IBM Spectrum Protect Futures

As the future of TSM is Spectrum Protect, I guess that this is where I have to reluctantly start using the new name. Forecasting the future is always good fun. This information is sort of educated guesswork. Some of this stuff might happen this year, some might never happen and some could already be working by the time you read this.

VMware improvements

IBM has stated its intention to make Spectrum Protect the number one backup and recovery product for VMware, Spectrum Protect 8.1 brought in lots of new VMware goodies and we can expect more in future:
Faster and easier full VM restores
Incremental VM restores
Improved data protection for VMware
Better support for VMware competitors like Hyper-V

Snapshot backups

Again, Spectrum Protect 8.1 introduced much better snaphot support. Snapshot seems to be the future of backup, so we can expect to see even tighter integration with snapshot products and better automation.

Integrated support for applications and databases, for example:

  • MongoDB, Hadoop and Netezza support
  • Support for Docker, Bluemix, KVM, Openstack and vRealize
  • SQL server database cloning
  • Appliance support; Spectrum Protect + Scale appliance, Spectrum Protect virtual appliance
  • Support for Oracle 12c container databases

Administration and Functional improvements

Integration with Aspera, the high speed Client/Server data transfer product that IBM recently bought.

Cross platform server migration

Ever better integration with LDAP to improve secirity

Improved Replication functionality for disaster recovery protection and local failures too.

Bullet proof data separation, where this is required for security between different clients.

Spectrum Protect 8.1 New Features

Spectrum Protect 8.1, released December 6th 2016.

Spectrum Protect container pools

Container Storage pools are more efficient than tape pools. Being native object storage, they do not need expensive tape reclamation tasks, they are space efficient and they are more scalable. Spectrum Protect 8.1 (SP 8.1 from now on) now provides an automated utility that selects data from your tape pools and moves it to container pools in a non-disruptive fashion.
There is no extra charge for this function, it is included with the base software. Data that is move to container storage pools uses inline data deduplication, LZ4 inline compression and server side encryption.

SP 8.1 also introduces a couple of enhancements to container pools:
It is possible to make a tape copy of a container pool
It is possible to run protection and reclamation operations independently

Enhanced Virtualization support

SP 8.1 continues to build on the VMware backup experience, with the following enhancements
The new VMware plugin design should be familiar to VMware experts and make it easier for them to manage their own VM backups.
VMware tagging has been introduced, which simplifies including or excluding VMs, and allows specific disks to be included or excluded, and for application protection to be enabled as required.
Policy setting for data retention and schedules is part of the vSphere Web Client interface.
It should be easier to monitor backups, and backup history via the vSphere interface
It should be much easier to run restores through the VSphere interface.

One issue with the older TSM clients was the time it took to backup those massive VMs. VMDKs up to 8TB are now supported, with increased maximum parallelism for both backups and restores to speed them up.

Snapshot Support

Windows VSS snapshots made using SVC based arrays can now be mounted as RO, RW persistent and RW non-persistent. SP 8.1 can use these snapshots to speed up and simplify SQL Server and Exchange restores, without the need to restore a full database.

SP 8.1 allows you to automatically mount a persistent snapshot of an Exchange database, then quickly copy over any required items. This is much faster than the old method, which required a database restore.

You can attach a snapshot of a SQL Server database for a granular restore. Other snapshot improvements for databases include
Unix snapshots of DB2 databases can perform parallel processing in non-SAP environments, can clone to non-default DB2 storage groups and can clone targets with fewer system resources.
Snapshot for Oracle disk support has been enhanced to allow single partition, multiple partition or a combination.
SVC snapshots now support allocation of remote mirrors

Node Registration and LDAP Authentication

With SP 1.7 and previous TSM releases, when you registered a node, an Administrator userid with the same name as the node was created automatically. SP 7.1.7 then introduced some extra LDAP authentication which included creating a single LDAP ID that was made up by combining the node name and Administrator ID. This in turn meant that automatic password changes could change the password twice and then the administrator ID lost its password. With SP 8.1, the REGISTER NODE command will not create an Adminstrator ID by default, which resolves the LDPA Authentication issue. If you want an administrator ID for each node, then you have to use REGISTER NODE nodename USERID=adminid, but if you also use integrated mode for LDAP Authentication, then ensure that the Administrator ID is not the same as the NODENAME.

IBM SP Space Manager

SP Space Manager is a heirachical storage management tool that automatically moves data between storage tiers, depending on its current value and the speed ahnd cost of the pool. Faster storage is always more expensive. SP 8.1 improves performance in a LINUX/UNIX environment, especially when recalling large numbers of files.
Space management on Windows is also improved with GUI enhancements for searching the filespace and improved performance during migrations.

Server OS Support

You can run an SP 8.1 backup server on IBM AIX, Linux on System z, Linux on x86_64 or on Windows.
Support for HP-UX, Oracle Solaris and Linux on Power systems has been discontinued.

SP 8.1 comes with DB2 v11.1 installed as a database repository, compared to DB2 10.5 in previous versions. You can ugrade your v6.3 and all v7 servers direct to SP 8.1

Client OS Support

MS Windows 2016 is supported, for backup/archive, Hyper-V, Oracle, SQL and Exchange clients.
Ubuntu 16.04 and 14.04 is supported for Backup and Archive clients on x86 and Linux on Power.
IBM AIX 7.2 Data protection for Oracle is supported, as is:
Data Protection for VMware cooperative application support for MS SQL Server 2016
Parallel synch mode for non-SAP DB2 databases
Partitioned ASM disks
Cloning for DB2 Storage Groups
Data Protection configuration for Oracle clients has been automated
Data Protection for SAP HANA now supports multiple-container configurations, with better parallel streaming for restores.

Other Enhancements

SP 8.1 secures communication for servers, clients and storage agents by enabling the Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 protocol. TLS 1.2 provides a higher level of secirity than previous TLS levels
System Monitoring using SNMP has been discontinued, you should use the Operations Centre for monitoring and tracking.

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