Data Backup and Recovery

Backup to Tape


I have a VMware Environment using NetApp iSCSI LUNs with some VMs having iSCSI LUNs also on the NetApp.

All the Snapmanager Products are setup and working but I have a requirement to send data to Tape Weekly and Monthly. Currently I have BackupExec 12.5 with agents.

Whilst this can still be used, what alternatives do I have to offload backups off the LAN if possible BUT still allowing for granular restores? I have SQL and Exchange in particular.

I'm aware of NDMP but this isn't granular for LUNs and I would have to restore tape to a NetApp to get at the underlying data etc. I want to avoid this if possible.

Any suggestions on how best to achieve this end goal?



In short, you can't. The Snap Manager products were not (well) designed to cope with any offline backups. I believe, however, that the Snap Protect products have some integration with tape backups.

With Exchange you can restore the entire LUN from tape, mount up the LUN using snapdrive and then either use SMBR to read the EDB file or possibly mount it as a recovery/restore database.

I don't know much about MSSQL but I'm guessing you can do something similar to that.

We use NDMP to send LUNs to tape here, but generally only for DR purposes, not for granular restores.



It's a little bit of scripting work, but some of our customers who want granular restores setup SME/SMSQL to use the __recent naming convention of snapshots, then they use the SnapDrive Command Line Interface (sdcli) to mount and unmount the snapshots from a host with a backup agent...then the backup job has a pre and post script to mount and unmount and the snapshot is backed up but from the host file level view (no open file agent needed since a snapshot clone).  It adds some moving parts but can get what you need to tape with granular single file restore.



I'm struggling with this exact issue now, do you by chance have any examples for the sdcli scripts they're using? 

I've tried this:

sdscli snap mount - r petw2010mb01 -k d:\pf01 -s petnaf02:/vol/mb01pf01/exchsnap__petw2010mb01__recent -d c:\backup\pf

I get an error :

Initializing...Unable to connect to the LUN in Snapshot.

Error: The data area passed to a system call is too small.

Any help would be greatly appreciated...



I haven't tried putting the full path under -s... just the snapname itself... does that make a difference?  I'd have to get to a lab but don't have access right now.


I'm trying to mount the LUN on my windows backup media server so that's why I'm passing the live hostame.  I"ve also tried on the actual server that the LUN is mounted on, I'll give it a shot on that system without the -r ...


C:\Users\admin_bwing>sdcli snap mount -k d -s petnaf02:/vol/mb01pf01/exchsnap__p

etw2010mb01__recent -d c:\backup\pf

Initializing...PETW2010MB01 :  Mount backup is in progress

Unable to connect to the LUN in Snapshot.

Error: The SMVI Server is not configured.  (weird <--  This is actually an exchange server)


Do you get the same error if you use the gui in snapdrive to connect to the snapshot lun?  That would show it isn't the cli syntax but another issue.

what alternatives do I have to offload backups off the LAN if possible BUT still allowing for granular restores?

In case of iSCSI "LAN free" is a bit ambiguous. What SnapProtect can, is create snapshot and mount it on another server (called proxy) which will then backup on directly attached tape library. While truly LAN free in case of FCP, you still need to mount LUN over LAN in case of iSCSI.

SnapProtect does not support backing up LUN directly to tape, attached to filer.

Benefits of SnapProtect are true tape integration and single pane of glass for all copies (snapshots, replicas, tape backups, ...) and ability to restore from any available copy.


Good point... I continue to find it difficult to see a use case for SnapProtect.  No one can really explain it well nor give any real references yet (although I hear there are, but no follow up on it).  All of my customers have storage on other devices (local C: drive, competitor array, etc.) and if they want to back those up then they need to go with Commvault for the full product instead of SnapProtect since it only backs up data on NetApp.  If a customer is all NetApp including boot luns, that is one use case I can see.. the closest customer I have to that also wants the Commvault cloud connector though and that is not available in SnapProtect so they had to rule it out as an option.  I think it is a great product, but the limited use case (keep other backup software for non-netapp disk even local disk on a server) gets it ruled out as an option.  If a customer can be convinced to keep two solutions it may have a use case as well...

Anyone have any use cases where they have sold or implemented it (the SnapProtect offering, not the full Commvault...same product but different support/licensing, etc.)?  Maybe we are missing something.


Regarding drive C: - I believe SnapProtect supports OSSV that may cover non-NetApp storage. Also for pure virtual shop you have all your data on NetApp already.

I guess you need to compare with SnapManager family, not with generic backup software. Then it is definitely step forward.

NetApp Alumni

A few clarifications to some of the comments above:

Comment: In case of iSCSI "LAN free" is a bit ambiguous. What SnapProtect can, is create snapshot and mount it on another server (called proxy) which will then backup on directly attached tape library. While truly LAN free in case of FCP, you still need to mount LUN over LAN in case of iSCSI.

Reply: SnapProtect has 3 backup to tape options: (1) streaming backup to tape (2) NDMP and (3) SnapMirror-to-Tape. With the streaming backup to tape (agent managed) you get cataloging and the capability to perform granular restores from tape. The others offer cataloging but the granularity varies based on the method (e.g. SnapMirror-to-Tape is volume based).

Comment: SnapProtect does not support backup up LUN directly to tpae, attached to filer.

Reply: A bit of clarification is needed here. SnapProtect DOES support and manage backing up a LUN directly to tape via NDMP (just like you would do with any other backup application) or SnapMirror-to-Tape.

Comment: Anyone have any use cases where they have sold or implemented it (the SnapProtect offering, not the full CommVault...same product but different support/licensing, etc)? Maybe we are missing something.

Reply: For named references, we're in the process of developing success stories. We need to make sure the product has been up and running for awhile so customers can talk about the benefits they are able to see from deploying SnapProtect. There are a number of different industries and geographies where SnapProtect has been sold and deployed. 

Like what was said, there is a lot of interest in SnapProtect for virtual server environments where business applications are running in VMs. Another example is in financial services. We had a customer doing traditional backups (weekly fulls, daily incrementals) over the LAN and it was crushing network performance which caused a ripple effect for the business applications, affecting application performance. The customer's use of SnapProtect allowed their backup operations that were taking 8-10 hours each to be reduced to minutes.

SnapProtect can help reduce cost. It's licensing is simple and unique in that it is only licensed on the primary controller meaning no additional cost if capacity changes. The license includes the management console, media agents, tape and all application and virtualization agents so you don't have to purchase all these separately.

With SnapProtect you can backup windows System State via streaming backups. And for heterogeneous environments, while OSSV is currently not integrated with SnapProtect, OSSV can be used alongside SnapProtect when the use case requires it.


Great information… Thank you.


We often don’t like ndmp of luns though since it is all or nothing backup and restore… and all white space is also backed up. But still an option (edge case option) for some customers.


Scott, using the File System agent on a client to protect the NetApp hosted LUN contents you can stream it to tape with granularity (not using ndmp dump).


That is what we recommend to our customers. But only a few (the edge case) who rarely ever do a restore like the speed of ndmp for a lun object.


Nice information,

I'm implementing snapprotect at one of our clients,I have actually been puzzled on how to do daily incremental backups to take. I understand ndmpd and snapmirror-to-tape backs up entire lun and not only the changed blocks,where can I get detailed information on implementations? Right now I'm more like doing labs on client site. I have done most of the tests,but tape backups are eluding me most. We are using the sun sl500 tape library,and I have used ndmpd to connect to the seconday fas2040 via FC


The Books Online documentation is the place to start for this.   You can get to this documentation from the NetApp support site.  Once there, under Server --> MediaAgent, go to NAS Library and Drive Configuration.


Thanks a lot bwood,it really helped me a lot,I still have to play around and understand storage policies more,what I'm trying to achieve is to mirror luns/volumes from a fas3240 at production to fas2040 at DR and then send the same luns to tape. Thanks a lot


For tape you need the primary copy in your storage policy, called "Primary(Classic)" by default, to point to your tape library (right click --> Change Data Path).  To enable tape backup on the storage policy, right click the storage policy --> properties.  Then on the snapshot tab click the checkbox at the top "Enable Backup Copy".  Then select the "Source For Backup Copy" which determines the copy that will go to tape.  You can also modify the selection rules if needed.

To run a tape job (after initial backup and replication are complete)... right click the storage policy --> All Tasks --> Run Backup Copy.




Thanks a lot most the things are working now. I still have an issue with the tape library, I added it via fa2040 using ndmp,and its appearing in the libraries as STK SL500 2,but when I go to the primary classic and right click to change the data path,the STK SL500 is no there as an option,when I right click to properties and try to add another data path,its giving an error "you cannot configure failover candidates on this storage policy copy.This could be due to one of the following reasons:1,There are not other data paths available.2.The option to share index cache is not selected". Maybe there is something I'm still missing

My setup is pretty basic,I have the DFM on the same server as the snapprotect server,I can do local backups (Primary(snap)),I can run auxiliary job for snapmirror and the mirror is successful,I can restore from any of these copies,but my snapmirror destination is connected to the tape library and I have the primary(classic) which I have failed to change the data path for.

When I run a backup copy from the storage policy it is running,at one stage mounting the clone and scanning,but what I have noticed is that it seems to be wring the backup information to the lun itself instead of the tape library.There is a folder with CV_MAGNETIC files on the LUN.Tried several things,but I will appreciate your great guidance before I make too many mistakes

Message was edited by: Brian Chungu