SharePoint backup glitch sees TSM out, CommVault in at FaHCSIA

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has ditched Tivoli Storage Manager in favour of CommVault Simpana after the former struggled to effectively backup SharePoint. The Department has also acquired some new HP LeftHand storage arrays.

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) has ditched Tivoli Storage Manager in favour of CommVault Simpana, after experiencing difficulties backing up its SharePoint implementation.

“We were running Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) but it was not delivering the Microsoft integration we were looking for on Active Directory, SharePoint or Exchange,” says Christopher Luyt, an Assistant Director at FaHCSIA. “

“TSM could not do individual mail item or mailbox recovery on Exchange and SharePoint integration was poor.” So poor, Luyt says, that Avepoint, the company with which IBM has partnered to add SharePoint backup features to TSM, experienced two major outages.

“TSM could not give us any support,” Luyt says, and emergency measures to protect the Department’s SharePoint data were required.

Luyt already felt that “TSM is hard to configure, has poor central management and is expensive,” and the outages convinced him that a new backup solution was imperative.

Enter CommVault, with which Luyt is happy since its mid-2010 implementation.

“We put in CommVault quite quickly to do SharePoint recovery and then looked at expanding that presence.” The Department now uses the software for most of its backup needs, and has an enterprise licence – complete with three years’ maintenance and support – that has made CommVault substantially cheaper than TSM. License management is also far easier: Luyt says the Department was found wanting in a software audit conducted by IBM, and finds its new arrangements with CommVault make for far more predictable costs, which makes for easier budgeting.

Other benefits include better backup stability, more successful backups and better retention.

Luyt says staff are also spending less time on backups. “We had lots of scheduling issues with TSM because you need to go to each client to configure backups with command lines. We used to have one person whose job was just TSM maintenance. Backup is now just a quarter of his time.”

Luyt and his team are now looking at other CommVault features, especially those that use EMC’ snapshotting features, as the Department uses EMC Centerra arrays. Luyt said he is also contemplating a “medium-term” upgrade to EMC’s new VNX unified storage range.

Another new hardware purchase is a set of HP Left Hand. “We have a location that needed its own storage and we picked LeftHand. It is substantially cheaper than EMC.”

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