Set a custom EMC snapshot schedule for Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots

Veeam Availability Suite v9 introduced integration for EMC VNX and VNXe hybrid storage arrays. These are a great storage system to run your vSphere VMs and also for leveraging Veeam. If you have one of these arrays, even if you aren’t a Veeam customer, you should really check out this integration.

Let’s first identify what parts of the data center we are talking about. From a storage perspective, any EMC VNX or VNXe storage system (including VNX2), a vSphere installation (except the free hypervisor) and a Veeam Backup & Replication system may be used, including Veeam Backup Free Edition for the restore technique from the storage snapshots.

The snapshot schedule on the VNX and VNXe arrays is an area that anyone interested in Veeam may want to investigate a bit. There is a default schedule (called a protection schedule) for the VNX and VNXe. This snapshot schedule may not be very useful if you don’t have a way to use the snapshots in a practical manner

The storage snapshot on a VNX and VNXe can be a great way to recover from what I’d call the “Daily Disasters” such as deleting a file, a virtual machine or an application item like a SQL Database or an email message. Let’s look at setting this snapshot schedule in a way that you can give easy recovery options for EMC VNX and VNXe hybrid storage array.

The snapshot schedule is set in Unisphere and is navigated under Storage | File Systems | Modify Protection. The figure below shows the default snapshot schedule:

Blog 1-11-2016-FigA


The default schedule is to take a snapshot every day at 3:00 AM and keep it for 2 days. That’s good, but I really like the notion of a custom schedule to fit the needs of the Daily Disasters that may happen. This is important also if backups are not taken during the middle of the day.

Let’s modify the snapshot schedule on the EMC VNX and VNXe to take a snapshot every 4 hours and keep that for 1 day. I’m also taking proper Veeam backups on this volume as well. This would be set in Unisphere below:


Blog 1-11-2016-FigB

The benefit here is that there are storage snapshots created during the day every four hours and that is only kept for one day. There are six snapshots kept on the VNX or VNXe array for recoveries in the day and we’ll be well-equipped for those Daily Disasters. In Veeam Backup & Replication, the new snapshot schedule is pretty easy to see how usable it is:

Blog 1-11-2016-FigC

The snapshots are stored on the array and we can go to each of the VMware virtual machines on the snapshot and recover the entire VM, restore files from the file system (Windows and Linux) and launch the Veeam Explorers for application recoveries.

This is a very easy process and the benefits are very clear for recovery options during the middle of the day where backups may not be scheduled. Additionally, many EMC VNX and VNXe environments may have storage snapshots in use, but no way to actually use them in a practical manner. Veeam Availability Suite makes this easy and can unlock the power of a storage snapshot.

What custom storage snapshot schedule have you set with the EMC VNX or VNXe and how do you use it? Share your comments below.

Related information:

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  • Thierry Kleinhentz says:

    Hello, good informations, this type of snapshot are crash consitent but is there a way to initiate the snapshot creation with Veeam, or a way to keep the snapshot from the backup job for a while instead of deleting it at the end of the job ?

  • Rick Vanover says:

    Cheers, Thiery. The Unisphere snapshot is crash consistent via the schedule as I describe.
    The Storage Integration section of the UI can create snapshot but not by a job/schedule.
    Lastly, the snapshot created in the job cannot be held a bit.

  • guerrillataktix says:

    Rick, do you know what feature in Unisphere gives the ability to schedule? I don’t have the ability to schedule and my console looks very different from yours(vnx5500 and 5600)…it uses java.

  • Rick Vanover says:

    Hey Guerilla: Are you on the latest version? It’s the part I’ve shown above.

  • Rick Vanover says:

    Hey Guerilla: Are you on the latest version? It’s the part I’ve shown above

  • guerrillataktix says:

    We do regular VNX code updates so I would think its the latest version. I’m going to try and use the windows task scheduler with naviseccli. Hopefully its reliable!

  • Rick Vanover says:

    Let us know how it goes.

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