SnapProtect questions? I have answers…

Last week, we unveiled our latest offering:  SnapProtect.

There was a lot of shock-and-awe concern and excitement, as well as a lot of what I like to call “unicorns and rainbows” theorycrafting going on, some positive, some negative-nancy.  What I’m going to do here is post a sort of FAQ based on some questions received in the communities, and if you have further questions, we can continue those into the comments below, and I will go straight to the source to get answers if I cannot answer them myself.  Big thanks go out to Glenn Miller and Vaughn Stewart for helping me pull all this info together and share it with you.

You can also log your questions over in the NetApp communities here:

You can find the new TR, “SnapProtect Overview and Design Considerations” here:


So without further adieu, let’s dive in to the meat of what you came to read.

So, SnapProtect is the all-in-one solution that replaces SMVI, SMO/Exch/SQL and local snapshots for NAS volumes, in a one-pane-of-glass management solution with SnapMirror and SnapVault integration. Right? This sounds to good to be true…

In a word? Yes.

I still need DFM/ProtMan/ProvMan? Why? Can’t SnapProtect do the updates for me, after I create any mirror/vault relationships myself? DFM gives me very limited options in how to create those relationships and manages them really poorly. How does SnapProtect copy a specific SnapVault snapshot to tape if that snapshot is not created by itself but by PM instead? It would make SnapProtect a real one-in-all solution if it could also manage mirror and vault relations and their retentions, without the need for DFM.

SnapProtect only requires OpsMgr/Protection Manager and mostly only uses Protection Manager as a sort of SDK for making storage provisioning and replication requests. The only time the user needs to directly interface with Protection Manager is to create and manage the resource pools that SnapProtect uses for secondary storage. SnapProtect automagically provisions secondary volumes and qtrees for SnapVault or SnapMirror when new clients are added to storage policies. This is actually pretty slick. SnapProtect creates and deletes all snapshots and directly triggers all replication. For this reason, SnapProtect has no problem going from snapshot to SnapVault to Tape.

Do I still need SnapDrive? To create a consistent LUN snapshot, with or without a database on it, I need a VSS Hardware provider, like SnapDrive. Is it still required? If no, how is this tackled? Does SnapProtect have its own VSS Hardware Provider? Oh, and are there any required windows hotfixes, like the immense list for windows 2003?

SnapDrive is not required. SnapProtect has its own VSS HW provider.

Does SnapProtect still require a specific volume/qtree/lun layout for SQL, Exchange and Oracle? Is that layout comparable to the requirements of SMO/SMSQL/SMExch? Why/why not? Does SnapProtect also have the very usefull migration wizards?

There are no migration wizards, such as the Configuration Wizard in SME.  This was built into SME due to the inherent requirement of remote storage.  Maybe it’s best to understand that SnapProtect doesn’t care about this sort of thing, meaning we can now support backups of VM’s running these applications with VMDK’s running in ESX datastores.  (Hope that makes sense?)   In other words, comparing this to the SnapManager products is an apples to oranges comparison, and should not be equated that way.  As far as specific disk layouts required?  No.

What about compatibility and interoperability? SMO on Windows does not work with SnapVault. SMVI does not work with SnapVault without scripting. SMSQL has VMDK support, but not with PM/SnapVault integration. And what if I set up a separate mirror/vault network interface? I’m still having issues with that with current snap* solutions. Are all (and I mean really all) integrations supported by SnapProtect? Are the latest versions of Exchange, SQL, Oracle, VMware ESX, Sharepoint etc supported? I read there is currently no ONTAP 8 support?? You can’t bring a product to market without it! That just makes no sense.

First, ONTAP 8.0.1 7-mode support is right around the corner.  It is currently being qualified.

Second, a lot of work went into adding SnapVault and SnapMirror support to the application snapshot capabilities that were already available from CommVault with Simpana 9.  We support BOTH replication engines as well as varying cascades and fan-out configurations.  I’m not aware of any networking configuration restrictions.  There is an interoperability matrix you could use for specifics on the NOW site, but for the most part, the latest versions of the popular tier 1 apps are all supported.

We have listened.  We realize these have all always been pain points.  SnapProtect is here to answer those pain points.

I will also add that there have been a lot of questions about positioning, cannibalizing other products, etc.  And I wanted to set the record straight around who is supposed to do what and which product, etc.

  1. SnapProtect is positioned to be our primary tool for backing up solutions running on VMware, Citrix, and enterprise-wide backup opportunities.  This includes vCloud Director, its database(s), and all underlying tenants.  Cataloguing, cascade and fan-out Vault & Mirror relationships, in a single GUI.  This is it.  If your shop is new to NetApp, or looking to beef-up your current backup ways-and-means, you can’t pass up looking at SnapProtect.  Oh, and it will do all the old traditional physical stuff as well.  Oh, and V-series is supported in front of 3rd party arrays.  I’m not kidding, guys.  This is the all-in-one you’ve been asking for.
  2. SnapManager for X is our primary tool for backing up solutions running on Hyper-V and also will continue to be used in shops where the SnapManagers are used for more than just B/R.  Cloning, test/dev, etc, I personally still see the SnapManagers for Exch/SQL/SharePoint/SAP/etc having a strong play here.
  3. SnapCreator is a technology enablement tool, somewhat like the Data Ontap Powershell Toolkit, and will be promoted as a tool that enables one when there are no solutions.  Personally, I see this gaining traction in the Linux shops by people who live-and-die at the CLI, and like having the control of granular configuration.  It really is a brilliant product.  It was originally created for the community, by the community, and will continue to be developed and QA’ed internal at NetApp, with heavy community participation.

If I didn’t cover all concerns, please let me know!  I want this to be a very interactive post, so please don’t be shy!



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