IBM Emphasizes Data Protection Services with Cloud Storage

The company's cloud storage proposal lacks depth and confuses archiving with backup.

May 14, 2009

2 Min Read
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From the May 11, 2009 issue of InformationWeek

DIY Marketing's request for information received a response from IBM Business Continuity and Recovery Services that, while it failed to address the broad range of services sought, provides insight into a fast-growing subclass of cloud storage services: services related to data protection.

The company proposed collecting important data from DIY via agents installed on servers or appliances located in each DIY location. The data collected is transported over secure networking interconnects and placed onto a multitenant pooled storage infrastructure, with the value-add of hashing the data using content-addressable storage technology that would ensure its integrity, discoverability, and manageability over time.

In addition to backing up and ensuring the recoverability of data assets, IBM also suggested that the service could be leveraged as a long-term archive. Data would be stored to SATA disk in a deduplicated state, the latter optimizing the transfer of data across WANs. Individual or collective data restoration by the customer can be accomplished in a number of ways. IBM touted a multiple data center footprint with resiliency centers on several continents.

Provisioning is on-demand via a Web interface, and customers are billed for capacity used rather than allocated. IBM said pricing wasn't available until its sales team had the opportunity to meet with DIY and document its requirements based on an assessment of its current environment and data protection practices.

Service-level agreements in this case were linked to recovery time and recovery point objectives, establishing that this is primarily a cloud-based data protection solution. The response didn't reference any sort of cloud standards or mention the Open Cloud Manifesto, which IBM as a company supports.

In the final analysis, this wasn't a comprehensive response to DIY requirements, nor did it provide more than brochure-level information about IBM's services. It introduced some confusion by the discussion of archiving, which seems to mean the same thing as backup in this context, but they're not the same.

Read the complete package of stories on "Evaluating Storage-As-A-Service Options" and download the request for information that was issued to storage-as-a-service vendors here.

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