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NetApp Newbie Backup Question

Hi everyone,

Please forgive my storage ignorance.  I am from an MS background and this is my first stint in the storage world so please be gentle.

I am currently looking at possible backup solutions for our virtual envrionment running ESX 4.1 hosts, all of which are HP Blades with 2 * HBA's connected to NetApp 6280's via brocade switches.  We have four 6280 controllers ( 2 per data centre) and are replicating volumes between the two (I believe this uses SnapMirror?).  Up until now most servers in the environment have been physical and have used the traditional backup method of deploying a Netbackup agent into the OS and backing up via a Media server to VTL.

Now of course we have these beautiful 6280's and my understanding is that we are licensed to use SMVI, SMSQL, SnapMirror, SnapDrive, SnapVault and Flexclone.  I'm still researching what all these elements offer since I am new to NetApp (and SAN storage in general!).  I have a couple of questions that I'm hoping the community can assist me with around backups:

1.  Do the NetApp backup offerings communicate with vCenter and is it vcenter that produces a VM snapshot which the array then copies?  How exactly does the mechanisim work?

2.  If SMVI can produce an application-consistent snapshot of a VM, do I still need to use SMSQL to backup my DB's?  What are the benefits (if any?)

3.  If I take a backup of a VM in my one data centre, which I then retain for quick recovery, can I also replicate that backup to my other data centre using SnapMirror? (Thus taking care off off siting of backups).

4.  Finally deduplication of data.  If I take a snapshit using SMVI can the array then subsequently provide deduplication?

Sorry, I know that there are a lot of questions but I would really appreciate your help to improve my understanding.

Thanks

Chris

Re: NetApp Newbie Backup Question

Hi Chris,

1.  Do the NetApp backup offerings communicate with vCenter and is it vcenter that produces a VM snapshot which the array then copies?  How exactly does the mechanisim work?

Yes, if you use Virtual Storage Console (VSC) this is a plugin to vCenter and is fully integrated into it.  VSC/SMVI will take a NetApp snapshot of the NetApp volume containing the datastore(s) in which the VM lives.  It is optional when configuring the backup in VSC whether you also create a Vmware Snapshot to quiesce the VM before taking the NetApp snapshot.  VSC will do this for you should you wish to.  The Vmware snapshot will be merged back once the backup is complete leaving you with just the NetApp snapshot.

2.  If SMVI can produce an application-consistent snapshot of a VM, do I still need to use SMSQL to backup my DB's?  What are the benefits (if any?)

You should still use SMSQL.  SMVI/VSC creates a snapshot of the VM, but it doesn't do anything to quiesce SQL.  The data may be backed up, but it is a crash consistent backup of the database(s).  I tend to think of VSC backups as backups of the OS itself, while SnapManager backs up the application data.

3.  If I take a backup of a VM in my one data centre, which I then retain for quick recovery, can I also replicate that backup to my other data centre using SnapMirror? (Thus taking care off off siting of backups).

SnapMirror will copy the snapshotted volume(s) and all snapshots will also be mirrored.  So 'snapshot1' on the source vol will also exist on the destination volume.  VSC can also update the mirror as part of the backup, by the way.

4.  Finally deduplication of data.  If I take a snapshit using SMVI can the array then subsequently provide deduplication?

Yes, dedupe is effectively independant of the snapshots.

Hope this helps,

Craig

Re: NetApp Newbie Backup Question

Craig,

Thanks ever so much for you fast, clear and concise reply.  Really appreciate it.

Cheers

Chris

Re: NetApp Newbie Backup Question

Small piece of input, you need to be considering a NetApp VSC (Virtiual Storage console, a plugin to vCenter,whcih uses vCenter APIs for its operation). Going forward there won't be new versions of SMVI, backup/recovery feature is available in VSC licensed via SMVI license on controllers.Please read the product documentation available on support site (NOW site) for more details.