Cloud & Smarter Infrastructure Storage Blog
Delbert Hoobler 1000008PR6 email@example.com Tags:  exchange storage-software flashcopy tivoli storage-blog storage tsm snapshot storage-management 9 Comments 5,510 Visits
I wanted to share some information about an article that we just published with regards to backing up Exchange Server 2010.
Along with all the other new features of Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft introduced Database Availability Groups (DAGs). DAGs are part of the large focus that Microsoft put on High Availability and Site Resilience within Exchange Server 2010. DAGs allow you to have passive database copies (aka "replicas") that can serve as hot standbys for protection against machine failures, database failures, network failures, viruses, or other issues that may cause an access problem to a database.
DAGs are similar in function to Exchange Server 2007 Cluster Continuous Replication (CCR) replicas. However, they extend the capabilities even further. One of the key benefits that customers get when they use DAGs in their enterprise is the ability to completely offload backups from their production Exchange Servers. That means they can run all of their backups from a database copy instead of the production database so as not to impact their production Exchange servers. This enables the production Exchange Servers to spend their resources on doing what they know best, i.e. handling email and facilitating collaboration.
IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Mail : Data Protection for Exchange and IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager completely support backing up DAG passive database copies. Data Protection for Exchange and FlashCopy Manager also support using those backups to recover the production database as well as for recovering individual mailboxes and items. You can find more details in the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Mail: Data Protection for Microsoft Exchange Server Installation and User's Guide V6.1.2.
We just published an article (which includes a sample script) to help you automate backing up your Exchange Server 2010 DAG databases. We know that you will find this quite helpful in setting up your backup strategy:
Delbert Hoobler 1000008PR6 firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  storage-software tivoli storage storage-blog storage-management tsm 8 Comments 5,025 Visits
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:
I encourage you to take a look at Windows VSS snapshots and FlashCopy Manager to see how they might help you. Enjoy!
Sondra Ashmore 060000GRCD SASHMORE@US.IBM.COM Tags:  center xiv storage-blog tpc management system sspc productivity storage tivoli-storage-productivi... srm 3 Comments 1,502 Visits
I have been working in storage and storage management my entire career (which has been more years than I want to admit) and I was recently advised by a wise co-worker to start writing about it. Although blogging has been around for quite some time and has certainly increased in popularity in recent years, this is the first time I have braved this form of communication. I stared at a blank blinking cursor for inspiration and decided to write about one of my favorite storage products, the Tivoli Storage Productivity Center.
Several weeks ago IBM announced the new 4.2 release of Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. This release includes some interesting enhancements that I am excited to see in the product. One feature that has received a lot of buzz is the lightweight storage resource agents. TPC started down the path of lighter agents when they introduced a slimmer, but not completely lightweight version of the agents by moving from Java to C for enhanced performance. These new agents were limited to Windows, AIX, and Linux. The new 4.2 release added HP-UX and Solaris support as well as support for file and database-level management. The new release is backward compatible meaning that customers who want to continue using agents they set up previously can do so. New customers are no longer required to use the Common Agent Manager.
TPC 4.2 has introduced full support for XIV devices. TPC 4.1 did have toleration support for XIV (basic discovery and capacity information), but the new release you can provision, get performance information, and use the data path explorer for your XIV machine.
If you have TPC deployed on a System Storage Productivity Center (SSPC) can upgrade at any time. Customers buying a new SSPC machine after September 3, 2010 will automatically have TPC 4.2 pre-installed on the machine.
I could say a lot more about the new TPC 4.2 release, but instead I am going to point you to a wonderful blog entry that my colleague, Tony Pearson, wrote when the new release was announced. He provides some great insights about the new features in TPC 4.2.
Wow - I made it to the end of my first blog and I am beginning to understand why blogging has become so popular. I am starting to wonder why it took me so long to write my first blog?
Tiffeni Woodhams 270001Q08F WOODHAMS@US.IBM.COM Tags:  storage-software tsm ibmstorage tivoli silverstring storage business-partner tivoli-storage-manager bp partners 3 Comments 1,502 Visits
During Pulse 2010 in Las Vegas, I interviewed Alistair Mackenzie from Silverstring, an IBM Business Partner. Just last week Silverstring launched TSMagic; helping you understand your TSM estate like never before... See the news article for more information on TSMagic
Checkout the live video interview with Alistair:
Delbert Hoobler 1000008PR6 email@example.com Tags:  snapshot tivoli-storage-manager storage-blog flashcopy-manager storage-management flashcopy tsm ibmstorage storage tivoli ibmsoftware storage-software 2 Comments 1,931 Visits
I wanted to let everyone know that IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager for Windows Version 2.2.1 was just released!
In June of this year, I blogged about IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager version 2.2.0. I talked about how FlashCopy Manager 2.2 provides fast application-aware backups and restores leveraging advanced snapshot technologies. I also discussed how FlashCopy Manager on Windows 2.2.0 added new support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 as well as other enhanced performance and functionality.
We continue to add more functions and features to IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager. This past Friday (December 10th, 2010), IBM released IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager Version 2.2.1 with the following changes:
Updates Applicable to All Platforms
Updates Applicable to all FlashCopy Manager components that run on AIX, Linux, and Solaris
Updates Applicable to the FlashCopy Manager for Exchange Component
Updates Applicable to the FlashCopy Manager for SQL Component
For more details on the content of this Fix Pack, refer to the technote titled What's new in the Version 2.2.1 IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy® Manager Fix Pack.
For details on downloading this Fix Pack, refer to the technote titled Version 2.2.1: Fix Pack IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy® Manager.
Tiffeni Woodhams 270001Q08F WOODHAMS@US.IBM.COM Tags:  asset user automation usergroups usergroup storage maximo community tivoli group tuc security tivuser ug 2 Comments 1,041 Visits
Delbert Hoobler 1000008PR6 firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  tivoli storage-blog storage-software storage storage-management tsm flashcopy snapshot exchange 2 Comments 2,848 Visits
IBM just announced that Tivoli Storage Manager for Mail - Data Protection for Exchange 6.1.2 and IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager 2.2 now support Microsoft Exchange Server 2010! For more details, read the FlashCopy Manager Version 2.2 announcement or see my blog from yesterday.
There are a few important things to take note of. Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 included some significant changes, a number of which affect backup and restore. For example, under Exchange Server 2010:
With the release of Data Protection for Exchange version 6.1.2 and IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager version 2.2 on June 4, 2010, we have implemented support for these changes. Here are details about the TSM functionality for Exchange Server 2010 that will be available on June 4, 2010:
Note: VSS backups to the TSM Server are enabled without the requirement for a TSM for Copy Services or FlashCopy Manager license.
Tiffeni Woodhams 270001Q08F WOODHAMS@US.IBM.COM Tags:  storage ds5000 xiv hardware storage-management ibmstorage storage-blog o systems-storage midmarket software storage-software ds8000 sap 2 Comments 2,062 Visits
In the second half of 2009 the International Technology Group (ITG) was contracted to do a detailed analysis of IBM and competitive storage offerings for SAP to determine a three year total cost of ownership (TCO) for each product included in the comparison. ITG developed two comparisons one for Large Enterprist accounts and a second for Midmarket accounts and chose approppriate competitive offerings for the comparisons. For the Large Enterprise accounts ITG includes: EMC V-Max systems vs. IBM DS8000 Systems and HP XP2400 vs. IBM XIV Systems. For the Midmarket accounts ITG includes: HP Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) vs. IBM DS5000 Systems and HP EVA vs. IBM XIV Systems. ITG developed three year TCO comparisons and provided IBM an Executive summary and Detailed analysis report that can be share with customers.
Read the outcome of the analysis:
Title: Value Proposition for IBM System Storage Cost/Benefit Case for SAP Deployment in Midsize Installations - Executive Summary
Title: Value Proposition for IBM System Storage Cost/Benefit Case for SAP Deployment in Midsize Installations - Management Brief
Title: Value Proposition for IBM System Storage Cost/Benefit Case for SAP Deployment in Enterprise Installations - Executive Summary
Title: Value Proposition for IBM System Storage Cost/Benefit Case for SAP Deployment in Enterprise Installations - Management Brief
ITG also participated in a Webcast that is available for replay discussing the results of their studies of comparative disk systems cost for SAP environments in large and midsized organizations.
Tiffeni Woodhams 270001Q08F WOODHAMS@US.IBM.COM Tags:  storage-blog ibmtivoli ibmstorage information-infrastructur... storage pulse2010 tivoli dynamic-infrastructure pulse service-management ibm 2 Comments 1,434 Visits
In preparation for Pulse 2010 in Vegas, I interviewed John Connor, the Pulse track lead for Storage and Information Infrastructure, to help you generate good ideas for submitting your call for speaker abstracts for Pulse. John will actually be reviewing the submissions with a team of other folks, so here is some advice that you can leverage to increase your chances of being accepted to speak at Pulse.
Me: What are the hot topics in the area of storage and information infrastructure today?
John: The hot topics in the area of storage and information infrastructure today are how, in today's tight economy, customers are leveraging storage in their information infrastructure to improve scalability, addressing the performance of their storage management assets, cutting capital expenditures by reducing duplicate data to lower storage capacity needs and simplifying the overall management of their storage infrastructure.
Me: Which topics would you like to see presented at pulse are
John: Ideally I would like to see sessions at Pulse that highlight customer success stories, how Tivoli storage management and/or IBM storage solutions helped customers address the challenges we discussed above.
Me: Who are good candidates for submitting abstracts and why?
John: The best candidates to talk about these successes are the folks who implemented them, which would be our customers. Customers are able to discuss their return on investment and how the IBM storage solutions are benefiting them in their everyday business operations. Another good candidate would be our business partners, accompanying and co-presenting with their clients on the IBM storage solutions they've implemented.
Me: What are you looking for in a good proposal?
John: As I mentioned earlier about the topics I would like to see presented, a good proposal is a customer success story around IBM storage solutions, including Tivoli storage management software, and/or storage hardware and storage services. This proposal should describe the initial pain points or problems that existed, how our solutions helped and the lessons learned that could be applied to other customer situations. This type of proposal and session at Pulse will help others learn from each other.
Me: What are the benefits of submitting an abstract for Pulse?
John: Submitting your abstract is a great way to gain visibility for your work, and your particular solution. Customers that submit abstracts and that are selected will receive a complimentary pass to attend Pulse at no charge ($1,995 value) and admission to on site VIP client lounge. Attending Pulse is not only a great way to share your companys success by implementing IBM storage solutions, but it is also a great education and networking opportunity.
Me: What is the deadline for submitting call for speaker abstracts?
John: The deadline to submit your abstract is Nov. 20th. Dont delay, submit your proposal today.
With such great guidance from John, youre sure to write a perfect proposal. If you have any questions on submitting abstracts for Pulse or want feedback on an idea, just leave a blog comment. Also, be sure to check out this justification letter if you need that extra edge to convince your boss of the value of attending Pulse. I hope to see you there!
Ron Riffe 100000EXC7 email@example.com Tags:  pay-per-use self-service service-catalog virtual-storage storage cloud-storage storage-hypervisor 1 Comment 1,905 Visits
This is part 2 of a 3 part post on how somebody responsible for a private storage environment could save their company a pile of money by implementing cloud storage techniques. Part I introduced the concept of a storage hypervisor as a first step in transitioning traditional IT into a private cloud storage environment. In this 2nd post, I’m going to explain some of the key storage cloud management controls that can be used to drive down cost.
Storage services are standardized. When it comes to shopping, I avoid (at almost all costs) actually going to the store. You can keep all the time and frustration of traffic, fighting for a parking place, wondering aimlessly through aisles of choices, and standing in checkout lines. I’ll take the simplicity and speed of a good online catalog any day.
The idea of shopping from a catalog isn’t new and the cost efficiency it offers to the supplier isn’t new either. Public storage cloud service providers seized on the catalog idea quickly as both a means of providing a clear description of available services to their clients, and of controlling costs. Here’s the idea… I can go to a public cloud storage provider like Amazon S3, Nirvanix, Google Storage for Developers, or any of a host of other providers, give them my credit card, and get some storage capacity. Now, the “kind” of storage capacity I get depends on the service level I choose from their catalog. These folks each offer a small few different service level options. Amazon S3, for example, offers Standard Storage or Reduced Redundancy Storage (can you guess which one costs less?).
Most of today’s private IT environments represent the complete other end of the pendulum swing – total customization. Every application owner, every business unit, every department wants to have complete flexibility to customize their storage services in any way they want. This expectation is one of the reasons so many private IT environments have such a heavy mix of tier-1 storage. Since there is no structure around the kind of requests that are coming in, the only way to be prepared is to have a disk array that could service anything that shows up. Not very efficient… There has to be a middle ground.
Now, for each catalog entry, there are a variety of service levels that can be defined that cover things like capacity efficiency, I/O performance, data access resilience, and disaster protection. By this point you’re probably rolling your eyes because you know your application owners… and they’re going to want every byte of their data to have the highest available service in each of these areas (and you wonder why you have so much tier-1 storage). A little bit further into this post we’re going to talk about the wonder of usage-based chargeback, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For now, let’s assume you’re having a coherent conversation with your application owners and are able to define realistic needs for your database data. Maybe something like this…
From there, you’re back to the wizard. Actually defining the attributes of the catalog entry is a little mundane (lot’s of propeller head knobs and dials to turn), but once you’re done – you’re done! – and life get’s really efficient. So, let’s get the mundane stuff out of the way. First are the capacity efficiency and I/O performance attributes (be sure and notice that for “Database” we are telling the catalog we want virtual volumes – from a storage hypervisor. There will be a test in a paragraph or so :-)
Then the data access resilience attributes.
And finally the disaster protection attributes.
I told you it was a little mundane. But now come the exciting results that really drive cost out of the environment and save a huge amount of administrative time.
First is capital expense. You’re running mostly tier-1 disk arrays today. You have just finished defining the fifteen-ish catalog entries your company is going to use. Some, like “Database”, call for storage services that are often associated with tier-1 disk arrays. Most others don’t. With a little intelligent forecasting, you should be able to determine exactly how much tier-1 storage capability you really need, and how much lower-tier storage you can start using We’ve seen clients shift their mix from 70% tier-1 to 70% lower-tier storage (pretty significant capital expense shift). And if the thought of moving all that existing data from tier-1 to a lower tier makes you shudder, refer back to Part I of this post and look again at the data mobility provided by a good storage hypervisor (Test: did you notice that for “Database” we told the catalog we wanted virtual volumes – from a storage hypervisor…).
The second big savings is in operational expense (keep reading).
Here comes the request from an application owner for 500GB of new “Database” capacity (one of the options available in the storage service catalog) to be attached to some server. After appropriate approvals, the administrator can simply enter the three important pieces of information (type of storage = “Database”, quantity = 500GB, name of the system authorized to access the storage) and click the “Go” button (in TPC SE it’s actually a “Run now” button) to automatically provision and attach the storage. No more complicated checklists or time consuming manual procedures.
Storage is paid per use. It’s the little appreciated – but incredibly powerful tool in the quest to drive cost out of the environment. When end users are aware of the impact of their consumption and service level choices, they tend to make more efficient choices. Conversely (we all know what happens here), when there’s no correlation between service level choices and end user visibility to cost… well… you have a lot of tier-1 storage on the floor.
A chargeback tool like IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager (TUAM) completes the story we have been building…
Stay tuned for Part III of this post where I’ll explore some technical thoughts you’ll want to consider when picking a storage hypervisor.
The conversation is building! Earlier this week, fellow IBM blogger Tony Pearson joined the conversation with a perspective on Storage Hypervisor integration with VMware. And IBM blogger Rich Vining added a perspective on VMware Data Protection with a Storage Hypervisor. To cap it off, we just completed our first live group chat with over 30 IT managers, industry analysts, independent bloggers, and IBM storage experts.
Join the conversation! The virtual dialogue on this topic will continue in another live group chat on September 30, 2011 from 12 noon to 1pm Eastern Time.