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Thursday, March 16, 2006
Yesterday I sat through a TSMExpress presentation and thought I would explain the product to those of you interested. First off TSMExpress is a Windows only product and has limited support for applications (basically Exchange and SQL). TSMExpress will only support a 20GB DB and ALL BACKUPS GO TO DISK! Yes that’s right; there is no direct backup to tape option. What TSMExpress utilizes is the backupset function that has been updated to enhance the backupset catalogue to be more like BackupExec or Arcserve. This is how TSMExpress will handle the Grandfather, Father, Son process of backup. Here is how it works, TSMExpress backs up all data to disk and keeps the data on disk for up to 14 days. What I haven’t got an answer to involves the disk pools and their use of the FILE device class. TSMExpress, from what the presentation showed, use the normal TSM disk pools but instead uses the FILE device class. According to the presentation the FILE device class can span drives (currently on TSM it cannot since you have to state a single drive/folder location for the files to be created.
TSMExpress’ tape creation and handling is also a little different in that is doesn’t use tape pools like we know them in TSM. There are no primary and copy tape pools, to put the data out to tape you generate a backupset (they call it a media copy). TSMExpress allows for multiple backupsets on a tape so tape usage won’t be as bad as you might have been thinking, and they have enhanced the restore process so backupsets can be explored on the file level through the GUI. The other nice feature is that if the TSMExpress DB was ever corrupted or unable to be restored it can be recreated through the backupset catalogues (interesting feature). So once the data is on tape you send it offsite and the backupsets become your DR solution.
TSMExpress is expected to be upgradeable to TSM by next year but currently it cannot upgrade to its beefier older sibling. The backupsets are transferable, however, so you can move data between products in that way. The web interface is also a “Dummies” version and is very easy to work with as you can see it’s pretty basic. What I didn’t hear was whether the web interface was integrated or part of the ISC. I will have to ask around on that one. Overall I would say TSMExpress looks to be a good product to fill a much needed role for the SMB market.