IBM Tivoli Storage Manager support for VADP

It seems IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for VMware vStorage API Data Protection or as usually called VADP is having a lot of attraction lately. Though on the other hand, many TSM & vSphere admins are confused about which version of TSM are supporting VADP and which version still force them to use the old VMWare Consolidated backup or VCB. Before I share with you the versions of IBM Tivoli Storage Manager that support VADP and the versions that support VCB and which particular versions of vSphere they work with. There is a huge note that many people mess about IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and that can be a relief for most admins. Keep reading for that surprising piece of info if you are vSphere admin that your TSM admin is opposing to upgrade their Tivoli Storage Manager backup server to allow you to benefit from VADP.

Its worth mentioning that upgrading your IBM Tivoli Storage Manager server from an earlier to a newer version is a major event to most enterprises and is not that easy of a task that you would consider to do on the flight just to support a certain third party backup feature. That has been said, there is a secret in here that many vSphere admins mess as they are not aware of the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager architecture. The IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Architecture & concepts are quite different than most other backup solutions I have seen around. Most of the backup features of TSM and its compatibility features of backing up a certain software is not related to the TSM backup server, but in total is implemented in the TSM Client. This is a very important features, specially knowing that TSM Clients keep way too long of backward compatibility with older versions of the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Server.

For those of you who still did not get my point, let’s take that particular feature and explain it as related to backing up your vSphere environment. The feature of backing up vSphere environment using VADP was introduced in the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Client version 6.2.2 for vSphere 4 & in IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Client version 6.3 in vSphere 5(More on particular versions compatibility  at the end of this post).  Notice that the support for TSM for VAPD in any document is mentioned by the TSM Client without mentioning the TSM Server. That means as long you have the proper TSM Client you can use VADP, and as I mentioned earlier its fully supported to use a newer TSM Client with an older TSM Server as long they are on the compatibility list.

Let’s take a quick example of a customer who has TSM 6.1 Server & want to use VADP to backup their vSphere 5  environment. As you will see in the compatibility table posted later in this article that the earliest version of TSM Client that support backing up vSphere 5 using VADP is TSM 6.3 client. Having TSM Server 6.1 does not stop you in this case from using TSM Client 6.3 which support VADP backup of vSphere 5 environment as the TSM 6.3 Client is compatible with TSM 6.1 Server (TSM Client/Server compatibility list is posted later down in this post).  This is actually a great news to many and in my opinion a very powerful feature in IBM Tivoli Storage Manager as you can use the latest TSM Client features without having to upgrade your TSM Server. Upgrading a TSM Client is a breeze and can be done without a problem or much of a risk. I can see many of you now jumping toward your TSM Admins and asking for the newest TSM Client to be installed and not to worry about upgrading their TSM Server. Sorry TSM admins this might mean you got to do the job of upgrading your TSM clients and move on without hiding behind the server upgrade being a major task.

Alright now that you know the trick, you might still be missing the piece of info that demonstrate which TSM Clients support VADP & which one support VCB. Below you will find this info:



The VADP & VCB compatibility list info for IBM Tivoli storage Manager has been copied from IBM site @ TSM Client VMware On-Host and Off-Host Backup Requirements. You might want to visit that post for more up to date info on current TSM versions and support for VADP & VCB.

The next piece of info you might be looking for, is which TSM Client version is compatible with my TSM Server.  The below table from the IBM site should give you just that:


The above table has been copied from the following IBM article which you might visit for a more up to date list: IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Server/Client Compatibility and Upgrade Considerations

At last the main massage of this article was that you don’t have to upgrade your IBM Tivoli Storage Manager server to get the latest backup features for vSphere, & all you have to backup in most cases is your IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Client which is a trivial and easy task. I hope this help save many of you some confusion about the message you might get from your TSM Admin. TSM Admins please don’t hate me!

2 Responses to 'IBM Tivoli Storage Manager support for VADP'

  1. Masood - August 1st, 2012 at 5:31 pm


    I am looking for trainer on TSM who can train our students online,pl send me an email,if you can take up this assignment.


  2. admin - September 8th, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    How deeps is your pocket I guess :P?


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