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IBM Spectrum Protect Room for Improvement

Mark Torpy - PeerSpot reviewer
Data Protection Specialist at Tech Mahindra Limited

It is not easy to manage like other products in the market. It is okay only if you are command-line driven. Even though the operation center is there, it doesn't provide a single view of everything. You have to, for example, use TSMManager on top of it, which gives you a far better management capability, but it is a third-party product. Its management needs to be improved. There should be an HTML or graphical interface. 

It is a very difficult product. For example, you have a backup policy where you want a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly policy standard. It is an old kind of system where you have to keep retention for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly backups, which is very difficult in IBM Spectrum Protect. In other products, in a matter of five minutes, you can configure such a policy. In TSM, it takes you one, two, or three days because you need to configure a node for each of them. If you have 250 nodes, you have to configure each node for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly retention. If you have 1,000 nodes, it is going to take you ages just to configure and register the nodes. You need to configure the schedule and the CAD daemons or services, depending on whether it is a Unix or Windows OS. Unfortunately, it is a very long and drawn-out process. You have to stop and start the services for changes to take effect. This is a very difficult part of TSM in IBM Spectrum Protect.

To configure a backup policy, I should be able to select the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly options in one screen and finish it. After that, everything should happen in the background. All the backup products in the market already do that, and they are very simple to manage. This particular part of this solution has really been a major pain area for us, and unfortunately, we could not find a workaround. There is nobody at IBM who can give us a way to configure all this easily through a GUI or even scripts.

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Engineer at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

The reporting could be better. There's not a complete solution for reporting; however, there is a solution that allows you to write SQL queries. This way, you can explore the databases with metadata and get the reports that you want. Still, that's not an out-of-the-box solution, it's just a tool that allows you to write queries as you need. There is a steep learning curve for that.

I would also love to see more agents and solutions devoted to backing up other workloads, especially in regard to non-traditional databases.

The licensing can be a pain to manage. There is a tool that can provide you with automated reports regarding how much licensing you're using, but sometimes it's not accurate. You need to contact an IBM representative in order to get the correct information. 

Traditionally, there has been a Spectrum Protect for Virtual Environments module that allows you to protect virtualized environments; however, it's not easy to use. It's very complex. In this case, my advice is to leverage Spectrum Protect Plus, which is the newest addition to the portfolio to back up both virtualized and modern workloads and works very well.

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Unix and Storage Administrator at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees

IBM Spectrum Protect does have a lot of the features that we need, but I think they need to improve their backup virtualization and backup for container. But overall, they meet the requirements and they're okay.

In terms of what I would like to see in the next release, I think better reporting. Today the reporting lacks some of the features, interface, et cetera. If they increased that reporting and made it user friendly, it will be good.

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Buyer's Guide
IBM Spectrum Protect
September 2022
Learn what your peers think about IBM Spectrum Protect. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
633,572 professionals have used our research since 2012.
AIX System Administration at a construction company with 1,001-5,000 employees

The pricing is a bit high. It would be ideal if it was more affordable.

Generally, everything is changing so fast within the product, it's hard to pinpoint what needs to be changed or what is missing. The solution is constantly evolving.

It would be helpful if the solution included some sort of ransomware protection.

The only thing that I haven't tried yet is using it with VMware. I haven't done any tests on it. Let's say that I want to restore a VM, virtual machine, and I would like to access it in a short period of time. This is something that Veeam, for example, is doing. Veeam will permit you to start a VM and start working with it and restore only what is needed to do a prompt work. If it's possible to have the same functionality on this product, that would be ideal.

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Senior Storage Architect at a computer software company with 201-500 employees

The solution has a Spectrum Protect Plus product, which is more for Windows-only VM. However, it doesn't really do tape. It requires IBM to do things to the Cloud, which adds costs. They're starting to integrate the products together. That said, right now, it's like two implementations, it's not one product.

We've tried to sell Protect Plus from time to time, however, then you need Protect if you want to do tape. It's kind of clunky. Once they integrate the products, it will be pretty powerful.

Spectrum Protect is still an industry-leading product across multiple operating systems. It still runs best on an AIX server and does remember Windows or Linux. The install base is more AIX as far as hosts because the AIX server is more powerful.

They should be able to integrate the products so that you don't have to do two system installs.

The solution should have a better way to deal with the system state files in Windows. They should do that better where it doesn't try to walk the file system and you have to use in image mode.

The experienced people still use the CLI. You shouldn't have to use a CLI to use this product.

They took some of the funding off of it for a while. Therefore, instead of being a market leader, they took their position for granted. Then some competitors developed new bells and whistles that they advertise, and due to that lag a few years ago, there are not the resources to explain the differences.

They're outsold. IBM is outsold because people do not understand the product and it had a reputation of being complex.  That said, with the new GUIs and other improvements, it's really pretty easy. The problem is they've got to deal with their old reputation of being difficult and complex. Still the GUI could still be more robust.

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Spectrum Protect/TSM Specialist at a computer software company with 501-1,000 employees

They are behind on many things, especially security. They are catching up a little bit now, but the competitors are doing better security-wise. There should be malware detection and prevention and higher security.

The ease of use also needs improvement. There are many products that are easier to use than Spectrum Protect. It is quite complex to manage, and you need an experienced administrator to manage it, whereas other products are easier to get into. You can have somebody with less experience managing them.

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Tomas-Dalebjörk - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Architect at CGI

Replication services would be nice. If these could be enhanced to be always on so multiple storage backup services could be added as a cluster pool. This would provide a better availability service.

It would be great if the API could add functions to check storage pool details using the client-side API.

It would be great if there would be an API to add new licenses using the client-side API so the licenses can be reviewed using QUERY LICENSE. Then, new licenses could be added using the REGISTER LICENSE command.

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Spectrum Protect Specialist at a computer software company with 201-500 employees

The solution is used to support newer client types for backup for cloud-based software as a service, mail as a service, things like that, and hyper-converged systems. That's what they intended Spectrum Protect Plus for. They need to make sure it continues to cater to these clients.

The solution needs to work on disaster recovery integration. Basically, VMware applications to the cloud, for example. There needs to be integration with the storage, and integration with VMware. 

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Storage administrator at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees

It can be improved for large file systems with many files. Spectrum Protect can restore large files very well, but if you're restoring millions of little files, it is not as great.

At one point, we tried to implement the VMware module with it, and it was awful and terrible. I don't know if that has improved. If it hasn't, this would be one big improvement.

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Engineer at a tech services company with 1-10 employees

The usability of IBM Spectrum Protect could be improved, specifically additional features to the product in the operations center. Additional reporting facilities and stronger reporting tools such as build dashboards would be beneficial. The tool should allow you to write SQL queries to get the information as it is not easy for entry users to retrieve some reports.

I would also value a comprehensive mass deployment solution for clients that would provide an automated method for deploying agents across a large environment, not only for Windows, but also for AIX and Linux. This would reduce the time required to deploy the tool.

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Systems Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees

IBM Spectrum Protect could be improved by making the installation easier. Once it's implemented, it's okay. 

IBM started lagging behind when things started moving to storage and cloud-based solutions. Even though they've recently released updates that give cloud-based protection, personally, I still believe they are not up to par with the likes of Rubrik

The entire product is a little bit clumsy because they have co-joined two different products, so it's complex. Even from a sales/explaining to people what it does point of view, it's complex. Whereas, if you take more current products, it's a single box solution. You reel it in, you fire it up, you do a couple of points and clicks, and off you go, whereas the IBM system is seriously complex. There's a lot of training involved and it's a massively difficult product to sell at this point in time. 

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Manager - Storage & Backup at a pharma/biotech company with 10,001+ employees

Its management part can be better and simplified. It is kind of a beast as compared to Commvault or Veeam, but they are more user-friendly. They are also easier to learn, whereas Spectrum Protect definitely takes time. They should simplify it. Our teams are pretty comfortable with it because we have been using it for a long time, but from the perspective of a new user who is evaluating or using this solution, it is definitely more complex in terms of manageability.

Its monitoring could be improved so that it can even monitor the jobs that are scheduled by external schedulers. There are situations where a database team might decide to use their own schedulers, but currently, Spectrum Protect is not able to catch those jobs in the Operation Manager console.

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IT Analyst at a educational organization with 5,001-10,000 employees

We've noticed that restoring massive number of files is a time-consuming process and should be improved. We found a way to deal with it by using the 'no query restore' where the restore operation is done on more than one thread and is restartable as opposed to the 'query restore' which is a single thread process. The 'no query restore' needs setting a few parameters for the node in order increase the number of resources that will be used by the restore process.
In addition, we've found that this is not the best solution for backup and restore of virtual machines. Even with Spectrum Protect for Virtual Environment which could be improved a lot. I believe they're working on that with the new product Spectrum Protect Plus.

Finally, the licensing is complicated and could be simplified.

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AIX System Administration at a construction company with 1,001-5,000 employees

We need better protection from ransomware or the ability to identify ways we can protect ourselves from ransomware. Having backups is one thing, but specifically, we need methods to recover if we have a ransomware attack. If we could find a way to detect and alert us if specific data has been encrypted (except the ones we choose), that would be a good selling point.

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Lead Engineer Storage at a computer software company with 201-500 employees

Generally, the implementation of virtualization could be improved. The workflow service and so on are not working properly. They have another solution, Spectrum Protect Plus, however, for me, that is a new product. They invented a new product for virtual environments as they didn't succeed in integrating it into the former solution. For me, Spectrum Protect Plus, and Spectrum Protect are not the same product. It's not a new feature for Spectrum Protect, it is just a new thing. Therefore, we assessed IBM was not able to provide a good solution for virtual environments. Therefore, we decided to use Veeam for that.

The initial setup is quite complex.

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Solutions Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The solution is quite outdated compared with others and I feel IBM to be lagging a step or two behind other vendors. 

We have received user complaints about the user interface. There is a need to manage a monitor and it can sometimes be exceedingly difficult to manage the internal TSM Spectrum Protect database. 

As a general rule, things should be updated. I do not manage too many customers who still utilize IBM, perhaps only one or two. 

While the installation is, overall, pretty straightforward, we must make certain that the requirements are met before we begin the process. 

In respect of stability, while IBM is very good because of the maturity of its products, which function well for the current environment, there are certain features I find lacking. It is stable, but old. 

When it comes to technical support, we must occasionally collect the log and we find the process to be layered. This makes it problematic to get the support we need from level two, since level one support basically consists of a call center, something which is more useful for end users than integrators and which is time consuming, as well. 

The solution tends to be hard to monitor and control and the user interface should be addressed. So too, the environment and the queries are not user-friendly. 

The most important feature which I wish to be added involves the GUI, the user interface. The solution should have more features and a more powerful GUI, equal to the command-line, as we occasionally are unable to configure it through the GUI and must resort to command-line prompting. 

The solution is not geared toward one who lacks a dedicated manager of his backup infrastructure, usually involving the command-line interface. This can make it quite challenging. We occasionally have to configure our minutes or make a mass configuration using the command-line, as opposed to the GUI. 

IBM is pretty challenging when it comes to scalability, since the bigger the environment, the greater the TSM database, especially in respect of long term retention. Sometimes our customers require permanent backup retention and this increasingly enlarges the size of the solution's database, making things hard to manage. 

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Business consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

The user interface could be better. It could be more intuitive or more user-friendly.

The initial setup is complex.

It's not a good option for smaller companies. It can be a bit expensive.

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Manager at a university with 10,001+ employees

The high availability of the backup servers can be improved because we can replicate nodes, but the software is very complicated. It's very complicated to do backups in several clusters.

You have to do a lot of configurations to build a server, and you would need to backup and restore.

To go to new hardware, it's a project because you would need to do tests of the backup and restoration of the  DB2 database. A lot of time would need to be spent.

There are lots of configuration issues.

I think it would be good if they could improve the self service of the users.

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Storage Administrator at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees

Their plans need to be upgraded. It's a 1.0 and needs to be taken to a 1.4. Other solutions have more; Veeam for example, has 2.0, as well as Cohesity, and CommonVault.

When it comes to virtualization in IBM, it's not perfect.

We are going to switch from IBM to Veeam because Veeam is more accommodating to virtual environments. You can restore your Active Directory or your object to your group policy with Veeam.

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Hugo Badenhorst - PeerSpot reviewer
Backup Administrator at a insurance company with 5,001-10,000 employees

The solution requires organizations to purchase an extra license to go to the cloud. I've got a limitation of going to the cloud. I don't want to pay more. It gets expensive.

There needs to be a bit more automation.

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Muhammad Akmal - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior IT infrastructure admin at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

This solution itself protects the data, but the solution itself should be recoverable quickly in case of disaster on the production side or something. So this solution is not mature in terms of disaster recovery and could be improved. The architecture of the solution needs more flexibility.

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Harp Dhonsi - PeerSpot reviewer
Director at Q Pro Solutions

It does what we need it to do, but it could be better with VM backups. It could be better integrated with virtual machines or VM backups, but that's why they have their Plus out now. Plus version is more geared toward VM backups. The regular version is more for endpoint clients. 

Its licensing and pricing could be improved. Its licensing is complicated, and it is an expensive solution.

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Co-Founder -Technical Director at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

IBM could improve by decluttering its product lines. There are too many clients, too many names, and overall too many products. They have to decide for the virtual environments, are they going to stick with Spectrum Virtual Environment or Spectrum Protect Plus? They have to decide on this, a final decision. IMB is trying to catch up with Veeam but they have to declutter a lot of products or sub-products that they have.

In a future release, it would be a benefit to have the ability to add an application as a storage target, as a storage pool. Additionally, they should add more functionality to the administration for the Operation Center.

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Wira Chinwong - PeerSpot reviewer
Service Director at scsi co.,ltd

You need to use command line rather than the console. It would be better if users didn't have to use command line in order to use the solution.

Technical isn't so great. It's a bit slow in terms of response. They need to get back to their users a lot faster.

The licensing isn't very clear. They should work to simply or clarify the cost structure.

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CTO at a educational organization with 5,001-10,000 employees

The software is complex.

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Mohamed Youssef - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Pre-Sales Engineer at Advanced Technology Company

It's difficult in terms of the configuration at set up. In our case, it required another admin, one person dedicated to the backup.

Compared with others, the pricing is high.

There needs to be some sort of personalization within the environment. We cannot back up a shared storage desk through Spectrum.

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Unique Storage and Backup Engineer at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

I find the solution somewhat difficult to use with virtual environments or VMware. 

The ability to schedule myVM on operation center should be addressed. 

Setting up the server is not easy; really difficult, in fact. It requires some skill sets. 

Automation should be added in the next release.

It is difficult for the Windows team, as it cannot make use of the solution. 

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IT Infrastructure and Architecture Manager at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees

They can include more cloud-enriching features. I would like IBM Spectrum Protect to have the functionality for backing up a VM directly in Azure. I would like to back up a VM directly in Azure without spinning up a Hyper-V cluster and backing up the virtual server. 

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IT Infrastructure Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

Its price can be better. It is very expensive. 

Its interface is very old and not user friendly. They can improve its interface.

Their support can also be better. My clients are not very satisfied with the support because they are not really quick. 

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Sr. Consultant, pSeries & Open Systems at Glasshouse Systems

The solution could be more user-friendly and provide better monitoring. The monitoring should be improved first since it is a higher priority.

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Director at Magnamious Systems Pvt. Ltd.

It has a lot of areas for improvement. Its reporting for job completion or incompletion can be improved. It should also provide a granular recovery, ease of operation, data life cycle management, and media management. 

It should support a backup in such a format that in case of a disaster, one can start the virtual machine out of the backup itself. Its reliability can also be better. It is also expensive, and their support is also poor. 

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manager technique at a consumer goods company with 10,001+ employees

In terms of what could be improved, the integration with Cloud and a simplified, unified GUI. They do not have a unified GUI, they only work on CLI and operations center, which is really complicated for the installation and configuration.

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Thiago Souza - PeerSpot reviewer
Solutions Architect at Net Place

The installation process could be simplified. However, the tool is comprehensive and if the installation is too easy, then the tool itself will be too simple as well. I do not see any pain points. The only issue I see is the pricing, it is expensive.

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Anower H  Mozumder - PeerSpot reviewer
Service Delivery Manager at Thakral

We did not see any drawbacks to IBM Spectrum Protect before assisting a customer using Windows that wanted to migrate to using UNIX. IBM Spectrum Protect does not offer an option to migrate from other operating systems.

There are some drawbacks to load replication as well. On their site, you only have the option to restore a backup. You cannot download it. That is a limitation.

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Lead Engineer Storage at a computer software company with 201-500 employees

I need two separate solutions for virtual and physical systems. I need IBM Spectrum Protect Plus for virtual systems and Spectrum Protect for physical systems and that's a pain. It would be an improvement if they were combined.

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Albert Hernaus - PeerSpot reviewer
Storage Consultant at E-Storage

The solution should have better integration with VMware and with IBM Spectrum Protect Plus. 

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Beat Halter - PeerSpot reviewer
Head of Cloud & Systems at Abraxas Informatik AG

This is quite an expensive solution so I'd like to see the cost reduced. Technical support could be improved. 

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Technology Analyst at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees

Their support is not as strong as most of the products.

It should have the ability to break down the data that's being backed up. It should have better reporting.

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Don Hwata - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Systems Engineer at a marketing services firm with 1-10 employees

In terms of features, they've got it all covered. The features they have are quite good. The only downside to it is that it is for an enterprise or big organization. In my opinion, it is not for a small business. 

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Alexander Heindl - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior System Engineer at Generali

Replication of data could be improved and made a little easier to use. 

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Wira Chinwong - PeerSpot reviewer
Service Director at scsi co.,ltd

The main admin console from the UI cannot do anything in the product. It just allows us to maintain, maybe, 30% to 40%. For the rest, we have to use the command line. I think the management console could be improved.

The initial setup is very complex.

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Individual Contributor at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees

I think Spectrum Protect's interface is not so user-friendly, but the interface is not so friendly. Some of the functions are too complicated. I prefer a simpler solution.

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Chief Manager HSSE at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees

An area for improvement would be the ease of use - the GUI is not up to the mark compared to other products in the market. IBM should also move on from the mainframe mindset and evolve so that configuration does not need to be done via the command line.

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Sr Systems engineer at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees

They should introduce more features for virtualization platforms and backing up IBMs. Backup speeds should also be improved. 

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Buyer's Guide
IBM Spectrum Protect
September 2022
Learn what your peers think about IBM Spectrum Protect. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2022.
633,572 professionals have used our research since 2012.