The NetApp integration added in Veeam Availability Suite v8 is a great set of capabilities to ensure higher levels of Availability in the data center. In NEW Veeam Availability Suite v9, Veeam improved the functionality, adding — among other considerations — the NetApp E-Series range as a viable and high-performing backup repository SAN appliance for Veeam backup jobs. The E-Series offers a high-performance backup repository to store Veeam backup files. This, coupled with the high density of storage and the performance of recovery from an enterprise level storage array, makes the NetApp E-Series is a great fit for a SAN-based Veeam repository.
NetApp E-Series product description
NetApp has two products within the E-Series portfolio: the E-Series and the EF-Series. For the purpose of this post, I am going to touch on the E-Series only, purely because it is quite unrealistic but not unheard of for end users to require an all-flash array for backup purposes. However, the EF-Series has the same SANtricity OS as the NetApp E-Series range, so all points in the post are relevant to both products.
E2700 & E5600
Both the E2700 and the E5600 are SAN storage arrays with FC, iSCSI or SAS connectivity options, and both scale up from a capacity point of view by adding additional disk shelves. The options around disks from a controller and storage point of view are 2U with 12 disks or 4U with 60 disks. The NetApp E-Series family uses a lightweight management software called SANtricity, which has many features, including:
- Dynamic drive rebalancing
- RAID management
- Intelligent cache tiering
- Data replication
Another key feature of the NetApp E-Series array is the Dynamic Disk Pools (DDP). This technical feature enables the dynamic drive rebalancing, allowing users to grow capacity while also providing disk-level protection in case of disk failure.
The final feature I am going to mention is full-disk encryption (FDE), an enterprise feature within the storage array market and sometimes a requirement for all tiers of backup storage. The ability to encrypt at the drive level using the AES-128 bit algorithm and simplified key management gives users that level of security without an affecting performance.
Below is an example configuration:
RAW capacity = 1.2PB
Max Number of Drives = 192
E2712 = 2U / 12 Drives
E2724 = 2U / 24 Drives (SAS/SDD options only not NL-SAS)
E2760 = 4U / 60 Drives (NL-SAS, SAS, SDD options available)
RAW capacity = 2.3PB
Max Number of Drives = 384
Veeam Availability Suite with NetApp E-Series
Veeam delivers five key capabilities that deliver Availability for the Always-On Enterprise:
- High-Speed Recovery: Rapid recovery of what you want, the way you want it
- Data Loss Avoidance: Near-continuous data protection and streamlined disaster recovery
- Verified Recoverability: Guaranteed recovery of every file, application or virtual server, every time
- Leveraged Data: Low-risk deployment with a production-like test environment
- Complete Visibility: Proactive monitoring and alerting of issues before operational impact
It’s clear that these two technologies are a good fit together. Let’s see how this looks end-to-end.
Backup & archive use case
Regardless of the production storage in this instance, the E-Series allows for all great features from both vendors to accomplish short-term backup retention, as well as a long-term archive policy. My next post regarding the cloud-integrated appliance may have a better use case as the archive piece. The best solution really depends on the data you are backing up and where the locality of that data needs to be.
Off-premises backup or replication target
Another scenario where the NetApp E-Series may fit is in an environment using FAS for production storage similar the first scenario but with Veeam’s ability to talk to the underlying NetApp FAS storage API. In this case, you’ll see a large reduction in the backup window and the hit on the vSphere production environment. The big thing to note here is that by leveraging the E-Series as the primary backup storage, you are not using the same hardware, but you are still able to work with the same technical support for all storage-related issues.
Veeam replication jobs here for fast disaster recovery (DR) SLAs without needing to invest in expensive DR storage systems. You can simply use a Veeam backup copy job for an off-site backup to another E-Series device.
Benefits of Veeam and NetApp E-Series
The fundamental reason that the NetApp E-Series is a great fit for a backup repository is because of the great improvements on the restore capabilities from Veeam when used with a storage system that can handle operations in a fast and timely manner.
The restore capabilities with the E-Series and Veeam’s ability to leverage the backup data to perform verification tasks and bring up a virtual environment for testing purposes is a huge plus for this storage system as a backup repository. With the built-in deduplication and compression engines, this allows for some powerful storage efficiencies on this block-based SAN. This decreases network traffic and the storage required for storing VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V backup files. Veeam Backup & Replication includes built-in deduplication, compression and additional data reduction techniques, including swap exclusion, BitLooker and file-selective, image-level processing.
BitLooker is a v9 feature that analyzes the NTFS master file table (MFT) to identify blocks belonging to deleted files and then automatically skips those blocks from image-level processing instead of saving those zeroed blocks into the backup image, allowing for a huge reduction in size.
Another feature of Veeam’s that increases backup performance is the new per-virtual machine (VM) backup file chains option in the backup repository settings. With this option selected, any backup job writing to this repository will store each VM’s restore points in the dedicated backup file. This enables multiple write streams within a single job with parallel processing enabled. Enabling multiple streams dramatically improves overall job backup performance.
As you can see, leveraging the NetApp E-Series is a great way to have end-to-end Availability for your data center. Have you leveraged the NetApp E-Series in any Veeam designs? If so, share your configuration below.