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Snapshots: Your first line of defense for data protection and accelerated recovery

Srik.jpegBy Srikanth Venkataseshu, Worldwide Solutions Marketing Manager, Backup Recovery and Archive Solutions, HP Storage

 

Leveraging the power of HP 3PAR Virtual Copy (snapshots) for accelerated recovery

In one of my earlier blogs, I discussed the need for your data protection strategy to be aligned with business priorities. In the same post I also talked about snapshots as the starting point of the data protection lifecycle. Here, I want to elaborate on that and discuss the integration of HP 3PAR Virtual Copy Software (aka snapshots) with a variety of backup ISV ecosystem partner solutions. It’s an ideal way to help your IT organizations meet the executive priorities for accelerated recoveries, improved user productivity and more frequent restore points to minimize data loss.

 

Moving to service-centric data protection

Doing business in the modern world requires uninterrupted service for users and customers. As businesses grow, application data grows along with the organization’s dependency on this data for normal operations. As is often the case, it is challenging to backup this large volume of application data without impacting user productivity or affecting your business ability to meet your SLAs.

 

Data protection is no longer just about backing up and restoring data, but also about recovering business applications and restoring critical business services for users. That’s why your IT organization needs to shift from an infrastructure-centric view to a more service-oriented approach for data protection. Snapshot-based protection is the first step in the modernization process.

 

The integration of HP 3PAR Virtual Copy (snapshots) with backup ISV ecosystem partner solutions delivers these benefits:

  • Reliable rollbacks from snapshots: The backup ISVs such as HP Data Protector, Veeam and CommVault are integrated with HP 3PAR StoreServ snapshots to create application- consistent points-in-time. This ensures that highly transactional application workloads such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint and others can be rolled back to earlier point-in-time for reliably recovery.
  • Rapid online and granular recoveries: In addition to full volume recoveries, support forindividual item restores—such as email items within a mailbox of files within a virtual machine (VM)—occurs at a much granular level for rapid recovery without reverting the entire volume. Plus, you can create virtual copies on 3PAR StoreServ for, say, every five minutes (if you want that level of granularity) for more recovery points. This circumvents the 24-hour exposure window typical to once-a-day backup strategy. One added benefit is that backup from snapshots moves data traffic from the array to the backup server without impacting production SLAs so you can continue your 24x7 business operations.

Want up-to-the-second recovery? Zero-downtime backup (ZDB) with HP Data Protector has you covered

HP Data Protector ZDB is a replication-based backup solution using disk technology that takes advantage of the 3PAR StoreServ snapshot capability to create a point-in-time replica of the production volume allowing down-to-the-second application recovery. The entire process is fully automated with a central console to allow backup administrators to manage HP 3PAR StoreServ functionality. Managing includes the ability to initiate, schedule, recover, and move snapshots from primary disk to secondary disk such as HP StoreOnce or HP StoreEver Tape for long-term storage in what we call a staged backup process. Watch this video to learn more about ZDB integration with 3PAR StoreServ.

 

 

3PAR StoreServ Virtual Copy integration with Veeam: overcoming the “VM stun effect”

With virtualization reaching universal adoption, more and more mission-critical application workloads are now deployed on virtual infrastructure. In order to have isolation of fault domains, IT administrators often tend to leverage hypervisor snapshots to create a point-in-time copy and backup data from those snapshots to an external device. Although this approach has merits, it can also cause some challenges and can lead to a VM freeze/unresponsive situation during the backup process as large numbers of delta writes get merged back to original VM data files that were frozen during backup process leading to SLA compromise. Watch this video from our friends at Veeam to understand how HP 3PAR StoreServ and Veeam have integrated their snapshot backup solution to overcome this serious challenge.

 

 

CommVault IntelliSnap for HP 3PAR StoreServ Virtual Copies

CommVault IntelliSnap Recovery Manager has been integrated with HP 3PAR StoreServ to provide application-consistent backup and rapid full volume or granular recoveries. CommVault Intellisnap provides additional capabilities to index the contents of backup for search and e-Discovery. The indexed snapshots can be backed up to an external store such as HP StoreOnce that is optimized for CommVault backups and replicated to a remote site for disaster recovery purposes.

 

Are all snapshots the same?

Snapshot technology has been around for a long time. Unlike other technologies, with HP 3PAR StoreServ you don’t have to pre-allocate space for snapshots. Yes, these snaps are reservation-less. That’s built on 3PAR StoreServ DNA thin-copy technology. Plus you can reclaim storage space upon deletion of snapshots. You can also place snapshots on a different tier than your production volume, lock you snapshots, assign different Quality of Service and more. This is what makes 3PAR Virtual Copy such unique and exciting technology!

 

To sum it up, not all applications and data have same protection needs. While designing your data protection strategy, it’s prudent to align the needs of protection with business goals.

 

Learn more about HP Data Protection Solutions.

Comments
Eric Diologeant(anon) | ‎08-05-2014 09:29 AM

Hello,

 

Could you define how you ensure transactional integrity ?

 

I mean quiesce the database and flush the cache ?

 

Rgds

 

Eric

Storage-Expert ‎08-06-2014 06:42 PM - edited ‎08-07-2014 05:18 PM

Hi Eric.

 

Thanks for your comment on my blog. As to your question:

 

Creating a snapshot of applications without any application coordination results in a crash-consistent copy ( copy that would exist if the system lost power). The crash-consistent backups are fast but on the contrary the recovery will be longer as it may involve several manual steps to rollback the application

(specifically databases) to an operational state.

 

On the other hand, application-consistent snapshots involves coordination with the application prior to creation of snapshots. For example, the Microsoft VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Services)  framework provides APIs for external applications (backup apps) to coordinate the freezing (quiesce) of the application and completes the IO writes to disk along with clearing any buffers prior to initiating snapshots on the array. All of these steps are necessary to ensure the application is brought to a reliable state and there are no unfinished database transactions or incomplete application files when snapshot is created. Once the snapshot is created, VSS framework thaws the application and the IO operations resume. HP 3PAR Recovery Manager and the various ISV backup applications outlined in the blog post use a number of these techniques to ensure application-consistency is maintained while creating snapshots.

 

Let me know if you have any additional questions.

Best,

Srik

Eric Diologeant(anon) on ‎08-07-2014 04:37 PM - last edited on ‎08-07-2014 05:18 PM Storage-Expert

Hi Srik,

 

Thanks for your comments, that's pretty clear with VSS.

 

So HP 3PAR Recovery Manager communicate with VSS (to quiesce/flush exchange, SQL ...) using standard API to provide the the link between the application server and the 3PAR array and especially the snapshot mechanism ?

 

Doesn' it mean also most ISV vendor are able to communicate with HP 3PAR Recovery Manager or do they communicate directlly with the array ?

 

Regards

 

Eric

Storage-Expert | ‎08-08-2014 07:11 PM

Hi Eric.

 

HP 3PAR StoreServ provides Application-specific software suite: http://www8.hp.com/us/en/products/data-storage/3parstoreserv.html for VMWare, Hyper-V, Exchange, SQL and Oracle to enable you to create application-consistent point-in-time copies of data, essentially abstracting a lot of complexities that you don’t have to deal with.

 

Now, HP Data Protector has integration with HP 3PAR Application Software Suite but other ISVs (Veeam, CommVault etc)  use the 3PAR StoreServ APIs for snapshot management and have their own software suite for application-integration. The point about these integrations and options are that,as a customer you will have an application consistent-snapshot on 3PAR StoreServ that can be reliably rolled back as needed whether you are using 3PAR Application Software-suite or an ISV ecosystem partner solution.

 

Hope this helps. Please let me know.

Best,

Srik

 

Eric Diologeant(anon) a month ago

Hello Srik,

 

Yes you answer all my questions.

 

thanks for your time

 

Best Regards

 

Eric

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