Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NetApp Insight: SMVI 2.0 In Depth

This is a little (alright, it's a lot) late but I still have a few Insight sessions to write up.  Jack McLeod gave a great presentation on SMVI 2.0 and best practices.  The presentation was very technical in nature and contained great information.

In case you aren't familiar, NetApp has a product called SMVI.  SMVI stands for Snap Manger for Virtual Infrastructure and this is the second version of the product.  SMVI is a software product that is loaded on a Windows server (the vCenter server as a best practice) and interacts with the vSphere server(s) to perform seamless snapshots of virtual machines in a state that can be recovered easily.

How is SMVI different from just taking a NetApp SnapShot? 

The difference is SMVI will communicate with vSphere to take a VMware Snapshot that ensures the virtual machine is in quiet state.  If you are using SnapMirror, SMVI has the ability to kick off the replication to a remote site from within the application as soon as the backup is complete.  In addition, SMVI contains the ability to perform single file restore and individual vmdk restores.  More information on the product can be found in the NetApp SMVI TR-3737.  This is currently for version 1.0 but will (hopefully) be updated for 2.0 shortly.

What are the major enhancements to SMVI 2.0 over the first version?

There are a few major enhancements to SMVI 2.0.  The full list can be found in the SMVI 2.0 Release Notes.
  • Single File & VMDK Restore - You can now restore individual files within a vmdk (Windows vm's only) as well as individual vmdk's from a SnapShot instead of restoring the entire volume
  • The ability to optionally include Independent Disks - In version 1.0, Independent Disks were ignored by SMVI
  • Trigger pre/post/failure scripts from the backup job
  • NetApp SnapShots created with SMVI now have a more consistent naming scheme
  • For virtual machines that span multiple datastores, SMVI now includes the ability to exclude certain datastores
  • Application consistency for VSS aware applications (provided by the VMware Snapshot)
  • VMware snapshots on a volume are now run in "groups" instead of sequentially trying to snapshot every vm on the volume one at a time.  This parameter can be modified.
  • The ability to NOT take a VMware Snapshot as part of the process.  This is currently necessary for integration with VMware SRM.  More on that in an upcoming SRM on NetApp article
  • Cleaner Interface with Wizards for better user experience
  • FlexClone license is needed for restore capability on NFS, SnapRestore license is needed for VMFS and NFS
SMVI 2.0 Recommended Best Practices
  • When installing SMVI and adding the storage, create an account on the storage subsystem for smvi use.  DO NOT USE ROOT.
  • Install SMVI on the vCenter Server.  If you have more than one vCenter server, install SMVI on each server.  Only one SMVI server per vCenter server is supported
  • Enable SSL communication on all Storage Systems to encrypt communications
  • Install the SMVI Repository and config files on shared storage for protection and easier recovery
  • Whenever possible, take datastore level snapshots to reduce the total number of snapshots
  • Be careful with aggressive DRS settings.  A vMotion during a virtual machine backup can lead to backup "implications"
SMVI 2.0 Limitations
  • Virtual Machines may reside on different datastores (NFS & VMFS), but all datastores must be on the same controller
  • SMVI does not support traditional volumes, NetApp FlexVols only
  • Virtual Machines must be restored to their original datastore
  • You can't restore a datastore that has been removed from vCenter
  • Only Volume SnapMirror is supported, Q-Tree SnapMirror is not supported
  • The SnapMirror relationship must already be created and the baseline transfer complete
  • SMVI will only initiate single path SnapMirror configurations
  • Restoration for virtual machines that span three or more VMFS datastores is not supported
  • SMVI can't take VMware snapshots of virtual machines that have iSCSI software LUNs with the Microsoft iSCSI initiator or NPIV RDM LUNs
  • Single File Restore is only available on Windows virtual machines currently
  • VMware SRM is not compatible with SMVI using VMware Snapshots.  This feature MUST be disabled for SRM to function


Anonymous said...

Hello Aaron,

could you please elaborate on the last point, "VMware SRM is not compatible with SMVI using VMware Snapshots. This feature MUST be disabled for SRM to function".

As far as I know, this is supported configuration for SMVI 1.2 in combination with SRM 4.0 ?


Aaron Delp said...

Peter, sure thing - This is actually going to be the topic of the post I'm currently writing. I hope to have it up tomorrow but it may be Friday before it happens.

I'm sorry but I'm not sure on SMVI 1.2 but I was told by multiple NetApp sources at Insight that SRM 4.0 will not work with a SMVI 2.0. It is currently an SRM 4.0 limitation.

SRM doesn't support recovery of vm's that have VMware Snapshots. Because of this limitation, the option was added to SMVI 2.0 to take a NetApp Snapshot WITHOUT the VMware snapshot first. The option is called "Perform VMware Consistent Snapshot" and it is a checkbox when the job is created.

By disabling the VMware snapshot, a NetApp SnapShot is presented to SnapMirror that is compatible with SRM 4.0.

All of this is on the raodmaps to be corrected in the future but that is the state of the products today.

I plan to do some testing in the lab early next year to play with this more.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Does SMVI single file recovery work with all topologies? (NFS, iSCSI, FCP)

Does it work with RDMs?

Does it require the host agent to be loaded always?

Anonymous said...

Does SMVI file level recovery require FlexClone?

Aaron Delp said...

To answer all the SMVI single file restore questions:

Yes, FlexClone is required for NFS datastores but it is optional for VMFS based datastores. If FlexClone isn't licensed on VMFS, then they will use LUN clones instead of FlexClone.

As I understand it, an agent is needed (I haven't tried it yet).

It will work with NFS, iSCSI, FCP.

SMVI does not work with RDM's.

J (Encrypted Flash Drive Guy) said...

I check all the enhancements and limitations of SMIVI 2.0 and improvements are really helpful. But SMVI 2.0 and prior have a limitation where it fails to MOUNT a backup that contains data stores that have the same first 24 characters. Does any solution exist for it?

USB said...

VSC 2.0.1 is better option to do the job rather than SMVI . VSC 2.0.1 is an integrated plug-in that includes storage console, provisioning and cloning capability (formerly RCU), backup and recovery capability (formerly SMVI) . VSC 2.0.1's main advantage lies in the fact that it is very easy to manage.

USB Encryption said...

VSC 2.0.1 is better option to do the job rather than SMVI . VSC 2.0.1 is an integrated plug-in that includes storage console, provisioning and cloning capability (formerly RCU), backup and recovery capability (formerly SMVI) . VSC 2.0.1's main advantage lies in the fact that it is very easy to manage.