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IBM’s New Class of Data Protection: Upcycling of the IT World?

It’s a no-brainer: Data protection is critical to businesses. In today’s technology-driven and high-risk environment, data protection, disaster recovery, and business continuity demand the attention of every company. Just as the world constantly strives to find ways to protect its natural resources by upcycling commodities to minimize waste and optimize usefulness, emerging data protection trends are aimed at helping companies restore and reuse data to reinvent their businesses. IBM’s Spectrum Protect Plus aims to do just that.

The Need to Go Beyond One-and-Done Backups

The days of parking backup tapes in a locked box and never looking at them are long gone. With the interest and demand for advanced business intelligence, it only makes sense that companies look for added value in their secondary data copies. Reused and repurposed data can help organizations forecast, determine customer behavior, improve business strategies, identify opportunities, and search for hidden patterns that can be tied to analytics. Moreover, by reusing stored data, companies can strengthen their cyber resiliency by proactively preventing attacks and quickly restoring compromised data.

By storing data in snapshots, in native format, applications can be restored and made available immediately. That means key stakeholders across an organization can continue to have live access for reporting purposes without having to wait for a full restore. From an infrastructure perspective, the process of storing data in snapshots reduces business downtime and lowers recovery costs. Patching, testing, and code refreshes can be completed quicker as well, and changes are trackable. Management can focus on generating revenue and reducing costs while feeling confident that cloud storage presents minimal risks for the business.

Prashant Jagannathan presents Spectrum Protect Plus at Storage Field Day in February 2019

Modernization or Just Smart Business?

At Storage Field Day in February, IBM presented Spectrum Protect Plus. They claim that they are taking data protection to the next level, providing common archive and backup capabilities with the addition of data management and operational recovery. Spectrum Protect Plus leverages snapshots to provide instant data access and recovery. According to Prashant Jagannathan, the solution is easily deployed and managed so it can help organizations realize immediate ROI.

Two key differentiators are the ability to orchestrate both DevOps and DevTest automation and the use of RESTful APIs that work in tandem with a company’s existing processes and tools. This translates to an operation that can be completed in hours instead of days; settings that can be applied with a few clicks; and the ability to automatically detect new data. However, the solution’s global data catalog capability is key for data reuse. The scalable file system can index files from multiple sources (relational and analytical databases, business applications, ERPs, etc.), enabling users to conduct a search and find data quicker.

Spectrum Protect Plus currently supports Microsoft Exchange Server, but SharePoint and OneDrive are on the roadmap, according to Jagannathan. With the global data catalog capability, business units across an organization can identify data and reuse or repurpose the data to analyze employee behavior, internal and external communication, and regulatory and compliance processes.

IBM suggests that this solution can help companies assess the vulnerabilities or risks in their enterprise IT environment. Although the snapshot method of backup both protects and operationalizes data, it is still critical to organize these snapshots. While indexing helps, all of this data is only useful if an organization can integrate new data with existing data and synthesize it to create meaning and use the discoveries to move the business forward.

Stephen’s Stance

As discussed at Storage Field Day in February, the idea of reusing and repurposing stored data makes sense from both a business intelligence perspective and from a cyber-resiliency standpoint. IBM’s solution is based on a solid foundation with years of enterprise use, and enhances the snapshot capabilities already found in most enterprise storage systems. Spectrum Protect Plus really moves IBM’s data protection offering forward, “upcycling” data for the enterprise.

About the author

Stephen Foskett

Stephen Foskett is an active participant in the world of enterprise information technology, currently focusing on enterprise storage, server virtualization, networking, and cloud computing. He organizes the popular Tech Field Day event series for Gestalt IT and runs Foskett Services. A long-time voice in the storage industry, Stephen has authored numerous articles for industry publications, and is a popular presenter at industry events. He can be found online at,, and on Twitter at @SFoskett.

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