IBM gives SharePoint users Tivoli backup muscle

New Tivoli Storage Manager for Microsoft SharePoint supports SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

IBM introduced its new Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) for Microsoft SharePoint Wednesday, giving users of the popular Microsoft online collaboration tool access to new backup and recovery options. Adding to its appeal, the new Tivoli component will integrate with all of TSM Extended Edition server's data protection capabilities on the back end.

Now available, TSM for Microsoft SharePoint supports SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and is the result of an OEM deal between IBM and AvePoint.

The deal allows IBM to meet customer demand for a SharePoint-focused product by borrowing code directly from AvePoint's DocAve software, which offers backup and recovery, disaster recovery, archiving, SharePoint migration and content management for Microsoft SharePoint environments.

TSM for Microsoft SharePoint is aimed at reducing data loss and minimizing risks associated with organizations accessing, sharing and managing projects and storing business-critical content and applications in SharePoint repositories, said John Conner, market manager for IBM's TSM.

For its part, integration with TSM Extended Edition allows SharePoint users to perform hierarchal storage management, support multiple devices in their IT environment, use policy-based management for stored objects and easily move data from disk to tape and then off-site, said Conner.

Lauren Whitehouse, an analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group, said SharePoint is becoming a problem for many companies because of its use as a standard for information sharing and collaboration. In turn, that ties user productivity to the availability of the software and protection of the items contained within the Microsoft SQL Server-based data store.

"When you use a tool like [SharePoint] to collaborate with more people, the more stuff you generate and keep within this repository, the more dependent your business becomes on it," said Whitehouse. "You may have files distributed all over your company, but think about the capacity glut that creates.... This presents a problem if you're not backing [data] up properly."

Whitehouse said that while a few vendors offer application-specific modules for SharePoint that communicate directly with the backup engine, they are sometimes too Microsoft-oriented and workgroup-centric -- or they need simplification.

For example, she noted that EMC's Backup Manager for SharePoint only backs up SharePoint data to a disk repository, meaning IT administrators using the software must manually place a SQL agent on the disk repository so EMC Legato Networker will back up the data. As a result, moving information to tape becomes a cumbersome two-step process, said Whitehouse.

Some backup vendors have yet to embrace the SharePoint audience. She pointed out that companies such as BakBone Software and Hewlett-Packard offer no solution for protecting SharePoint.

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