IBM Spectrum Protect Plus – More Than Meets The Eye

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 18.  My flights, accommodation and other expenses were paid for by Tech Field Day. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

IBM recently presented at Storage Field Day 18. You can see videos of their presentation here, and download my rough notes from here.

 

We Want A Lot From Data Protection

Data protection isn’t just about periodic protection of applications or files any more. Or, at the very least, we seem to want more than that from our data protection solutions. We want:

  • Application / data recovery – providing data availability;
  • Disaster Recovery – recovering from a minor to major data loss;
  • BCP – reducing the risk to the business, employees, market perception;
  • Application / data reuse – utilise for new routes to market; and
  • Cyber resiliency – recover the business from a compromised attack.

There’s a lot to cover there. And it could be argued that you’d need five different solutions to meet those requirements successfully. With IBM Spectrum Protect Plus (SPP) though, you’re able to meet a number of those requirements.

 

There’s Much That Can Be Done

IBM are positioning SPP as a tool that can help you extend your protection options beyond the traditional periodic data protection solution. You can use it for:

  • Data management / operational recovery – modernise and expanded use cases with instant data access, instant recovery leveraging snapshots;
  • Backup – traditional backup / recovery using streaming backups; and
  • Archive – long-term data retention / compliance, corporate governance.

 

Key Design Principles

Easy Setup

  • Deploy Anywhere: virtual appliance, cloud, bare metal;
  • Zero touch application agents;
  • Automated deployment for IBM Cloud for VMware; and
  • IBM SPP Blueprints.

The benefits of this include:

  • Easy to get started;
  • Reduced deployment costs; and
  • Hybrid and multi-cloud configurations.

Protect

  • Protect databases and applications hosted on-premises or in cloud;
  • Incremental forever using native hypervisor, database, and OS APIs; and
  • Efficient data reduction using deduplication and compression.

The benefits of this include:

  • Efficiency through reduced storage and network usage;
  • Stringent RPOs compliance with a reduced backup window; and
  • Application backup with multi-cloud portability.

Manage

  • Centralised, SLA-driven management;
  • Simple, secure RBAC based user self service; and
  • Lifecycle management of space efficient point-in-time snapshots.

The benefits of this include:

  • Lower TCO by reducing operational costs;
  • Consistent management / governance of multi-cloud environments; and
  • Secure by design with RBAC.

Recover, Reuse

  • Instant access / sandbox for DevOps and test environments;
  • Recover applications in cloud or data centre; and
  • Global file search and recovery.

The benefits of this include:

  • Improved RTO via instant access;
  • Eliminate time finding the right copy (file search across all snapshots with a globally indexed namespace);
  • Data reuse (versus backup as just an insurance policy); and
  • Improved agility; efficiently capture and use copy of production data for test.

 

One Workflow, Multiple Use Cases

There’s a lot you can with SPP, and the following diagram shows the breadth of the solution.

[image courtesy of IBM]

 

Thoughts and Further Reading

When I first encountered IBM SPP at Storage Field Day 15, I was impressed with their approach to policy-driven protection. It’s my opinion that we’re asking more and more of modern data protection solutions. We don’t just want to use them as insurance for our data and applications any more. We want to extract value from the data. We want to use the data as part of test and development workflows. And we want to manipulate the data we’re protecting in ways that have proven difficult in years gone by. It’s not just about having a secondary copy of an important file sitting somewhere safe. Nor is it just about using that data to refresh an application so we can test it with current business problems. It’s all of those things and more. This add complexity to the solution, as many people who’ve administered data protection solutions have found out over the years. To this end, IBM have worked hard with SPP to ensure that it’s a relatively simple process to get up and running, and that you can do what you need out of the box with minimal fuss.

If you’re already operating in the IBM ecosystem, a solution like SPP can make a lot of sense, as there are some excellent integration points available with other parts of the IBM portfolio. That said, there’s no reason you can’t benefit from SPP as a standalone offering. All of the normal features you’d expect in a modern data protection platform are present, and there’s good support for enhanced protection use cases, such as analytics.

Enrico had some interesting thoughts on IBM’s data protection lineup here, and Chin-Fah had a bit to say here.

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