Application-aware snapshots for IBM Storage

Something strange has happened. IBM’s Tivoli group has produced some low-priced high-value storage software that’s easy to understand and easy to use! FlashCopy Manager provides fast application-aware backups and restores, leveraging the snapshot features of IBM storage systems.

FCM is the approx equivalent of Netapp’s SnapManager. It’s interesting to compare FCM’s licensing model to SnapManager’s since SnapManager is the market leader.

As best I can tell, the typical Netapp components are:

  • SnapManager server running on Windows, licensed either per host or per filer
  • SnapDrive host agent running on an app server (e.g. Exchange, Oracle etc) licensed per host
  • Sometimes SnapRestore and FlexClone (e.g. required for SnapManager for Oracle), lic’d per filer
  • Sometimes Protection Manager (also req’d for SM for Oracle) lic’d and running on another Windows Server

I haven’t had a lot of contact with customers using these features but I am assured by the IBM N Series Product Manager that it sells well and customers like it.

For IBM Storage solutions other than N Series (Netapp) the Tivoli FlashCopy Mgr licensing model is a little simpler:

  • FCM server app is licensed per TiB of source volume to be protected
  • FlashCopy licensed for: SVC (per TiB), DS8000 (per whole box TB), DS3/4/5000 (per disk system). FlashCopy is standard on XIV so doesn’t need to be licensed.

FlashCopy Manager provides MS Exchange users with:

  • Snapshot restore of Microsoft Exchange storage groups
  • File copy restore of a storage group or database from a mounted snapshot image. Restore into a recovery storage group, alternate storage group, or relocated storage group
  • File copy restore of transaction logs from incremental or differential backups

FCM provides individual mailbox and mail item restores of Microsoft Exchange 2007 servers from a snapshot backup.  Specifically, the following granular Microsoft Exchange restore capabilities are provided:

  • Single or multiple user mailbox support
  • Restore selectable based on user name and date and time specification
  • Recovery of:
  1. Inbox, deleted items, and drafts
  2. Outbox, sent items, journal, and calendar
  3. Contacts, notes, tasks, and user folders
  • Limit the scope of items to be restored based on filters such as sender name, subject texts, attachment name, folder name, message delivery date and time range, message body, and all content (searches subject text, message body, and attachment names)
  • Recovery into the production Microsoft Exchange server into the original mailbox or alternate mailbox and folder
  • Recovery into a .PST file

FlashCopy Manager provides SQL users with:

  • Snapshot restore of a full database backup
  • File copy restore of a full database from a mounted snapshot image to an alternate database name or an alternate location.

FlashCopy Manager provides Oracle, DB2 and/or SAP users with:

  • Snapshot backup and restore of a full database

FCM has also effectively obsoleted TSM for Copy Services (VSS) & TSM for Advanced Copy Services (Oracle) which were dependent on TSM. FCM has no dependency on TSM.

FlashCopy Manager is a new product and support is currently limited to AIX and Windows. I’m told there are plans to extend that soon, as well as adding additional features.

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One Response

  1. […] This leads us towards products that provide app-aware snaps on your production systems e.g. Netapp’s SnapManager family, and IBM’s Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager about which I have previously blogged. […]

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