Why Tivoli Storage Manager Works For Enterprise

. Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dear visitors, today I have great honor to present a new Bored Sysadmin's blog Author - Pauly "SAN Man". With years of experience in IT industry and awesome sense on humor Pauly will be great addition to this blog.

For those of you in the industry with more than 50 servers and multiple tape drives, consider this read. TSM by IBM (IBM) may not be the easiest software in the industry, but it is the most robust and fully capable enterprise backup solution on the market today, in my humble, yet professional opinion.

For someone who has used Symantec(SYMC), Veritas, CA (CA), & HP (HPQ) Backup, making the transition to TSM was a pretty easy one for me. I have a pretty strong background with command line from my Cisco (CSCO) background making it that much easier to use. For those of you that don't have a strong yearning for command line and like the GUI, fear not; IBM does have an Integrated Solutions Console which only runs in Windows. For all of you strong command liners out there, TSM is a no brainer.

Running TSM on a platform that fits your line of business needs is just easy. You can choose so many flavors of OS including Windows, AIX, Linux, etc. There is an entire laundry list of compatible hard so it's pretty much a guarantee that TSM will attach to it. Although it never hurts to check: http://www-306.ibm.com/software/sysmgmt/products/support/IBMTivoliStorageManager.html

Whether it be a single tape drive library all the way up to hundreds of drives or silos, TSM is the way to go for industry's most tested and tried DR software. Using the storage pools for both on and off site backup only further enable your ability to not only rapidly recover small files from user error, but to recover from a disaster of epic proportions.

Just to give an example without giving away all of my secrets, I work for the State of North Dakota. Housed in Bismarck, we have our large data center where 95% of our hardware is located. The TSM servers, tape library, and storage pools sit across the Missouri River 10 miles away in another data center connected via 10Gbps fiber.

Of course you have to gauge these needs based on your geographic location. Here in North Dakota, we have to worry about tornadoes and on the even rarer occasion, a possible 100 year flood.

Every night our servers dump to the storage pools where the data is retained based on the polices set by the various state departments. The storage pools migrate to tape, then reduced to keeping 1 copy in the storage pool, 1 copy on-site tape, and 1 copy off-site tape. One of the great advantages about TSM is the incremental forever backup idea. You backup everything that has changed and if it never changes, it never gets copied to tape again saving space in storage pools and space on tape. In TSM you can Collocate your data on the same set of tapes making for even faster restores. IE: Yhe tapes for file & print servers are all located in the same general group of tapes.

Another great advantage of TSM is it's sheer security. If you don't have a copy of the database, a lost tape is completely useless to it's finder. There is no catalog information stored on the tapes, only raw data.

Of course this leads us to the 2 biggest disadvantages:

Guard your TSM database with your life. Have 3 copies of it AT ALL TIMES! If you loose your database, you don't restore, EVER!

Another huge disadvantage is the sheer administration fact. While TSM has many dedicated and automated tasks built in, it still takes a full time administrator. You can't expect to just push the TSM server into the corner and never touch it again. You must continually work at it, monitor it, etc.

Giving you a basic overview on TSM was indeed my pleasure today and if you have any questions, please email me: paschumacher@nd.gov Happy Blogging! Pauly "San Man"


IBM Tivoli Storage Manager