IBM quietly releases source-side data deduplication in Tivoli Storage Manager 6.2

IBM adds significant updates to TSM 6.2, including source-side data deduplication that does not require additional licensing, policy-based client distribution, and simultaneous copy operations.

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According to its website, IBM Corp. is bringing out Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) 6.2 this month, with improvements to data deduplication, Windows data backups and policy management.

While the company has not officially announced Tivoli Storage Manager 6.2 or responded to requests for a briefing, analysts said the updates to the data backup software are significant for Tivoli Storage Manager customers.

According to the website, TSM 6.2 will become generally available March 19 with a bundle of feature updates including:

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  • Source-side data deduplication. According to the website, "Tivoli Storage Manager and Tivoli Storage Manager Extended Edition V6.2 source-side data deduplication is performed for file data. It is optimized to help reduce network 'chattiness' when identifying duplicate data. Tivoli Storage Manager and Tivoli Storage Manager Extended Edition V6.2 compile statistics for the respective Tivoli Storage Manager and Tivoli Storage Manager Extended Edition V6.2 backup-archive client to report on deduplication and data reduction savings."
  • Data deduplication no longer requires Extended Edition. When IBM added server-side deduplication to TSM 6, Tivoli Storage Manager Extended Edition was required to get the feature. Now dedupe is available with the standard version.
  • Centralized installation and management of Windows clients. Installing and updating TSM agents on client servers used to require manually touching each server. This release allows administrators to "push" new clients and updates for Windows servers. This update also encompasses IBM's FastBack remote office/branch office continuous data protection (CDP) product.
  • Simultaneous backup migration and copy active-data operations. Because it supports "incremental forever" backups, Tivoli Storage Manager continually performs background migrations and makes copies of data in its disk storage pools to ensure that data can be recovered as efficiently as possible. In the past, these operations were performed one at a time and maintenance windows could run up against backup windows. With this release, multiple maintenance operations can run simultaneously, reducing the maintenance window.
  • Incremental Windows backup improvements. TSM 6.2 backs up only changes to Windows system state, rather than the entire system state.
  • Virtual server support updates. VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) customers can automatically discover new Windows guests. TSM 6.2 also now supports VMware's new vStorage APIs for data protection that come with vSphere 4. Hyper-V snapshots through Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) are also now supported.
  • Application and operating system support expansion for certain features. Large SAP databases can be broken up and backed up more efficiently using a new plug-in for ERP apps with this release. It also supports in-flight SSL encryption on Linux, Solaris and HP-UX hosts.
  • Backup expert W. Curtis Preston wrote in a blog post Monday night that the new administrative features, including simultaneous maintenance operations and centralized policy-based management, will be "huge" for TSM administrators, "who have historically really struggled with the number of hours in the day. This should save them several hours."

    Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Lauren Whitehouse, who said she received a briefing from IBM about Tivoli Storage Manager 6.2 last month, said the release "is pretty meaty, but it introduces a lot of little things they don't have fleshed out all the way." For example, VMware is making the ability to track block-level incremental changes for backups available, though "not necessarily a part of the vStorage APIs," Whitehouse said. Competitors have embraced that feature, but it's not part of TSM 6.2, she said. "Also, they're supporting VSS, but not clustered shared volumes, so you don't get all the richness out of the environment," she added.

    As a next step, support for centralized administration of non-Windows hosts will be key, Whitehouse said. "But it's a good first step," she said. "It's a lot for a dot-release."

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