Enterprise datacenter Availability with NetApp cascaded SnapMirror and Veeam

Data Availability has become more and more important for today’s businesses. The NetApp Data ONTAP and Veeam combination provides a high Availability level for the Always-On Enterprise. By leveraging NetApp data protection features like snapshots, SnapMirror and SnapVault, Veeam is able to enhance recovery time and recovery point objectives, otherwise known as RTPO, for VMs and applications residing on NFS-, FC-, FCoE- and iSCSI-based arrays.

Some enterprise data centers are leveraging NetApp’s ability to cascade ONTAP systems to maximize Availability. In this blogpost, I explain the benefits of leveraging an ONTAP cascaded design with Veeam.

The environment

Let’s assume the customer has the following data center design and requirements:

  1. In the primary data center, a NetApp ONTAP system named RLPEDGE01, with a source volume called NFSVAULT
  2. On the secondary side, a NetApp ONTAP system RLPEDGE02, with a SnapVault destination Volume RLPNFS01_NFSVAULT_vault
  3. At the third side, a NetApp ONTAP system RLPEDGE03, with a SnapMirror destination volume RLPNFS03_NFSVAULT_mirror

The requirements include using SnapVault between RLPEDGE01 and RLPEDGE02, combined with application-consistent snapshots. Furthermore, the customer wants to use SnapMirror to replicate the SnapVault data to RLPEDGE03, which is in a co-location facility.

Veeam orchestration combined with NetApp protection policies

To build this configuration, NetApp ONTAP protection policies are combined with Veeam’s advanced storage integration and orchestration capabilities.

  1. Veeam creates an application-consistent backup of VMs. This includes the optional log truncation and snapshot creation within the VMware environment.
  2. Next, Veeam instructs the primary NetApp system (RLPEDGE01) to perform an array-based snapshot and subsequent orchestration.
  3. Next, the primary NetApp system will manage the SnapVault update to the secondary (RLPEDGE02) and retention policies of these snapshots within both primary and secondary systems.
  4. The NetApp ONTAP built-in protection engine handles the SnapMirror update between the secondary and the tertiary (RLPEDGE03) NetApp systems. Through this process, all snapshots on RLPEDGE02 will be mirrored to RLPEDGE03 and made available for restores.

The customer benefits here by being able to leverage Veeam’s native restore capabilities on any NetApp ONTAP platform in the environment. This includes the third NetApp system, RLPEDGE03, which is not part of the Veeam snapshot orchestration process. The restore functionality permits granular restores using Veeam Explorers for Storage Snapshots to perform file, item or VM image-based recoveries for Microsoft Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint, SQL and Oracle. Veeam OnDemand Sandbox capabilities can also leverage NetApp snapshots to create isolated test environments for testing application updates, patches and other changes, without impacting the production environment.

Let’s get it done

To set up this configuration, follow these steps:

  1. Add all NetApp ONTAP systems to your Veeam Backup & Replication console
  2. Create the SnapVault relationship between primary and secondary NetApp systems
  3. Create a Veeam job to protect your VMs:
    1. Within the Veeam job set the desired SnapVault retention policies
    2. If required, enable Application-Aware Processing
    3. Define a schedule for the job that meets the RPO of applications being protected

If you require any assistance creating a Veeam/NetApp backup job, you can find additional detail in the Best Practices Guide.

After Veeam Backup and NetApp SnapVault are configured and running, we can now set up the SnapMirror relationship to the third NetApp system. However, you should pair NetApp 2 and NetApp 3 and ensure that the proper SnapVault Mirrors (SVMs) are available and paired as well. In addition, create a DP Volume on the NetApp 3 SVM, which will be used as the destination target for the SnapMirror volume.

NOTE: Veeam assumes no warranty for any command. These commands should only be used as a reference. Exercise CAUTION when working in any production environment. All commands should be modified (cluster, volume, vservernames, etc.) to fit in your environment.

After the volume is created, you can create the SnapMirror policy and the SnapMirror relationship:

To create the SnapMirror policy run:

snapmirror policy create -vserver SVMNFS03 -policy VeeamSM -tries 8 -transfer-priority normal -ignore-atime false -restart always -type async-mirror

Add the rule to mirror all source snapshots: all_source_snapshots. This is mandatory, otherwise you will get an error that the SnapMirror label was not found:

snapmirror policy add-rule -vserver SVMNFS03 -policy VeeamSM -snapmirror-label all_source_snapshots -keep 1
snapmirror policy show

SnapMirror relation creation and initialization:

snapmirror create -source-path RLPNFS02:RLPNFS01_NFSVAULT_vault -destination-path SVMNFS03:RLPNFS03_NFSVAULT_mirror -type DP -throttle unlimited -identity-preserve false -vserver SVMNFS03 -policy VeeamMirror

snapmirror initialize -destination-path SVMNFS03:RLPNFS03_NFSVAULT_mirror

snapmirror modify -destination-path SVMNFS03:RLPNFS03_NFSVAULT_mirror -schedule 5min

snapmirror show

You can also check the SnapMirror relationship within the NetApp System Manager on the third NetApp to get the following screen view:
6Now that the SnapMirror relation has been initialized and running (in our case, every 5 minutes), check the Veeam interface to verify that snapshots on the third NetApp platform are available for restores.

Your Veeam interface should look similar to this:
7As you can see, all three NetApp systems are available, as well as the three volumes. When browsing the volumes on RLPEDGE02 and RLPEDGE03, we see the same number of available snapshots (one snapshot is the baseline image).
8With the configuration complete, we now have a cascaded SnapVault to SnapMirror relationship from which all Veeam restore capabilities can be used. One of the benefits of the direct integration Veeam provides is the ability to directly restore from array-based snapshots.

In the example below, we illustrate how an administrator can browse our NetApp system RLPEDGE03, view the VMs within that snapshot and perform all of the great recovery options that Veeam has available. In summary, this scenario illustrates how we’ve executed a single NetApp snapshot, which has been cascaded down to our tertiary device where we’re able to perform recovery. This process drastically reduces the load placed on the production environment during backup and recovery operations, which in turn, increases the RTPO for our applications and services.

What about Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots?

Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots is a unique technology that optimizes VM backup by leveraging Storage Snapshots as a source for the Veeam data stream. In the scenario that was just explained, you can fully leverage Veeam Backup from Storage Snapshots from the primary or secondary NetApp ONTAP storage device. Veeam orchestrates all the snapshots processes across these two storage systems.
10To complete the cascade process, and as mentioned earlier, the SnapMirror relation toward the third NetApp ONTAP system is handled by the data protection engine of ONTAP, and is not a part of Veeam orchestration.

Datacenter 4.0 – A reference architecture with Cisco, NetApp and Veeam

Today’s business relies on the IT department more than ever. The Internet of Everything (IoE) now requires a fully functioning datacenter to avoid business grinding to a halt, products not reaching the market and services disappearing. It is impossible to meet all user, customer or partner expectations without a fully functioning datacenter, which is the driving force for organizations to modernize and optimize their IT resources.

An important part of this modernization is standardizing predictable, repeatable and very stable data center reference architectures.

The reference architecture defines a technology design and deployment that addresses the specific requirements of a business need. This includes the blueprint and best practices for installation and configuration, which all work together in the most optimal state. The reference architecture defines which specific technologies and products are combined and how address them in a particular use case. The reference architecture is a template solution for enterprise IT.Read More »

Cisco Live – Number one Datacenter conference

https://i0.wp.com/www.ciscolive.com/us/wp-content/themes/cisco-live-2016/library/img/logo.pngThis year Cisco Live has some very interesting and new topics to discover. When I joined Cisco Live 2016 EMEA in Berlin earlier this year I had the feeling that it is still number one Networking conference in EMEA (would say that 80% network). Now you could say, “yea, that’s what it should be”, but I would say “yes and no”, because Cisco is much more than just Network, ACI and IoT.

Years ago Cisco started to be not just an Network company. With Cisco UCS they became a data center company and started to deliver high-quality dc equimpent. Together with NetApp and the FlexPod this became even bigger.
Now this year in march Cisco announced their first and very unique Hyper-Converged system, Cisco Hyperflex, which is the first solution to offer a whole data center stack including storage, network, virtualization and server performance.

Because of that I would say that Cisco Live is not longer just an Network conference. It is going to be the number 1 data center conference in the next couple of years.

The next Cisco Live will be July 10-14 in Las Vegas, US and here you can find some reasons why you should attend (official copy from here, copyright, by Cisco):

Immerse yourself in five days of sessions and specialty programs on topics such as Cloud, Collaboration, Data Center, Mobility, Network Infrastructure, Security, SP, and SDN.

World of Solutions
Catch up with your existing IT suppliers, view demos, and explore the latest solutions from Cisco and the industry’s top vendors in the World of Solutions.

Free certification
Validate your skills with a free Cisco Certification exam.

A personalized experience
Learn in the format that works for you, from traditional breakout sessions to labs and technical seminars, and customize your learning through our Learning Paths.

Hands-on learning
Get hands-on Cisco training in interactive labs, technical seminars, and Walk-In-Self Paced labs.

The Internet of Things
Learn what the Internet of Things is all about in the Cisco Campus through demos and connected experiences.

Meet with colleagues from around the world to share ideas and insights – including the chance to connect with your peers at the Social Media Hub.

After you have registered for Cisco Live you can schedule your sessions here.
Don’t miss to attend our Veeam session and stop at our booth. I’ll be

I will be there as well to meet up with you and talk about all the nice things happening in Industry. Let me know if you’re around and we can have a nice chat. Ping me on Twitter with @rennerstefan.

Named as NetApp A-Team member

2016-04-05 09_37_56-Introducing the NetApp A-Team EMEA Chapter - NetApp Community

I’m very proud that today I was named as a NetApp A-Team member for the EMEA chapter of NetApps Advocates group.

What is the NetApp A-Team?
A group of Advocates of NetApp solutions.

Below you can find some additional, NetApp official, information’s about the NetApp A-Team EMEA chapter (Copyright by NetApp, for full post click here)

Community overview
Like-minded and outspoken in their passion for all things NetApp, the NetApp A-Team members leverage social media to tell their stories.

Join a community of  NetApp Experts that are passionate about our industry and share your knowledge and expertise as part of a select group. By joining the NetApp A-Team EMEA Group you will:

  • Be connected with NetApp Experts and Peers
  • Be recognized as the NetApp Ambassador in your region
  • Join the conversation and stay updated with major news
  • Raise your voice and get connected with NetApp Social Media Channels


  • Invitations to meet 1:1 with high-level NetApp executives and subject matter experts
  • Opportunities to participate in product launches and industry events
  • Exclusive NDA briefings on new products and roadmaps
  • Industry recognition as NetApp experts

How are the A-Team EMEA members selected?

  • NetApp identifies potential members  that meet the community criteria
  • Partner can proactively nominate themselves by contacting the NetApp team

Who is eligible to be a Member?
Partners are selected to participate in the program based on their level of passion for NetApp products and solutions, their technical expertise, and their influence in the “socialsphere”.

Don’t forget to tag your tweets with @NetAppATeam #ATeamEMEA 

Cisco LIVE US – Session scheduler is open

2016-05-04 10_20_14-Session Catalog - Cisco Live US 2016

Yesterday Cisco opened the session scheduler for this year Cisco Live US in Las Vegas. Don’t miss to schedule your sessions as soon as possible as the free seats will fill up quickly.

Please follow the link to schedule your sessions: Cisco Session Scheduler

Some recommended sessions from my side are:

Learn How to HyperFlex YOUR Virtualization and Availability Muscles with Cisco’s Hyperconverged Systems and Veeam! PCSZEN-3000
UCS Storage Integration, Technologies, and Topologies BRKCOM-2007
Enabling Edge Analytics BRKDGT-1261
Enterprise Networks: The Platform for Digital INTGEN-1002
Advanced Storage Area Network Design BRKSAN-2883
Cisco Nexus 9000 Architecture BRKARC-2222
Cisco Executive Discuss the the Internet of Things (IoT) DEVNET-1038
Cisco Data Protection Architectures BRKARC-2018
ACI Real World Deployment CCSACI-3000
Virtual Managed Services (vMS) PSOSPG-2001
How Digitization is Transforming Cities PSODGT-1255
Introduction to Cisco HyperFlex Systems PSODCN-2375
UCS Director Enables Storage SDN BRKDCT-2498
Hyper-converged Computing BRKCOM-1125

Don’t miss our Veeam session. Let me know if you plan to be at the conference and we can organize a nice chat to talk about Veeam and Cisco.

Join the vSphere Beta Programm

VMware is recently announced the upcoming VMware vSphere Beta Program. This program enables you to help define the direction of the most widely adopted industry-leading virtualization platform. Folks who want to participate in the program can now indicate their interest by filling out this simple form. The vSphere team will grant access to the program to selected candidates in stages. This vSphere Beta Program leverages a private Beta community to download software and share information. We will provide discussion forums, webinars, and service requests to enable you to share your feedback with us.

You can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment or get invited to try new features in a VMware hosted environment. All testing is free-form and we encourage you to use our software in ways that interest you. This will provide us with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling us to better align our product with your business needs.

Some of the many reasons to participate in this beta opportunity:

  • Receive early access to the vSphere Beta products
  • Interact with the vSphere Beta team consisting of Product Managers, Engineers, Technical Support, and Technical Writers
  • Provide direct input on product functionality, configurability, usability, and performance
  • Provide feedback influencing future products, training, documentation, and services
  • Collaborate with other participants, learn about their use cases, and share advice and learnings