To protect a mutually beneficial way of life, arch-enemies occasionally have to help one another. Such mash-ups comprise the plot for many a dramatic action film. Of late, it's the plotline of choice for nemeses IBM and Microsoft.Last Wednesday IBM did its occasional enemy a friendly favour by introducing some back-up and recovery tools that enable users to both restore and protect data stored within Microsoft's popular SharePoint offering. The IBM Tivoli Storage Manager for Microsoft SharePoint restores capability at the site-level, subsite-level and item-level. It also covers data integrity, integration with disk and tape back-up environments, and policy-based management of back-up data, reporting and scheduling. It provides back-up and recovery for both SharePoint Portal Server 2003, and Office SharePoint Server 2007 (Storage Server 2.0 and 3.0). Because it cannot grant a gift without leveling the field with a burr, IBM is quick to point out that despite existing back-up provisions for SharePoint's underlying databases, sites and sub-sites, Microsoft lacks item-level restore capability. They are not full fidelity, meaning clients may lose customized settings. They lock SQL settings during back-up and are also unintegrated with a back-up environment that includes tape. "All of our application data protection products provide the ability to work with the application to ensure that data is consistent when it is backed up," a Tivoli representative says. IBM's Tivoli covers site-level, subsite-level, and item-level restore capability; data integrity; integration with both disk and tape backup environments; and policy-based management of backup data, scheduling, and reporting. As staunch competitors in the server software sector, IBM and Microsoft are hardly bosom buddies. IBM touts the merits of Linux over Windows, for example. However, a number of Microsoft applications operate on IBM infrastructure components, thus driving the success, at least in part, of IBM's middleware. The Tivoli Storage Manager is presently available through IBM and its affiliated retailers. The retail cost is US$ 200 for 10 value units. Because clients typically need 100 value units to license the product per processor core, it will cost approximately US$ 2,000 per processor core for front-end SharePoint webserver protection.