Hands-on Lab Validation of Clustered Data ONTAP SnapVault

In my blog post on the new features of clustered Data ONTAP 8.2, I highlighted three key benefits: nondisruptive operations, proven efficiency and seamless scalability.  This blog explores SnapVault, a key new feature with clustered ONTAP 8.2, and summarizes a spotlight hands-on lab validation from industry analyst ESG on SnapVault.


SnapVault is a disk-to-disk backup product which is a core feature of Data ONTAP, with application-aware backup solutions tailored for application-specific protection provided by the suite of SnapManager products. SnapVault operates at the block level rather than the file level, transferring only new or changed blocks and leverages both Snapshot point-in-time dataset copies as well as native deduplication and/or compression, providing efficient disk-to-disk backup and restore. This results in both reduced capacity on-disk and bandwidth usage, minimizing the backup footprint.


Storage efficiency is maintained over-the-wire when the backup set is replicated for disaster recovery using either SnapVault or NetApp’s SnapMirror product. Individual SnapVault backups can also be made writable using FlexClone technology and can be leveraged for testing and development. Backup copies are stored in their native format resulting in quick and efficient restores including support for end-user drag-and-drop selection of specific files to be restored. SnapVault can backup volumes within a cluster, across clusters, and across data centers.


ESG Lab performed hands-on evaluation and testing of Data ONTAP 8.2 SnapVault at NetApp headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. Testing was designed to validate rapid implementation of data protection, and near instantaneous backup and recovery of data sets.


Figure 1 shows an example of how SnapVault may be deployed in an enterprise-scale environment with multiple data centers. Physical and virtual servers and applications connect to a Data ONTAP 8.2 cluster in the primary data center. The primary data center is connected to a secondary data center over a WAN connection, where a Data ONTAP 8.2 cluster is the target for offsite backup and disaster recovery.

Figure 1


Within this example environment, SnapVault is used in three ways:

  • SnapVault creates primary backups of storage data sets, including virtual machines, databases, and user file volumes using NetApp point-in-time Snapshot copies. These backups are stored on disk in the same Data ONTAP 8.2 cluster, in the primary data center.
  • SnapVault creates secondary backups of storage data sets. These backups are stored on disk in the secondary Data ONTAP 8.2 cluster residing in the secondary data center for offsite data protection.
  • Should the need arise, the SnapVault backups in the secondary data center can be promoted to be used as primary storage for disaster recovery, using the secondary data center application servers.


The detailed lab evaluation is here.

Mike McNamara