Tivoli Storage Manager Backs Up Laptops

Version 4.2 of IBM's storage management suite encourages frequent backups by corporate laptop users.

After securing corporate data close to the data center, IT administrators are turning to the growing amount of unprotected data in laptops.

IBM, having anticipated the requirement for improved backup and recovery for mobile data, supports mobile backup in the latest release of its Tivoli Storage Manager--even if it didnt care to publicize that fact when the product was updated last year.

The storage management suite includes features intended to encourage more frequent backups by corporate laptop users. It also enables speedy restoration of software images lost due to catastrophic failure, said officials of the Armonk, N.Y., company. The added capabilities come at a critical juncture as telecommuting increases and world events shine a spotlight on data recovery.

"Theres been a growing realization that lots of information assets live in the local hard disks of PCs," said Bill North, an analyst at International Data Corp., in Mountain View, Calif. "If those [assets] were available online and powered on a network, theyd be manageable. But an increasing amount goes home with the worker at night."

In fact, some 53 percent of organizations either dont have a policy for backup of end-user data or are instructing users to back up on their own, according to IDC research gathered last March.

The latest release of Tivoli Storage Manager, Version 4.2, is designed to better integrate mobile backup across the Internet with a tool used for data center or server farm backup.

Among features it provides for laptops is adaptive differencing, which allows the software, after a full initial backup, to save only the smallest amount of changed data possible.

That technology, developed by IBMs Almaden Research Center, is similar to techniques used by companies such as Novadigm Inc. and Marimba Inc. The technology is useful not only for enterprises but also for SSPs (storage service providers).

"Its key because after doing an initial backup, incrementals are much smaller. They can be 1 [percent] to 5 percent of the total backup on a daily basis," said Elana Samuels, president of Storagepipe Solutions Inc., an SSP in Toronto. "We can back up a companys information through the Internet using the existing bandwidth."

Samuels said SSPs that dont use the Tivoli offering often require additional bandwidth or extra hardware on a customers premises.

In the event of a catastrophic failure, TSM includes features that allow for fast recovery for mobile workers. "If you want your laptop to be protected from a disaster, you can create a complete restore image of the laptop at the backup server and carry it around [on a CD or disk] so you dont have to do a restore across the Net," said Eric Stouffer, strategy and product line manager at Tivoli Storage Software, in Tucson, Ariz.

At the same time, Web-based features allow administrators to help users perform such a backup-and-restore function securely across the Internet. TSM also includes automatic dial-up for scheduled backups, is designed to work through firewalls and provides authentication and encryption for backups.