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Reena Gupta - Reference Architect, Microsoft Business Unit

Today NetApp’s SnapManager for SharePoint version 6.0 is already in use by many of our customers. I wanted to provide some architecture level details of SnapManager for SharePoint and where all the components of this software get installed. Once understood, where all the pieces go, it’s not difficult at all to use this software.


NetApp’s SnapManager for SharePoint (SMSP) software is an Enterprise ready solution for consistent backups, recovery with item level granularity, compliance and archival for the BLOB storage and many more features as described in the User Guide. SnapManager for SharePoint can perform full SharePoint farm-level backups and restore different levels of SharePoint components, from a single document up to the contents of the entire farm.


SnapManager for SharePoint (SMSP) software is very agent driven architecture. There are 2 pieces in the software; one is the SMSP Manager that consists of the Media Service, Web Service and Control Service components. The other one is the SMSP Agent software that consists of the Control Agent, Member Agent, Archiver, Extender and Migrator Agents, as well as EBS/RBS Provider. These agents help provide centralized management, and they automate most backup, recovery tasks, storage optimization and migration tasks.


SMSP Manager. This component provides central backup and restore management by using the services of the control and member agents (discussed later in this section). It also provides the central graphical user interface that is used to initiate backup and restore tasks for SharePoint Web applications.


SMSP Media Service. This is the most important component of SMSP, responsible for managing data in SMSP. It performs the following key functions:

  • Generates and stores backup set indexes and metadata
  • Manages all data archiving and data retention activities, including restore of CIFS locations
  • Data is transferred to the media server directly from related agents, and SMSP Media Service interacts with the underlying storage to store the data.


There can be multiple servers serving the role of a Media Server in a SharePoint farm.


SMSP Control Agent. SMSP Control Agent is part of the SMSP Data Protection module. It’s only installed on the SharePoint Central Admin server and runs as a service and is responsible for discovering the SharePoint Web applications that run on that WFE. It is also responsible for coordinating backup and restore tasks for the Web applications on its WFE server. It receives task control from SMSP Manager, analyzes the SharePoint farm structure, and sends the job control to related SMSP Member Agents in the farm to complete the operations.


SMSP Member Agent. SMSP Member Agent is part of the SMSP Data Protection module. Its main purpose is to interact with SharePoint related components to perform backup and restore operations. There are three types of Member Agents:

  • SQL Member Agent. Installed on SQL Server, uses the SMSQL cmdlet to backup and restore databases. It also generates a backup index from a database Snapshot copy and sends it to SMSP Media Service.
  • Index Member Agent. Installed on SharePoint Index Server, uses the SnapDrive CLI to create Snapshot backups of index LUNs.
  • Front-End Member Agent. Installed on SharePoint web front-end server, can back up IIS settings, SharePoint 12 Hive or 14 Hive, and resources in the file system. Backup data is transferred to SMSP Media Service.


Note: A member agent is also needed on a FAST Search Server, which needs to be backed up by SnapManager for SharePoint.


SMSP Archiver, Extender, and Migrator Agents. These components enable policy-based content archiving, content loading, and content migration to SharePoint farms. These components can be incrementally enabled in the SMSP Agent configuration tool on SharePoint WFEs or appropriate hosts.


SMSP EBS/RBS Provider. The SMSP EBS Provider makes it possible to interact with externalized SharePoint content by leveraging the EBS framework provided by SharePoint Server 2007 SP1 or the RBS framework provided by SQL Server 2008 for SharePoint Server 2010.


Following figure illustrates the SnapManager for SharePoint data protection and storage optimization architecure showing the relationship between the SMSP Manager, Media Server, Control Agent, Archiver/Extender Agents, Member Agents wrt different servers in the farm and the NetApp storage controller.


1.jpgFor better visual understanding of the different components of SMSP, where they get installed, the following figures would explain it all.




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