Advanced Snapshots - SnapProtect for VMware

Table of Contents

Managing Snapshots

The snapshots of the data created by the SnapProtect backup are also available for various other operations like list, mount, unmount, or delete.

List Snapshots

The browse operation provides the capability to see the snapshots created for an agent, job, or a snapshot copy. The list of the snapshots displayed is corresponding to the entity selected for the browse operation, for e.g., browsing the snapshots for an agent will display all the snapshots created for the selected agent. You can view volume or disk related information for the snapshots. Follow the steps given below to browse snapshots.
  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | VMware vCenter Client | VMware.
  2. Right-click <backup set> and click All Tasks | List Snaps.

    The Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box appears.

  1. The Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box displays a list of all the snapshots created for the selected subclient. It also displays important information about each snapshot, including the source mount path, snap mount path, the storage array, and the source client.
    • Right-click the snapshot and click Details to view the snapshot properties.
    • Click the Disk View tab to display the snapshot name, e.g. SP_2_79_1286222629.

Mount Snapshots

You can mount any available snapshot to access the data included in the snapshot. Follow the steps below to mount snapshots:

When mounting multiple snapshots, note the following:

  • You can mount snapshots from different jobs
  • The snapshots selected for mounting should belong to the same agent (such as Windows file system, UNIX file system, or VMware).
  • Snapshots should be mounted on a MediaAgent with the same operating system as the snapshot volumes. For example, Windows volumes should be mounted on a Windows MediaAgent, and Linux volumes should be mounted on a Linux MediaAgent.
  • There are no limits on the number of snapshots to be mounted. However, increasing the number of snapshots that are selected also increases the time for mounting the snapshots.
  • For Virtual Server Agent (VSA), mount snapshots from the backup set or subclient level. Mounting snapshots from the storage policy is not supported.
  • For VMware, mounting multiple snapshots of the same volume at the same time is not supported.

If required, you can configure the following additional settings:

  • If the niSCSIEnable additional setting is configured, SnapProtect backup will always try to mount using iSCSI method. If this additional setting is not configured, SnapProtect backup tries to mount using the FC method first.
  • By default the snapshot will be exposed to the first Host Bus Adapter (HBA) on the ESX Server. To expose the snapshot to a specific HBA, configure the sPortInfo additional setting.

To mount a snapshot:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | <vcenter_client> | VMware.
  2. Right-click the backup set and click All Tasks | List Snaps.
  3. From the Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box, right-click the snapshot that you wish to mount and select Mount.

    To select multiple snapshots, hold the <Shift> key and select the snapshots to be mounted.

    You can also open the Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box by right-clicking the snapshot copy in a storage policy; but if you open the dialog box by this method, you can only view the list of snapshots and cannot mount the snapshots.

  4. Click Yes to confirm the mount operation.
  5. Click OK on the Mount path dialog box.

    By default, the snapshot will be mounted on the ESX server configured for SnapProtect backup. The ESX Server name and Logon account will be displayed in the Mount Path dialog box.  If you want to mount the snapshot to a different ESX server, click Override Default Selection check box and click Select ESX server for snap mount. In the Browse ESX Server dialog box, select the required ESX server and click OK.

    By default the snapshot will be exposed to the first Host Bus Adapter (HBA) on the ESX Server. To expose the snapshot to a specific HBA, configure the sPortInfo additional setting.

    The following message will be displayed when the mount operation completes.

    Mount Operation Completed Successfully.

  6. Click OK.
  7. Click Close  on the Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box.

Unmount Snapshots

Follow the steps given below to Unmount Snapshots:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | VMware vCenter Client | VMware.
  2. Right-click <backup set> and click All Tasks | List Snaps.

    The Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box appears.

  1. Right-click the snapshot you wish to unmount and click Unmount.

    To select multiple snapshots, hold <Shift> key and select the snapshots to be mounted.

  2. Click Yes when prompted if you want to continue.

If the snapshot does not get unmounted, select the Force Unmount option to mark the snapshot as unmounted.

Delete Snapshots

Snapshots can either be deleted using job-based pruning or from the list of displayed snapshots when browsing snapshots. Data Aging can also be used to define the retention rules and pruning of snapshots. Follow the steps given below to delete snapshots:

  • Manual deletion of snapshots is not recommended. When a snapshot is deleted, it is no longer possible to perform data recovery operations from the snapshot copy. However, if a backup copy was created from the snapshot, data recovery operations can be performed from the backup copy.
  • Ensure that the snapshot to be deleted is not mounted.
  • For NetApp E-series PiT engine, the order to delete snapshots should be the oldest snapshot first.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | VMware vCenter Client | VMware.
  2. Right-click <backup set> and click All Tasks | List Snaps.

    The Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box appears.

  1. Right-click the snapshot you wish to delete.

    Ensure all snapshots with the same Job ID are selected for a successful deletion operation.

  2. Click Delete.
  3. Enter the confirmation text string, erase snapshots.
  4. Click OK.

Force Delete

The force delete operation is useful when a client, subclient, or a storage policy copy has been deleted or when a source MediaAgent computer is unavailable and you want to delete snapshots from the CommCell database. The force-deleted snapshots are not moved to tape and are not deleted on the array.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | VMware vCenter Client | VMware.
  2. Right-click <backup set> and click All Tasks | List Snaps.

    The Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box appears.

  1. Right-click the snapshot to select it to force delete.
  2. Click Force Delete.
  3. Enter the confirmation text string, force erase snapshots.
  4. Click OK.

Snap Reconciliation

Snapshots may be deleted from the array due to factors like low disk space on the array, number of snapshots exceeds the threshold etc., and the jobs corresponding to these deleted snapshots can no longer be used for any data recovery or backup copy operations. You can use the nRunSnapRecon additional setting to start snap reconciliation to check for missing snapshots once in every 24 hours and marks jobs corresponding to the missing snapshots as invalid.

Revert a Virtual Machine from a Snapshot

You can revert the virtual machine from a snapshot. The revert operation is faster than the regular restore operation because files are directly copied from the snapshot to their original volumes. It is useful when you want to bring the data back to the point-in-time when the snapshot was taken. This operation overwrites any modifications to the data since the time when the snapshot was created. This option is available if the storage array that you are using support revert.

Revert operations for a virtual machine are supported on NetApp File Servers, but reverts from SnapVault or SnapMirror snapshots are supported only with SnapProtect Service Pack 10 or higher, and for NetApp cluster mode (ONTAP version 8.3) and OnCommand unified manager (OCUM) version 6.2 or higher. Other file servers are not supported. To perform a revert operation, the SnapRestore license is required on the NetApp file server.

Before performing a revert operation, ensure that all disks reside on the NetApp NFS data store. If the data does not reside on the NetApp NFS data store, you cannot perform the revert operation.

Review the following before performing a revert operation:

On Windows clients, disable automount using the following command:

diskpart> automount disable

Reverting a virtual machine from a snapshot is an irreversible operation. Verify the contents of the backup before performing a revert operation.

  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | VMware vCenter Client | VMware.
  2.  Right-click <backup set> and click All Tasks | Browse and Restore.
  3. Click OK on the Restore Options dialog box.
  4. Select the virtual machine that you want to revert and click Recover All Selected.
  5. From the Restore Options dialog box, click Advanced.
  6. Select the Use hardware revert capability if available option.
  7. Click Yes to confirm the revert operation.
  8. Click the Copy Precedence tab and select the number of the storage policy copy to use for restoring data.
  9. Click OK from the Advanced Restore Options dialog box.
  10. Click OK to start the revert operation.

If you are using ONTAP version 8.3 and OCUM 6.2, revert is supported from the secondary snap for restores on NFS volumes.

Application Aware Backups

When performing SnapProtect backups using the Virtual Server Agent (VSA), you can choose several options to ensure application and data consistency:

  • Quiesce the file system and applications to pause activity on virtual machines while a hardware snapshot is created.
  • Perform an application aware backup to ensure application consistency for SQL Server and Exchange database applications.
  • Truncate database logs to ensure that database transaction logs are backed up and then truncated as part of an application aware backup.

You can restore a virtual machine from a VSA backup, including all applications running on the virtual machine. (To back up and restore specific databases, use an application agent)

Database Log Truncation

When you are using Virtual Server Agent to create the snapshot of a Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Exchange database running on a virtual machine, you can truncate the database log after creating the snapshot.

Requirements: Virtual Machines with SQL Server

A virtual machine running SQL Server must have the following software installed to support snapshots:

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and higher
  • VMware Tools (latest version); see http://downloads.vmware.com/ for more information.
  • VSS Provider (listed under the File System platform)

  • The SQL Server user on the virtual machine must have syadmin permissions.
  • The user account for backups must have read/write permissions to the Job Results folder in the guest SQL Server virtual machine.
  • The Job Results folder must have enough space to accommodate generated log backups until cleanup, which occurs with the next backup job.
  • If a SQL Server iDataAgent is installed on the virtual machine, log truncation is not performed.
  • If multiple SQL Server instances are defined on a virtual machine, the user account provided for impersonation should have access to all instances.

Requirements: Virtual Machines with Microsoft Exchange

A virtual machine running Microsoft Exchange must have the following software installed to support snapshots:

In an Exchange DAG environment, logs are truncated only on the Exchange database that is active on a virtual machine during backup of the virtual machine.

Configuring Application Aware Backups and Log Truncation

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers > virtualization_client > Virtual Server > VMware > backup_set.
  2. Right-click the subclient and select Properties.
  3. On the Subclient Properties dialog, click the Backup Options tab and perform the following actions:
    1. Select the Quiesce Guest File Systems and Applications check box.
    2. Select the Application aware backup for item based recovery option.
    3. Select the Truncate Database Logs option to prune database logs that are no longer needed and prevent them from growing to an unmanageable size. This is recommended.

When you perform the SnapProtect backup of the virtual machine, the database logs are backed up and then truncated.

Log truncation is not performed if the client name for the virtual machine in the CommCell Console does not match the virtual machine name in the VMware inventory. To resolve this issue, use the CommCell Console to rename the virtual machine client to match the name used in the VMware inventory.

Verifying SnapProtect Backups

You can verify a backup to ensure that you can restore the virtual machine.

The recovery verification recreates the virtual machine to ensure backed up application and data are available as expected.

Mount the snapshot

  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | VMware vCenter Client | VMware.
  2. Right-click <backup set> and click All Tasks | List Snaps.

    The Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box appears.

  1. From the Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box, right-click the snapshot that you wish to mount and select Mount.
  2. Click Yes to confirm the mount operation.
  3. Click OK on the Mount path dialog box.

    By default, the snapshot will be mounted on the ESX server configured for SnapProtect backup. The ESX Server name and Logon account will be displayed in the Mount Path dialog box.  To mount the snapshot to a different ESX server, click Override Default Selection check box and click Select ESX server for snap mount. In the Browse ESX Server dialog box, select the required ESX server and click OK.

    By default the snapshot will be exposed to the first Host Bus Adapter (HBA) on the ESX Server. To expose the snapshot to a specific HBA, configure the sPortInfo additional setting.

    The following message will be displayed when the mount operation completes.

    Mount Operation Completed Successfully.

  4. Click OK.
  5. Click Close  on the Snaps created during SnapProtect operation dialog box.

Browse the Data

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computer | <VMware vCenter Client> | Virtual Server | VMware.

    Right-click the backupset that contains the data you want to restore and click Browse and Restore.

  2. Click View Content on the Restore Options dialog box.

Browse New Datastore and Register the Virtual Machine

  1. Click the virtual machine you want to register and click the Summary tab to see the datastore name.
  2. Click the ESX server you selected in Step 4, and click the Storage option.
  3. Identify the new datastore created after mounting the snapshot and register the virtual machine. The new datastore will have the following name:

    [OriginalDatastoreName]_GX_BACKUP_[BackupJobID]

  4. Specify a name for the virtual machine.

Verify the Data Using VI Client

  1. Right-click the virtual machine and select Edit Settings. Click Network adapters.
  2. Clear the Connect at power on checkbox in the Virtual Machine Properties dialog box for all the available network adapters.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Turn on the virtual machine.
  5. Click the Summary tab and select the I moved it option.
  6. Login to the virtual machine and verify the applications and data.
  7. After verification is complete, power off the virtual machine.
  8. Right-click the virtual machine and select the Remove from inventory option.

Unmount the Snapshot

  1. From the CommCell Browser, right-click the entity that contains the snapshots you want to browse, click All Tasks | List Snaps.
  2. In the Snaps created during SnapProtect operation, right-click the snapshot that you wish to unmount and select Unmount.

Using a Separate Proxy for Backup Copy

A backup copy operation provides the capability to copy snapshots of the data to any media. By default, the snapshot will be mounted on the ESX server that you have selected for the Snapshot mount. Follow the steps given below if you want to mount the snapshot on a different proxy computer during the backup copy operation:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | virtualization_client | VMware | backup_set.
  2. Right click the subclient configured for SnapProtect backup and select Properties.
  3. Click SnapProtect Operations tab.

    By default, the snapshot will be mounted on the ESX server specified in the Host box.

  4. Select the Use Separate Proxy for Backup Copy check box. 
  5. Select a proxy computer from the Proxy list. This list displays all the computers where Virtual Server iDataAgent and MediaAgent is installed.
  6. Click OK.

The snapshot will mount on the specified proxy computer when you perform the backup copy operation.

Selecting a Job for Backup Copy

You can select a specific job for creating backup copy. Once selected, the Move Snap to Tape field for the specific job will be changed to Picked (i.e., the next backup copy operation will move this job to media).
  1. Right-click a storage policy containing SnapProtect backup jobs, and then click View Jobs.
  2. Right-click the job and then click Pick for Backup Copy.

Disabling a Job for Backup Copy

You can prevent a job from being moved to media. You can apply this option to those jobs that were previously selected for moving to media. On selecting this option, the Move Snap to Tape field for the specific job will be changed to Not Picked (i.e., the next backup copy operation will not move this job to media).
  1. Right-click a storage policy containing SnapProtect backup jobs and then click View Jobs.
  2. Right-click the job and then click Do not Backup Copy.