IBM Spectrum Protect (TSM) V7.1.X Storagepools Concepts (Revised)

IBM is adding new features into TSM architecture in a regular basis, and as a TSM backup specialist we need to understand and apply these new features as applicable in our backup environment and check if we can save any hardware or storage resources. In this post we will review on the new features added to the important TSM component STORAGE POOLS.

Storagepools are the important components in the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager infrastructure. With the new features introduced in TSM 7.1.X, we can optimize the usage of storage devices by manipulating the properties of storage pools and volumes.

TSM V7.1.x storagepools

TSM Storagepools or Server Storage:

As we all know that Storagepool is the logical group of similar media where we save our client backup/archive. We can have number of storagepools configured in our TSM environment and this group of storagepools is also known as TSM Server Storage. Any TSM infrastructure can have 3 types of storage-pools.
  •  Primary storage pools
  • Copy-storage pools
  • Active-data storage pools

Primary storage pools

Primary storage pools are the first destination of all the backups whether FILE-LEVEL or TDP backups. So when a user tries to restore, retrieve, recall, or export file data, the requested file is obtained from a primary storage pool. So it is TSM administrator responsibility to make sure that the backup data on primary storagepools are safe and restorable when needed.

You can arrange primary storage pools in a storage hierarchy so that data can be transferred from disk storage to lower-cost storage such as tape devices. Depending on the type of primary storage pool, the storage pools can be located on site or off site. Starting from TSM V7.1.3 there are 2 new types of primary storagepools and depending on the type of primary storage pool, the storage pools can be located on site or off site. There are 4 types of primary storagepools
  • Random Access Storage pools
  • Sequential Access Storage pools

Random Access & Sequential Access Storagepools
Random Access Storagepool uses DISK devices to store the clients backup/archive and Sequential Access Storagepool uses TAPE or FILE devices to store the client backup/archive. Since these are old types, we are not going deep about these storagepool types. Please refer my previous post for their explanation....

Directory-container storage pools
This type of storage pools contain containers that are stored in storage pool directories. In directory-container storage pools, data can be deduplicated at the same time that the data is stored. By using directory-container storage pools, there is no need for volume reclamation, which improves server performance and reduces the cost of storage hardware. We can protect and repair data in directory-container storage pools at the level of the storage pool itself.

Cloud-container storage pools
This type of storagepool can store data to an object-store based cloud storage provider. By storing data storage in cloud-container storage pools, you can exploit the cost per unit advantages that clouds offer along with the scale-up and scale-out capabilities that cloud storage provides.

Tivoli Storage Manager manages the credentials, security, read and write I/Os, and the data lifecycle for data that is stored to the cloud. When cloud-container storage pools are implemented in the server, you can write directly to the cloud by configuring a cloud-container storage pool with the cloud credentials. 

The Tivoli Storage Manager server writes deduplicated and encrypted data directly to the cloud. You can back up and restore data or archive and retrieve data directly from the cloud-container storage pool.

cloud-container storage pools also supports ON-premises cloud and OFF-premises cloud to store the backup data. ON-premises feature can be used to store data in a private cloud, for additional security and maximum control over your data. The disadvantages of a private cloud are higher costs due to hardware requirements and on-site maintenance. 

OFF-premises feature can be used to store data in a public cloud and achieve lower costs than for a private cloud, for example by eliminating maintenance. However, these benefits must be balanced against possible performance issues due to connection speeds and reduced control over your data.

Copy storage pools

Copy storage pools contain active and inactive versions of data that is backed up from primary storage pools. 

A directory-container storage pool cannot be used as a copy storage pool. In addition, data from a directory-container storage pool cannot be copied into a copy storage pool. Copy storage pools provide a means of recovering from disasters or media failures. 

For example, when a client attempts to retrieve a damaged file from the primary storage pool, TSM server will choose copy storage pool if the file is damaged or non-restorable from primary storagepool. A copy storage pool can use sequential-access storage only, such as a tape device class or FILE device class.

Active-data storage pools

An active-data pool contains only active versions of client backup data. In this case, the server does not have to position past inactive files that do not have to be restored.

A directory-container storage pool cannot be used as an active-data storage pool. You use active-data pools to improve the efficiency of data storage and restore operations, for example this type of storage pool can help you to achieve the following objectives:
  • Increase the speed of client data restore operations
  • Reduce the number of onsite or offsite storage volumes
  • Reduce the amount of data that is transferred when you copy or restore files that are vaulted electronically in a remote location
Also Read: Restoring damaged Storagepool volumes

Data that is migrated by hierarchical storage management (HSM) clients and archive data are not permitted in active-data pools. As updated versions of backup data are stored in active-data pools, older versions are removed during reclamation.

Active-data pools can use any type of sequential-access storage. However, the benefits of an active-data pool depend on the device type that is associated with the pool. For example, active-data pools that are associated with a FILE device class are ideal for fast client restore operations because the FILE volumes do not have to be physically mounted and the client sessions that are restoring from FILE volumes in an active-data pool can access the volumes concurrently, which improves restore performance.

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