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IBM ProtecTIER: Optimized for Tivoli Storage Manager

Deduplication took the market by storm several years ago, and backup hasn’t been the same since. With the ability to eradicate duplicate data in duplication-prone backups, deduplication made it practical to store large amounts of backup data on disk instead of tape. In short order, a number of vendors marched into the market spotlight offering products with tremendous efficiency claims, great throughput rates, and greater tolerance for the too often erratic throughput of backup jobs that was a thorn in the side for traditional tape. Today, deduplicating backup storage appliances are a common site in data centers of all types and sizes.

But deduplicating data is a tricky science. It is often not as simple as just finding matching runs of similar data. Backup applications and modifications to data can sprinkle data streams with mismatched bits and pieces, making deduplication much more challenging. The problem is worst for Virtual Tape Libraries (VTLs) that emulate traditional tape. Since they emulate tape, backup applications use all of their traditional tape formatting. Such formatting is designed to compensate for tape shortcomings and allow faster and better application access to data on tape, but it creates noise for deduplication.

The best products on the market recognize this challenge and have built “parsers” for every backup application – technology that recognizes the metadata within the backup stream and enables the backup storage appliance to read around it.

In 2012, IBM introduced a parser for IBM’s leading backup application Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) in their ProtecTIER line of backup storage solutions. TSM has long had a reputation for a noisy tape format. That format enables richer data interaction than many competitors, but it creates enormous challenges for deduplication.

At IBM’s invitation, in November of 2012, Taneja Group Labs put ProtecTIER through the paces to evaluate whether this parser for the ProtecTIER family makes a difference. Our findings: Clearly it does; in our highly structured lab exercise, ProtecTIER looked fully poised to deliver advertised deduplication for TSM environments. In our case, we observed a reasonable 10X to 20X deduplication range for real world Microsoft Exchange data.


Publish date: 03/29/13

Storage for virtual servers getting smarter

New products designed from the ground up to specifically serve storage for virtual servers can offer dramatic savings in terms of dollars and the time spent managing storage.

  • Premiered: 03/03/14
  • Author: Taneja Group
  • Published: Tech Target: Search Virtual Storage
Topic(s): TBA VSAN TBA Taneja Group Labs TBA Technology Validation TBA TVS TBA VM TBA Tintri TBA VMstore TBA VMWare TBA HP TBA StoreVirtual VSA TBA SPBM TBA Virtualization TBA Storage TBA Automation