By Ray Mar, Product Marketing Manager
In my last post on SnapProtect, I compared backup to plumbing, and talked about how NetApp is helping to improve your plumbing – I mean, your backup – with a new release of SnapProtect. Today I want to examine a few of these new features and show you what their benefits are.
Single File SnapRestore (SFSR) is a NetApp-unique feature that allows for a portion of a NetApp Snapshot copy to be quickly reverted into the production volume without the need to copy data from the source Snapshot and write it to the target volume. As of this latest release (SP5), the SnapProtect solution now has the ability to leverage this NetApp technology to restore individual VM’s as part of the Virtual Server Agent (VSA) as well as for CIFS and NFS volumes through the NAS iDA. By using the SFSR to facilitate restores of Virtual Machines and NAS files, restore times will be considerably faster for customers requiring a restore operation taking potentially 10’s-100’s of GBs to be restored in seconds, not hours, while not affecting other data on the volume. Pretty cool stuff if you’re looking to reduce restore and recovery windows. (And who isn’t?)
Job Based Retention is also a new feature with SP5 for SnapProtect that decreases backup windows even more than before while maintaining the index and restore capabilities SnapProtect offers. With traditional retention, Snapshots would be grouped into Cycles (a full catalog and following incremental updates until the next full catalog is initiated) and Days (minimal time to keep the Snapshot before it is aged off). While very powerful in maintaining a backup architecture, some customers like to just keep a certain number of Snapshot copies instead of managing the backups using the Days/Cycles method. With Job Based Retention, a copy within the storage policy can be defined for retention to only keep the number of jobs (Snapshots) as the only retention requirement. Along with the job based retention, a new way of managing the catalog created during backups is implemented that will allow for a backup cycle to age the full base index and keep the resulting incremental backups. All restore capability would still be supported for the data catalogued for the full, but the Snapshot associated with the full can be aged off. This can greatly reduce the number of full indices created for environments with millions of files in a single volume.
VMware Wild Card Find is a feature that has been extended to include VM’s spanning multiple datastores. The Find function within SnapProtect gives you the ability to search the backup for a specific file or group of files. With a wild card search, you will now be able to find VM’s meeting specific naming requirements and find them quickly for restore. This enhancement also decreases the time required to restore data in your greatest hour of need.
Finally, SnapProtect is offering a VMware Restore Plug-In for users to do self-service restores of individual files within a VM. The feature offers a way to access the backup data directly from vCenter for VMware admins. It also has a web console that users can log into and see only the VMs they are allowed to see within set security rules. They can browse their backups and find specific files they want to restore without the need to contact the backup admin. This is a big benefit for VM owners that may have lost a file or need to revert to a version before a VM change. The file can be quickly copied to their desktop for placement where they need it. Now, it’ll be twice as easy for an admin to quickly access data for restore operations.
All in all, there are some pretty cool things with SnapProtect that can immediately benefit your backup environment. Check out our latest technical whitepaper that discusses how you can optimize your storage and data management for virtual environments (be forewarned: you will have to enter some lead capture information to download the paper...but it's well worth it, I promise).
Now, if they could just make home plumbing as easy…