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I want to learn TSM! Where do I start?
Posted: 16 Jun 05
I see this question a lot so i'm going to write my thoughts on it since i've been working with the product for about 6 years at the time of writing this FAQ. I've worked quite a bit with virtually all backup products because I run a data restoration professional services group. I still believe TSM is one of the best if not the best - but like an enterprise database it's only as good as those that administer it.
The first thing I would do is read the TSM Administrator's Guide. It's like taking the training courses. If you know that guide well, you'll pass the certification exam IMO. The one thing I struggled with is it seemed like the first 6 months I was full of information on what I *could* do with TSM, but not enough exposure to environments to know what sorts of best practices people employ. In some cases, it's clear what the best practices are because IBM publishes them. In other cases, it's not so clear. e.g. do you create many domains, management classes, policy sets? Do you create many storage pools? Or keep as few as possible? Is it better to create many smaller TSM database files for your storage pools or fewer larger ones? I started with the KISS principle (keep it simply, stupid) and always defined as little heirarchy/complexity as needed but over time, having seen many environements, I now have a much better sense of when it makes sense to do things like that.
I guess all in all what i'm saying is TSM is a highly configurable product. So much so that when you're first exposed to it it can be a bit overwhelming. Only time and experience will help you there.. On the plus side that same configurability makes it incredibly powerful in the right hands.
Download and read the admin guide. It will be your bible:
Then any client and database guides for whatever clients and databases you have to support.
Taking the certification exams can help you expand your knowlege too. Do it once you're somewhat comfortable with the admin guide. The act of taking them will force you to think about scenarios that aren't necessarily clear. You'll probably fail it once or twice before you pass it but along the way you'll learn a lot.
So that would be my strongest recommendation. Read the guide(s) and take the exams. The two together will get you up to speed quickly.
Notice I didn't say go take formal classroom training. Thats not a bad idea, mind you. I did it myself 6 years ago and thats how i was first exposed to it. The instructors were knowledgable and it was a good way to be taught essentially what's in the admin guide. The reason I don't mention it is if you're a professional, you'll probably be good at learning and figuring things out yourself so jumping right into the guide is your best and quickest bet. In my experience unless you work for a company willing to shell out lots of dough for training, you may not get to take a class anytime soon and you're looking here on this forum to find out what you can do *NOW*. But by all means, if your company will send you on a little vacation to get some training, it's not bad either. The truth is though, the guides are excellent and you'll learn everything the class teaches you and more by reading them.
Also join the Tivoli listserv. It's by far the best place to ask questions. Lots of experienced TSM'ers on there..
Towards the bottom of that page. ADSM-L list server.
I setup a google mail account specifically just so i can read/post to that anonymously. Since google mail has so much storage, that works nicely when you want to search older messages too for some topic or error code. There is also an ADSM-L archive you can search here:
(TSM used to be called ADSM back in version 3.1)
In case this link gets out of date i'll post what it says here:
To participate in user discussions of Tivoli Storage Manager you can subscribe to the ADSM-L list server. This is a user forum maintained by Marist College and subscribed to by more than 1,600 users (at the time of this writing). While not officially supported by IBM, Tivoli Storage Manager developers and other IBM support staff also participate on an informal, best-effort basis. Because this is not an official IBM support channel, you should contact IBM Technical Support if you require a response specifically from IBM. Otherwise there is no guarantee that IBM will respond to your question on the list server.
To subscribe, please contact:
The body of the message must contain the following:
SUBSCRIBE ADSM-L yourfirstname yourlastname
The list server will send you a response asking you to confirm the subscription request. Once you confirm your subscription request, the list server will send you further instructions. You will then be able to post messages to the list server by sending e-mail to:
If at a later time you wish to unsubscribe from ADSM-L, you can send a note to the following e-mail address:
The body of the message must contain the following:
Back to IBM: TSM (ADSM) back-up FAQ Index
Back to IBM: TSM (ADSM) back-up Forum
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