Tuesday, August 5, 2008

FastBack backup service to move beyond Windows, says IBM

IBM will also offer its FastBack enterprise-class backup service not for just Windows but for other operating environments over time, according to a company product manager in an interview with BetaNews.

John Conner, an IBM product manager for both TSM and TSM FastBack, wasn't able to specify which platforms yet when talking with us. "But we're looking at Linux, Solaris, and AIX, for instance," noted Conner, who is product manager for both TSM and TSM FastBack.

IBM's TSM (Tivoli Storage Manager) FastBack is its new storage back-up product based on technology obtained through its FilesX acquisition. The company released FastBack only 90 days after its acquisition of FilesX in April during a recent storage company buying spree. Enabled with continuous data protection (CDP) and file-level blocking, FastBack is designed to provide managed back-up among both SMBs (small to medium-sized business) and distributed enterprises, Conner said.

He predicted that in enterprise settings, the product will be used right now largely for remotely administered implementations at branch offices.

Currently, TSM FastBack supports disk-enabled backup and "near-instant" recovery of Windows-based file servers and applications that include Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and IBM's DB2 database, for example.

FastBack replaces an earlier product from Tivoli, known as TSM Express, observed Lauren Whitehouse, a senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, in another interview.

"[But] TSM Express was a file-based, batch-style backup more reliant on tape media," the analyst told BetaNews. "There is nothing truly unique about FastBack. There are other solutions like it in the market. [Yet] IBM has a strong brand, worldwide channel, and large customer base that it can leverage with FastBack."

Conner told BetaNews that IBM Tivoli views EMC and Symantec as among its top competitors in the storage market. He added that IBM plans deeper integration for FastBack -- as well as for technology garnered through recent acquisitions of Diligent, Softek, and Arsenal Digital -- into IBM's TSM line-up.

"There could be other applications of FastBack -- such as in IBM BCRS's online backup solution, [based on the] acquisition of Arsenal Digital. Deduplication from Digilent could be applied," Whitehouse suggested, referring to a process in which multiple logical copies of files are represented by single physical copies. "Replication capabilities from Softek could be interesting," she added.

TSM FastBack can be purchased either alone or as part of the TSM FastBack Center, which also includes two related software products: Fastback for Microsoft Exchange, and FastBack for Bare Machine Recovery.

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