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IBM packages Tivoli storage for SMBs

Mar 02, 20063 mins
Data CenterIBMSmall and Medium Business

* IBM rolls out Tivoli Express for SMBs

This year IBM is taking aim at the small-and-midsize-business segment, adding SMB-specific enhancements to its storage offerings and rolling them out as IBM Tivoli Express.

Express is a portfolio of products and services designed for quick deployment, ease of use and scalability. IBM figures the sweet spot for this product set is companies with between five and 20 servers. In other words, this is a package of goods and services aimed at the “M” segment of SMB. Companies with fewer than five servers will likely be best served elsewhere; IBM feels that companies with more than 20 servers should look at its full-blown Tivoli products

SMB is a segment that rarely has dedicated storage professionals, and often has minimal IT staff of any sort. It makes sense then that software for SMB should be easy to install and to deploy, easy to learn and to use, and easy to manage. The software should also allow for potential growth – it is a rare small company that doesn’t look to grow beyond its current size. And just as obviously, this software should be both affordable and easy to buy.

As far as the storage side of Tivoli Express, IBM looks to have reached this goal. Tivoli Storage Manager Express is a skinnied-down version of Tivoli Storage Manager (known by IT-ers everywhere as TSM, although for some reason IBM hasn’t liked that term much during the last few years); TSM has been a leading back-up and recovery solution on enterprise IT floors for over a decade. Importantly, it has an add-on feature enabling continuous data protection for files. Even more important, however, is the fact that TSM Express allows users to do their own recoveries without involvement of the IT staff. In environments where IT staff may already be stretched (or in extreme cases, where a full-time staff does not exist at all), this is a very important feature.

TSM Express differs from its bigger brother in that the maximum database it can serve is 20G bytes. If you manage more than that, or have more than 20 servers, or want to implement tape management best practices, you’ll have to look to TSM itself. Also, it’s not clear that some of the more advanced features available in the main TSM product (such as bare metal restore, or the features in TSM’s Extended Edition such as disaster recovery management) are included.

That having been said however, the Express bundle combining TSM with monitoring, provisioning and identity management software tells a nice story. The TSM Express pricing is $195 per processor, plus $400 per agent. It will cost you an additional $35 per desktop (or laptop) if you want the continuous data protection feature. The Tivoli Express suite will be available through IBM’s regular reseller sales channels beginning this week.

If you install it, IBM promises the first backup can be performed within an hour.