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Backup-as-a-Service with IBM Spectrum Protect and Spectrum Protect Plus
Cloutility is a secure and flexible web-based multi-tenant business-layer (portal) for IBM Spectrum Protect and IBM Spectrum Protect Plus, which enables managed service providers (MSPs) and enterprises to offer their data-protection infrastructure as a backup-as-a-service solution. Here you find some of the key features described in short.
Cloutility includes a flexible and secure multi-tenant grouping model, which is a tree structure that allows you to reflect any organizational structure, i.e. enabling you to create as many side-by-side business units (departments, groups etc.) as needed at each level, and for every business unit an unlimited number of sub-departments can also be created.
The model thus makes it possible to separate business units that share a centralized backup infrastructure. Users are created for the business units at the level that is needed so that users are presented solely with reports and content that are within the user's area of responsibility. All functionality of the portal is accessible to users through role-based user management. I.e. The top-level administrator (s) have complete control over what features users at their own and underlying levels should have access to.
The Cloutility administrator(s) can create different roles (as many as needed), defining the privileges an end-user should have.
Once the roles are created, users can now be created at all levels of the organization. Each user is assigned the role that suits the user's function. A user will have access to the business unit where the user is created as well as all of the underlying business units for the said unit. Top-level administrators have access to reports and functionality for the entire hierarchy of business units.
When a user is created the user will receive an email from Cloutility with a link and instructions on how to login. Cloutility supports both single sign-on (SSO via SAML 2.0) and 2-factor authentication (2FA).
Cloutility contains an activity log where all committing actions that result in changed data are logged. Log data is available at the business unit level and at the user level to make it easy to search user activities on both business unit and user level.
Various reports are accessed through the Cloutility user interface - and reports can also be sent automatically to one or more users via email. All reports have been developed with clarity and ease of use in mind.
Email functionality ensures that users who do not need / can / want to log in to the portal can get the information they need via email.
Historical reports are stored and accessible in Cloutility as long back in time as decided by the top-level administrator. Historical reports are often used as documentation for IT audits.
The daily status report contains the status of the daily backups and comments can be added to each backup, so that e.g. support work can be documented and found historically. The report is configurable so that the administrator can decide which possible errors should show as alerts and which other events should not be shown as actual errors. The top-level configuration is inherited to underlying business units, but it is also possible to change the settings of business units if there are different needs in different departments.
The Jobs Matrix report provides an overview of status of all backup events over time - shown in a matrix.
The Trend Matrix report provides a comprehensive overview of the status of a single backup job over time.
The backup server report provides an overall overview and status of each backup server and information about the type of server, number of backup nodes and data volumes on each backup server.
Trend graphs for all business units are available in Cloutility and show data development over time, how much data is transferred daily over time, and number of backup nodes over time.
The SLA compliance report provides an overview of the total number of backup and restore events that have been running for a given period (e.g. last week or last month) and status of these events. The report is most often used to show compliance with a service level agreement with the organisation or with end-customers.
To make it possible to search for specific backup nodes or business units or to create reports with only special backup nodes included, it is possible to create different "tags" for the purpose and then to tag backup nodes and business units. Examples of tags could be “VIP nodes”, “Attention”, “Monday follow-up”, “High Priority” or any text that is needed to mark a backup node.
This functionality makes the already flexible multi-tenant model even more flexible and adaptive to the needs of an organization.
The portal contains an important function in relation to deletion of backup data. Users may be granted the right to request the deletion of backup data. The user selects the data that needs to be deleted and selects a desired date for deletion and writes a comment on why data should be deleted. When the request has been made, a notification is sent to one or more users (may be users at different levels) who have the right to approve the deletion. Once the deletion is approved, the selected data is put in a deletion list on the desired date. Through settings in the portal, the IT department determines whether data should be deleted manually or automatically from the backup servers, as well as whether deletions should be complete or whether the "retention" applied to the data must be maintained, so that data is only deleted at the end of the retention period.
Each step of the process is documented in a report in the portal, which is also available after data has been deleted, so that it can later be documented that data has been deleted, who was responsible and why the deletion took place.
For privileged users, it is possible with just a few clicks to create and activate new backup nodes as well as creating schedules for the backup.
Cloutility has a built-in console for managing the backup servers in a single-pane-of-glass. Privileged users can send administrative commands to the backup servers, for which they have logins. Results of queries are presented in an easy to read format which can be filtered and sorted by each column.
If there is a need to either invoice the consumption of backup to underlying departments or a need to get an overview of the costs of the service for underlying departments, this can be automated via Cloutility.
One or more subscriptions are created that reflect the price or cost of the backup. Contracts are then created for each customer/department and in each contract a subscription that reflects the price or cost of the customer/department is activated.
Each month, a CSV- or Json-file is automatically generated, containing all the billing/cost lines for the entire hierarchy. These files can be sent automatically to one or more email addresses. The billing data can also be retrieved via the REST API, which is part of Cloutility.
There may be a need to link features and information from the backup environment with other IT solutions. For example, the transfer of financial data from Cloutility to an internal financial system, the transfer of daily alarms to a central support tool, the transfer of data volumes or other data to a BI system or other needs in general.
This type of integration is possible through a well-documented and extensive REST API. That is, anything which is possible through the provided UI can be addressed through the API.
We will be happy to engage with you and your team for a talk about your backup infrastructure and challenges. Over webex we can do a live demonstration and help you set up a proof-of-concept (POC).
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