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IBM Bulks Up Data Protection

Vendor aims its Tivoli Storage Manager at Windows-based CDP

By James Rogers, Byte and Switch

IBM has added flesh to the bones of the data protection technology it acquired when it bought Israeli startup FilesX for a rumored $90 million earlier this year, overhauling its Windows CDP story.

“We’re now able to announce IBM’s branded versions of the FilesX technology,” says Rich Vining, product manager for the vendor’s Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) software, explaining that the startup’s Xpress Restore is no more. “The new product name will be TSM FastBack.”

TSM FastBack now performs CDP for Windows, whereas, previously, TSM could only perform Windows backups once a day.

“There are [also] some tweaks here and there to improve the integration with TSM,” says Vining. “It’s to improve the ability of TSM to kick off backups for data protection.”

FilesX competes with Symantec, Availl, and Double-Take, which bought CDP specialist TimeSpring last year, and is now part of IBM’s long-term strategy to extend the reach of TSM.

The vendor is aiming TSM FastBack at two main target markets: remote offices and mid-market companies where TSM is typically not deployed.

”It’s an enterprise-class product [but] FilesX will push it more into the mid-market,” explains Vining.

At least one analyst thinks that this could indeed open the door to remote office CDP.

”FilesX has been used by small-to-medium sized companies, primarily, and some of their larger customers use them for remote office backups,” says Noemi Greyzdorf, research manager at IDC. “So this could now be an integrated component of TSM."

IBM is putting TSM FastBack up against Symantec’s Backup Exec and Microsoft’s Data Protection Manager (DPM), although there are some big differences between the offerings.

IDC’s Greyzdorf defines DPM as a less mature offering than TSM FastBack, thanks largely to the latter’s "instant recovery" feature. “It’s almost instant recovery of data for applications used in the Windows environment,” she says.

Symantec Backup Exec, on the other hand, can handle both Linux and Windows backups, whereas FastBack is a Windows-focused offering.

TSM FastBack, which will be available in mid-August, is priced on a per-server basis, although this depends on the size of the server and whether additional services are used.

”It’s going to range from $800 per server to $3000 per server,” says Vining, explaining that four FastBack options are available.

In addition to the basic version of the software, IBM also has a FastBack offering for protecting Microsoft Exchange data, and a bare machine recovery edition. An all-singing, all-dancing version, called FastBack Center, combines the different offerings.

IBM’s Vining promised that support will continue for FilesX’s 100-strong list of Xpress Restore customers in the U.S. and Israel, but was unwilling to divulge specific timeframes.

"[It’s] at least until the end of their maintenance contracts, and then they will be encouraged to move," he says.

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  • Availl Inc.
  • Double-Take Software Inc. (Nasdaq: DBTK)
  • FilesX Inc.
  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)
  • IDC
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)
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