IBM Global Services (IBM GS) has announced a series of managed data recovery services that use disk-based backup technology from Avamar Technologies Inc., and online remote backup from LiveVault Corp., for users who are ready to hand over this process to a third party.
Dubbed Electronic Data Management Services, the series includes three offerings designed to replace current tape backup systems and processes. They are as follows:
- Point-in-time backup and replication. Backup to an IBM appliance at the customer site, eliminating tape, followed by replication to an IBM facility in nonreal time. Avamar's Axion disk-based backup technology offers the point-in-time replication service for Wintel and open systems. Indigo Stone Inc.'s Enterprise Rapid Recovery Methodology software provides multi-platform, multi-vendor server recovery. A second flavor of this service uses Network Appliance Inc.'s SnapMirror software for regulatory compliance. It provides a secure, off-site disk-based copy of the data, but no recovery element.
- Online backup. Provides off-site electronic vaulting. Backups are performed automatically over a network connection to a remote, off-site IBM facility. This service is based on offerings from LiveVault.
Regarding IBM's choice of partners, it's interesting to note that Tivoli's products are nowhere to be found in these services. According to Adam Couture, senior analyst at Gartner, "Tivoli is too big a club to use on this problem … it's very difficult to use, whereas LiveVault tends to be intuitive and doesn't need a lot of training," he said.
The market for remote backup services exists primarily among smaller businesses, according to Couture. "They have the worst practices regarding backup… Even if they have a plan they've never tested it, they have no IT staff dedicated to it and they rarely back up to a remote site," he said.
In a survey conducted last fall of 100 or so enterprise users, Gartner found that 52% of respondents were not interested in remote backup services; 22% said they may use it sometime in the future; 13% said they are currently considering it; and 27% said they are using it today for a portion of their data.
One of the reservations users have had in the past around outsourcing data management has been the security around it. IBM claims its services can incorporate dedicated or shared infrastructure models, depending on user requirements. The company's logical partitioning technology enables it to replicate several different customers' data into a single IBM iSeries server.
"We're dealing with people here -- some customers are willing to accept the shared model and some aren't. There's a range of emotions we need to cater for," said Dick Fordham, recovery services manager at IBM GS.
IBM's Electronic Data Management Services will be available from April 12, and will be priced from $6 to $18 per gigabyte per month.