Updated : June 29, 2014 0:0  ,
By Editor

Gregg Petersen, Regional Director, Middle East and SAARC speaks on the collaboration with NetApp and Veeam’s ongoing mission to enable the always-on business by providing data protection to the modern data center.

Discuss the details of the product integration following this technology partnership?

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 has always relied on this technology to protect their data. The power of NetApp has 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.

The Veeam and NetApp partnership is deeply technical and delivers three key capabilities:

The first is the ability to perform data backup with almost zero impact to the existing infrastructure by leveraging NetApp’s fantastic storage snapshot technology. This unlocks more frequent backups for offsite and archive.

Veeam allows recovery operators to reach into a storage snapshot and recover individual machines, files and application items. This means that our customers can have more recovery points to roll back from, down to minutes apart, but maintain the ability to perform granular recovery. It’s like having the ability to have a zero-impact ‘undo’ button for all virtual machines, email and files.

The ability to have Veeam move backups offsite using the power of the NetApp storage array. This helps customers conform to the 3-2-1 rule of data protection – Three copies of data (one in production), on two different media, one of which should be offsite.

Would this be provided as an appliance?

No, Veeam Backup & Replication is a software solution, we believe it’s a better design because it does not lock customers into fixed size configuration, but gives them the possibility to scale at will when needed. Release of v8 is planned for the second half of 2014.

What challenges does it resolve for a data centre when it comes to data backup?

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.

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.

Do you see this suiting data centers, small to big?

We see this integration as a perfect fit for any NetApp customer, regardless of their size. As Netapp built its success story with a unified operating system used across their entire array range, we offer a solution that works with any FAS and V array, from the smallest ones to the largest clustered mode installation. We know Netapp has a strong presence in datacenters, together with our capabilities to manage the two main hypervisors in the market, and also VMware vCloud Director, surely we see data centers of any size as a potential target.

What is recovery point objective? How is this improved in the solution that takes backup from storage snapshots?

Storage snapshots have always been the preferred solutions for those customers willing to achieve high RPO (Recovery Point Objective) values. This is especially true in environments with 24×7 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 ways 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 is equal, and the level of performance guaranteed by the storage snapshot technology changes by the vendor. NetApp has a rock solid reputation around its proven snapshot technology: it can be used as “point in time” recovery sources inside the primary storage itself, and its efficiency makes it possible for the creation of a large number of restore points, without any impact on production workloads, even during working hours. Those snapshots can be replicated to a secondary (and often remote) storage system using SnapMirror, and finally archived thanks to SnapVault.

Does this only address backups from a pure virtualized environment or is this also meant for a heterogeneous environment?

Veeam has focused from the very beginning on virtualized environments. We have always maintained that this would be the future, and every year that we witness growth in virtualized workloads is a validation of our vision.

In addition, the freedom that came from not supporting our legacy environment gave us the possibility to introduce ground-breaking technologies like our patented Instant VM Recovery that works best with virtualized environments.

Is this an exclusive one with NetApp or would Veeam look for such possible product integration with other storage Technology vendors?

Veeam has many technology alliances with other vendors, and we are always looking for additional supporting vendors. Netapp is one of our first partners to be included in the new storage integrations capabilities.

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