New in Clustered ONTAP – Improved Single File Restore (Think quick VM level recoveries)

I met a relatively new NetApp customer a few weeks back for discussing the best practices around vSphere and NetApp. While going through the some of the stuff, he brought up a point around VSC Backup & Recovery (SMVI) that when he tried restoring a complete Datastore from a NetApp Snapshot backup, he found it to be much faster than restoring a VM from the same Snapshot. I explained to him that while the Datastore restore utilizes SnapRestore which simply reverts the pointers of the volume to a previous point in time resulting in near-instantaneous restores, the VM restore utilizes something called Single File SnapRestore (SFSR) which copies back the files from the snapshot copy to the Active File System.

So the time taken to restore a single VM is dependent upon the size of the VM. I also shared with him a great workaround to achieve instant restores of VM by mounting the backup through VSC, adding the VM in the mounted backup to the inventory, powering it on and using Storage vMotion to move it wherever one wants. My colleague Keith Aasen (also a fellow Canadian) has documented the process here

While the above process is great for instant restores, wouldn’t it be nice if the SFSR process itself was faster?

Why not?

Continue reading

The Dilemma of Evaluating Storage for VMware

As a Consulting Systems Engineer focused on Virtualization, I get to meet a lot of Customers and Prospects that are evaluating storage solution for Virtualization, Cloud, Business Critical Applications etc. A lot of times, with so many options available in the Storage Industry with confusingly similar messages, this is how a Technology Evaluator looks at things.

Is this how you see it too? Believe it or not, this is the situation that some vendors work towards!

As we know, the devil is in the details. When a Technical Evaluator finds himself in this situation, there are specific questions that he/she can ask each vendor to get a clearer picture. I have tried to put a list below without a specific order.

Continue reading