IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager replaces IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Copy Services & advanced Copy Services

Many of you who had figured out that I was away of writing on my blog for a while, I will have to tell you IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager is the reason behind it. This product which is a bit more than two weeks old, is going to replace IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Copy Services & IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for advanced Copy Services. I have been lucky to start testing the product about three weeks back even before it went GA, as we had to build a proof of concept for one of our large clients for Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager for SQL on DS8000.

You might wonder what is IBM TFCM is all about. Its easier to understand the idea behind it if you have a bit of background of storage snapshotting technology. Snapshot creates a copy of a volume at a specific point-in-time, which allow backup & restore to be achieved in matter of seconds instead of hours.

Today most storage vendors in the market integrate a snapshotting mechanism in their storage. Though most of these snapshots being only crash-consistent & not acceptable by the 24X7 enterprise, which require a transaction-consistent backup or snapshot specially for servers with database (e.g MS SQL, MS Exchange, DB2, Oracle,…).

There is no known way yet, where you can achieve a transaction-consistent snapshot using only storage hardware snapshotting. As for you to obtain a transaction-consistent snapshot, you will have to have a piece of software that can prepare your OS as well database for the snapshot in order to obtain a transaction-consistent snapshot or FlashCopy as IBM refer to their snapshotting mechanism. IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Copy Services & IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for advanced Copy Services was introduced few years back to achieve a transaction-consistent snapshot when using IBM Storage, though they had suffered a few draw back which IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager has been introduce to over come them.

The reasons behind the slow adoption of IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Copy Services & Advanced Copy services were as below:

1- It did not have any easily integrated GUI, you had to use different complex interfaces to get your work done.

2- Complex Installation. The installation of Copy Services was not the most fun task to carry out, as you had to install many components & manually integrate them & had to fill many option files manually.

3- You were forced to obtain TSM, which has raised the cost for smaller firms.

IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager is the replacement for Copy Services & Advanced Copy Services, though it has overcome all the drawbacks of TSM Copy Services & TSM Copy Services as follow:

1- Very easy to install & setup with a very intuitive setup Wizard, one setup wizard will install & configure all. This is a major change from the copy services & advanced copy services:

FCM will do requirements check

2- Integrated easy to use interface, which can be used by the average administrator & does not require a Guru, unlike the old TSM Copy Services.

IBM Tivoli Storage FlashCopy Manager Backup & Restore GUI

3- IBM Tivoli Storage Manager integration is optional.

Although IBM TSM integration with IBM Tivoli FlashCopy Manager is as easy as adding the TDP license file to the Tivoli FlashCopy Manager its not a must, which reduce the cost for customers who does not require that kind of integration.

I have currently wrote a nice white paper of how TFCM for SQL work in DS8000 enviornment that I will share on my blog soon.

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