Tivoli Ventures Downmarket

IBM chases SMB dime with a cheaper, slimmer version of Tivoli Storage Manager

February 25, 2006

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

IBM is the latest storage vendor to offer stripped-down software in an attempt to woo small businesses onto enterprise-style storage management platforms. (See IBM Automates SMBs.)

Today, the vendor took the wraps off a suite of new software, including a slimmer version of its Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM). Unlike the high-end, enterprise version that comes with both backup and archiving, the SMB offering -- TSM Express -- comes with just backup. Also, whereas the enterprise version backs up to both disk and tape, TSM Express backs up only to disk.

Additionally, TSM Express only works on Windows platforms, unlike the original TSM, which supports 13 different operating systems, including HP-UX, Sun Solaris, and Linux.

But at least the SMB version of TSM is significantly cheaper than the enterprise edition. Prices for TSM Express start at $195 per processor, compared to $620 for the full-featured version. A continuous data protection (CDP) option is also available on TSM Express for $35 per desktop or laptop.

Vikram Kanitkar, IT project manager at The New Teacher Project, a New York-based nonprofit, says cost has always been an inhibitor whenever he considered enterprise-level storage management software like Tivoli. But he admits that he likes the sound of TSM Express and feels the software could help him speed up his backup processes. With that kind of pricing structure, that would make us think about it.”Kanitkar also discounts the impact of limited operating system support. “In our size business a lot of people run on Windows," he says, noting that his own organization relies heavily on Microsoft.

Tricia Jiang, technical attaché at IBM Tivoli Storage Systems, says that smaller firms are looking for low cost and minimal hassle from their storage, hence the decision to downsize TSM. “In the SMB market, a lot of companies don’t have big budgets and they don’t have a lot of administrators,” she explains. TSM Express is targeted at firms that have up to 25 storage servers.

But IBM is not the first mover in this space. The vendor will be up against Symantec’s Backup Exec product line, part of last year's Veritas acquisition. (See Symantec & Veritas: It's a Deal.) Symantec, however, currently supports a broader range of operating systems across its low-end product line, including Unix, Linux, and Windows. But there's another big difference from IBM: price. Symantec’s Backup Exec for Windows Small Business Server, including CDP, is priced at $795.

Nonetheless, Jiang says that IBM is already looking to expand its TSM Express offerings, and plans to offer Linux support in its next release, likely within the next year.

Other storage vendors pushing into the SMB space at the moment include EMC, which recently unveiled its Insignia family of stripped-down enterprise hardware and software. (See EMC Heads Downmarket.) Last year EMC also took the wraps off its “Making Storage Simple" program aimed at selling its SANs to small businesses. (See EMC Courts SMBs and EMC Takes Simple Approach.)TSM Express is just one of a host of new product offerings from IBM today, including SMB versions of its Tivoli Identity Manager, Tivoli Provisioning Manager, and Tivoli Monitoring software.

TSM Express will be available March 17 and the SMB edition of Tivoli Identity Manager will be available next week, priced at $24 per user. Tivoli Provisioning Manager Express and Tivoli Monitoring Express will be on the market in late March and early April respectively. IBM has yet to reveal pricing for these two products.

— James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • IBM Tivoli

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Symantec Corp.

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox
More Insights