backup server components of IBM Spectrum Protect on an individual basis. Here's a breakdown of the components.

  • IBM Spectrum Protect: Automates data backup and restore functions. The product supports a broad range of platforms and storage devices, reduces a company's data storage footprint and maintains a catalog of protected data.
  • IBM Spectrum Protect Extended Edition: Adds disaster recovery management, node replication, network data management protocol backup and large tape library support.
  • IBM Spectrum Protect Operations Center: Delivers an at-a-glance view of the Spectrum Protect environment, which simplifies reporting and enables administrators to solve problems faster. This is included with IBM Spectrum Protect.
  • IBM Spectrum Protect High Speed Data Transfer: Improves throughput over high-latency, high-packet-loss WANs.
  • IBM Spectrum Protect for Data Retention: Enables organizations to execute long-term record retention with flexible hold and release processing.
  • IBM Spectrum Protect for SAN: Enables SAN-attached IBM Spectrum Protect servers and user systems to deploy Fibre Channel connections to storage systems for data backup.

Customers can find a live demo version of Spectrum Protect for testing on the IBM website. IBM also offers proof-of-concept tests for customers serious about deploying the product.

One-year support agreements are standard with the purchase of Spectrum Protect; pricing typically runs as a percentage of the total licensing cost. 

Next Steps

Read our guide to enterprise backup technology and how it is used

IBM adds new cloud support for Spectrum products

Why data backup is so important and what it can do for you 

This was last published in May 2017

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