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Sep 18 2017

The FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS CS200c Screen Demos, Pt. 6: Snapshot Backup


Ever since its debut in 2014, our all-in-one data protection appliance has been deployed by numerous businesses of all sizes in order to implement enterprise-class backup and recovery. One key reason for this success lies in a unique combination of reliable Fujitsu hardware and industry-leading Commvault software functionalities that ensure the appliance is equally useful in physical and virtualized environments. Our summer series of screen demos offers comprehensive insights into the ETERNUS CS200c's rich and varied feature set. In the last and final episode, we are focusing on creating on-the-spot backups with the help of Commvault's IntelliSnap technology.

There are only a few things in the world server and storage administrators fear and hate as much as "version skew" – the difference between information stored at productive and remote sites that occurs whenever a full backup of large data sets is underway while there are still writes to the volumes that have just been (or are in the process of being) backed up. Thankfully, a cure for this ill exists in the form of snapshots, i.e. additional read-only copies that capture the state of a given data set or application at a specific point in time and are typically kept on a server's internal storage or associated DAS/NAS systems. Thus, they can be used to quickly revert an application or system to its last "good" (workable) state after a crash without having to fight the incongruities that would result from using the latest day-, week- or month-old full backups for that same purpose. However, especially for large organizations this concept only works if they create multiple snapshots per physical server, per VM or per application every hour. But while this undoubtedly enhances their ability to kick off fast, targeted recoveries, it can also complicate managing backup versions and snapshots in a way that runs counter to the simple and efficient backup and restore processes each organization aims to implement.

Against this backdrop, it's fairly good news that the FUJITSU Storage ETERNUS CS200c data protection appliance provides all the functionalities required to initiate 'smart' snapshot backups that work as desired. The key feature in this context is IntelliSnap, a technology that streamlines and simplifies snapshot management so that snapshots become more valuable and effective at protecting and recovering data and applications. With IntelliSnap, administrators can establish a fully automated snapshot management process that relieves them of a plethora of time-consuming and error-prone tasks that were previously conducted manually. According to Commvault's solution overview (PDF), the software "merges storage hardware snapshots directly into the data protection process" to achieve this and supports a long and varied list of applications, operating systems, hypervisors and storage arrays to offer data centers maximum deployment flexibility. In short, IntelliSnap will work with hardware from longtime market leaders like EMC, NetApp or Fujitsu as well as with systems from 'newcomers' like Nimble Storage and Tegile, and features agents for VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle and SAP databases (including HANA), various flavors of SQL, and a bunch of other programs.

To make things even easier for administrators, all components that are necessary for successful snapshot backup and recovery are easily integrated into the ETERNUS CS200c appliance. These include the Media Agent (MA), Virtual Server Agent (VSA), the central management component CommServe (CS) and of course the optional IntelliSnap feature (SNAP), plus storage hardware (as pictured below). That way, the stage is set for the IntelliSnap feature to integrate snapshot management and snapshot-based backup processes into the appliance, and accelerate backup and recovery of applications, systems, VMs and single files.


Fig. 1: The ETERNUS CS200c data protection appliance with Commvault software enables fast backups and granular recovery of data and applications while supporting a huge amount of storage hardware

At 6:17 minutes, our actual screen demo is a little longer this time, providing future users with a detailed overview of how to deploy and operate the snapshot backup and recovery functions:

  • In the first step, administrators define the storage arrays on which IntelliSnap creates the hardware snapshots. They can either edit properties of already attached hardware or add new systems. IntelliSnap automates the creation of application-aware hardware snapshots across a multi-vendor storage environment including Fujitsu ETERNUS disk and flash storage arrays.
  • The second step is to determine the content of the IntelliSnap backup. After choosing IntelliSnap and selecting a storage array for the snapshot backup, administrators have to pick the right storage policy – in this case, 'VM and IntelliSnap' – for consistency and define which data should be included in a particular snapshot. They must also see to it that they store two copies of data, one that's to be kept directly on the storage array, and another one – the so-called snapshot backup copy – that's saved to the ETERNUS CS200c. This provides two recovery points and guarantees business continuity in case the primary array fails. Moreover, it's possible to define additional snapshot properties like retention periods, backup options, scheduling, etc.
  • To create detailed backup catalogs and indexes, administrators should activate the 'Enable granular recovery for IntelliSnap' option before taking the first snapshot. This will later help them restore specific virtual machines or even single files if necessary, simply by browsing the snapshot catalog or index cache. Thus, the ETERNUS CS200c supports a modern approach to automated snapshot management and data protection within one solution.

The complete screen demo "Make snaps work – Fujitsu ETERNUS CS200c Powered by Commvault" is available at YouTube. For detailed information, please refer to the snapshot management chapter in Commvault's online documentation.

Helga Eppig


About the Author:

Helga Eppig

International Product Marketing Storage, Fujitsu


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