When I think about NetApp, the first word that comes to my mind is Snapshot. And if you work in virtualization or storage, or both, snapshots are the foundations of many solutions we all use every day.
NetApp is no doubt one of the major players in the storage world, and one of its best and most known feature is its snapshot technology. Efficient, space saving, with basically no impact on production workloads, NetApp users have always relied on this technology to protect their data. The power of NetApp have always been in its software: the ONTAP operating system offers a full-featured storage platform, and the snapshot technology is the starting point for more advanced protection solutions like SnapMirror (data replication towards another NetApp system) and SnapVault (data backups).
Our Veeam Backup & Replication also uses snapshots a lot. When it connects to a VMware infrastructure to protect your virtual machines, everything starts with a snapshot, regardless it’s going to be a backup or a replica. And it’s a software solution, just like ONTAP.
With these premises, it was unavoidable Veeam and NetApp had to meet at a certain point of their life.
Veeam and NetApp, RPO and RTO at their best
Storage Snapshots have always been the preferred solutions for those customers willing to achieve high RPO (Recovery Point Objective) values. Especially in environments with 24x7 operations like Service Providers, data protection activities are executed while workloads are running; lowering the load onto the storage as much as possible is then a high priority. One of the best way to reach this is to operate directly at the storage layer, using storage snapshots that can be executed without involving the hypervisor.
Not all storage are created equal, and the level of performance guaranteed by the storage snapshot technology changes by the vendor. NetApp has a rock solid reputation for years around its proven Snapshot technology: they can be used as “point in time” recovery sources inside the primary storage itself, and their efficiency allows to have a large number of restore points created very frequently, without any impact on production workloads, even during working hours. Then, those snapshots can be replicated to a secondary (and often remote) storage system using SnapMirror, and finally archived thanks to SnapVault.
With our groundbreaking technology “Backup from Storage Snapshots” that we released in version 7, Veeam Backup & Replication showed to the storage world there is an even better way to use storage snapshots. Instead of forcing a choice between storage-based and hypervisor-based snapshots, we offer a solution to leverage both and to guarantee at the same time the lowest possible RPO and RTO values.
All these advantages will be soon available for NetApp customers, so they will take advantage of this powerful combination.
Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots connects directly to any NetApp FAS (Fabric-Attached Storage), V-series and Edge VSA with Data ONTAP 8.1 or later, without requiring an intermediate “proxying” ESXi server. It does not temporarily mount a LUN clone to a host as a datastore, but rather reads data directly from storage snapshots with our patent pending technology, removing many unneeded steps that take lots of time. Unlike competing solutions, our implementation can also leverage CBT, so collectively backup execution times can be lowered up to 20 times. This means for customers the shortest possible backup window, the lowest impact on production virtual machines, and the maximum RPO.
But there’s more. NetApp users often use their storage systems not only with block volumes, but with NFS too. Veeam is not going to change the way you use your storage: we developed proprietary, optimized NFS client, and we are able to run Backups from Storage Snapshots even when your VMware virtual machines are running off an NFS share hosted by NetApp!
Restore everything quickly, even with our Free Edition
Backup times are important, but restores are much more important to satisfy demanding RTO requirements.
However, restoring VMware VM’s and individual files from storage snapshots can sometimes be a cumbersome and time consuming task, and is also limited in its functionalities. Veeam Backup & Replication offers the fastest RTO (Recovery Time Objective) values thanks to advanced technologies like our patented Instant VM Recovery. We are capable of rapidly restoring entire virtual machines regardless of their size, single files from 17 different file systems, and also application items for any virtualized application, either with Veeam Explorers or with U-AIR.
If you already have NetApp protection technologies in place, you do not need to change your data protection plans. Veeam Backup and Replication can integrate into your NetApp infrastructure, and use Snapshots, SnapMirror and SnapVault as its source for restores, thanks to Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots. With it, you can read from any of the three locations, and from any of the available restore points Veeam Backup & Replication can restore full VMs, guest files, and application items.
How hard is it to setup the integration? Easier and faster than making a cup of coffee. Simply register your NetApp storage infrastructure in Veeam Backup & Replication user interface, inventory all the available restore points across production storage snapshots, SnapMirror and SnapVault, and start a recovery from any of them.
Veeam Explorer for Storage Snapshots is available in every edition, even the Free Edition. You can take full advantage of our restore capabilities, and at the same time preserve your investments in NetApp functionalities.
Veeam Backup Snapshot Vaulting
For a complete Data Protection plan, we at Veeam believe the best approach is to follow the “3-2-1 rule”: 3 copies of every data, saved onto 2 different media, at least 1 in a remote location.
When using Veeam Backup & Replication with NetApp, you can fulfill this rule by using both technologies side by side, mixing them in an effective way.
When NetApp integration is enabled, Veeam Backup & Replication first creates an application-aware VM snapshot of a virtual machine. As soon as this is done, a storage snapshot is created, and the VM snapshot is immediately released. Backup From Storage Snapshots then reads the data from the snapshot, and creates a new backup file. Our backup is completely storage-agnostic, and the produced backup file can be saved anywhere, for example in a NetApp E-Series storage.
But, since a storage snapshot containing application-consistent VM images has already been created, why not use it also as the source for NetApp SnapVault? In this way production storage is only touched once, and the SnapVault is populated by an application consistent, rather than a crash consistent image. Think about this integration as an Instant Backup Copy! And since you can apply different retention policies to the two destinations, this gives you a solid data protection plan against any disaster.
At the end of the day, you can combine both Veeam Backup & Replication and NetApp technologies in many different ways, mixing different features, in order to satisfy your own data protection needs. You have plenty of design options at your disposal, and with all of them you can be sure you will have a great and effective solution.
Happy Data Protection with Veeam and NetApp!
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Veeam to offer advanced data protection with NetApp, 4.5 out of 5 based on 22 ratings
Author: Luca Dell'Oca
Luca Dell’Oca (vExpert, VCAP-DCD, CISSP) is EMEA Evangelist for Veeam Software based in Italy. Luca is a popular blogger and an active member of the virtualization community. Luca’s career started in information security before focusing on virtualization. His main areas of expertise are VMware and... More