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Everything has an End – Also the TSM Backup

January 20th, 2023 | by
Business leader standing on arrow and holding flag. Illustrated as vector illustration.

Change processes are important to meet current and future requirements. This is also the case with our backup system! (Source: freepik)

Today we take you on a journey that starts with the ‘ADSM’, goes over the ‘TSM’ and up to the Commvault software. You have recognized it – today we are talking about the history of our backup services.

How it all began…

It was more than 20 years ago when the IT Center (at that time still “Rechen – und Kommunikationszentrum”) started to build up a university-wide backup service.

The backup software chosen at that time, “ADSM”, later and for a long time known as “TSM” (IBM Tivoli Storage Manager), was for this long time the appropriate tool to secure the diverse systems at RWTH. Most recently, this backup solution was used as “IBM Spectrum Protect” and operated in the IT Center on the appropriate IBM hardware.

… and developed over time…

Along this path, which was mainly taken by our IT Center colleagues and long-time backup admins Arnold Malcherek and Daniel Stanek, there were also numerous further developments. Among them was the first version of the backup portal, developed by Denise Dittrich, which was launched in 2007. For the first time, this enabled owners of the “BackupAdmin” role to largely self-administer the backup clients. With this development, administrators were finally able to perform standard backup and restore operations on their own.

As a result, the service was used practically across the board by almost all RWTH institutions to protect their data – because that’s what Backup does.

There was a leap in the quality of service in 2011, when the then data center for the service gave the assurance that every restore would be delivered at the maximum client-side speed at all times, in order to make the data available again even faster when needed.

… but at some point the TSM solution doesn’t fit anymore

Nevertheless, at some point it was time to question the “backup” service as well as the TSM backup system against the background of current and future requirements.

The change process, which started in 2019, led to the Datensicherung.nrw project on the service side and thus to the idea of a fundamentally different form of service provision – namely by NRW universities and for NRW universities.

The Datensicherung.nrw project, in which the majority of NRW’s state universities are involved, resulted in a number of new requirements for backup software. Finally, in an open call for bids for the universities of the state of NRW, the company Commvault came out on top with its Backup and Recovery product. The Commvault software and the jointly developed operating concept of the NRW universities form the supporting pillars of the state service Datensicherung.nrw, which is sponsored by DH.NRW as a backup service.

We are happy about this reached milestone, when we also look back on an exciting and successful time using the TSM backup system.

Responsible for the content of this article are Nicole Filla and Thomas Eifert.

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