IBM Follows Through on Data Protection for SMBs

Just three months since it acquired continuous data protection (CDP) startup FilesX, IBM has rebranded its solution as IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) FastBack and began pushing its own version to market.

CDP, also known as continuous backup, has been growing in importance as a way for companies to better ensure their files are safeguarded. The process automates file backups each time a change is made, enabling offices to not only restore lost files, but also to reconstruct files as they appeared at any point in the past.

In particular, such offerings are lower-cost offerings aimed at helping small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) and remote locations — which typically lack dedicated IT staff deal with mounting storage concerns. “There is more data being distributed and companies want consistent data protection strategies,” said John Connor, product manager for TSM FastBack.

Big Blue said the ease of managing FastBack’s disk-based, block-level storage approach makes it suitable for small and remote offices that have little tech support. “This eliminates issues with backup windows and provides near-instant recovery,” Connor said.

FastBack, which IBM acquired earlier this year, also represents a second try on the technology, Lauren Whitehouse, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, said.

IBM initially had attempted to tweak its TSM top-end product to create a data protection tool tailored for small to midsized firms, called TSM Express. But it wasn’t a perfect approach, Whitehouse said. “They scaled down the comprehensive offering but the TSM Express really didn’t meet the need as it was still hefty to manage,” she added. Instead, the new FastBack offering “is the next generation of that approach.”

Still, for Big Blue, being able to swiftly integrate the product and assimilate it into its sales channel shows its proficiency at technology mergers, Whitehouse said. “They have the formula for taking in technology they acquire and getting it rolled out in an impressive time frame,” she added.

The new offering serves to build on IBM’s storage flagship, the venerable Tivoli Storage Manager. IBM also said the new FastBack offering, which has been melded into TSM, complements its CDP software for laptops and desktops, IBM Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files.

Along with FastBack, IBM also introduced FastBack for Microsoft Exchange and FastBack for Bare Machine Recovery, designed for system and server migrations. Together, the bundled components are sold as TSM FastBack Center.

While the suite is currently offered only for Windows platform, IBM has plans to develop additional versions, it said.

Adapted from

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