Have you played around with IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager on Windows yet? If not, maybe it's time to take a look.
When you think of FlashCopy Manager, think of snapshots. FlashCopy Manager provides fast application-aware backups and restores leveraging advanced snapshot technologies. I have been writing software as a developer for IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for almost 20 years now and this technology is one that is changing the industry. Yes, snapshots have been around for a while, but it isn't until the last few years that applications are really starting to embrace them, and in some cases, even require them for their backup needs. There is just too much data to process, too much overhead to back them up, and too little time. People want their applications to serve email and provide access to database tables, not spend their precious cycles on backups. FlashCopy Manager helps address these issues.
FlashCopy Manager follows up on the heels of IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Copy Services (TSM for CS) which provided snapshot support for Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange Server using Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). The really cool thing is that you do not need to have a TSM Server in order to use FlashCopy Manager to manage your snapshots. It will work completely stand-alone if you want. But, if you have a TSM Server already, you can use it to extend the power of FlashCopy Manager even more.
What is VSS? VSS is Microsoft's snapshot architecture. It provides the infrastructure for applications, storage vendors, and backup vendors to be able to perform snapshots in a federated and efficient way. Microsoft thinks VSS and snapshots are important enough to require any new software releases that come out of Redmond to be able to be backed up and restored using VSS. If you are running Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft SQL Server, you should take a look at snapshots. Microsoft has been supporting snapshots with Exchange and SQL for years, but Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is kicking it up a notch. Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is only supporting backups through VSS. Yes, you heard it right, Microsoft does not support legacy style (streaming) backups with Exchange Server 2010. So, if you are planning a move to Exchange Server 2010, it really behooves you to start looking at Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), how it works, and the benefits and complexities it brings with it.
Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is complex and involves multiple moving parts. It will pay for you to invest some time to understand more about it. I have put together some links that will help you get started:
- How Volume Shadow Copy Service Works
- IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager on Windows
- Using Tivoli Storage Manager for performing VSS operations
- Redbook: Using IBM Tivoli Storage Manager to Back Up Microsoft Exchange with VSS
- Redbook: Backing up Microsoft SQL Server with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager
- IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager Tutorial from the TSM Guru's blog
I encourage you to take a look at Windows VSS snapshots and FlashCopy Manager to see how they might help you. Enjoy!