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Netapp SnapManager for SQL


Netapp SnapManager for SQL

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David Benoit
David Benoit
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That is the same technology.

We have halted our snapshot processes during some of our index maintenance but not all. It should work unaffected. If nothing else I would decrease frequency if you are doing very frequent snapshots. Pretty easy to do if you have the snapshots being executed via a SQL job as you can add a schedule that is specific for your maintenance window.

Hope this helps.

David

@SQLTentmaker

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Indianrock
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Thanks David. I'd like to hear more about this idea that Netapp may abandon snapmanager. Last Sunday we successfully took a final backup of our databases, shut down production and brought up the DR sql server. Our storage guy, who is still pretty new to all of this, had to manually point and click to bring the luns online. Then I had to attach all of the databases myself -- something I thought snapmanager would do. Not a big deal since I scripted the attachment process.

Next he needs to learn powershell and how to script bringing up the DR filer so that can happen quicker. One 3 TB "piece of disk real estate" containing scanned images didn't come online even though we thought it was being snapped along with the data files.

One of the most difficult/frustrating things is the use of terms like backup, restore etc since they don't necessarily mean the same things in the storage world. The backups do seem to be "backups" since they write to the sql log, but given that they occur in under two minutes for roughly 3 TB of databases they are only capturing the "deltas" and not in any way the same as a sql database backup which would take hours.



David Benoit
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It is true that NetApp is abandoning SnapManager in favor of CommVault's Intellisnap. We are in the process of migrating to the same. Planning stages at present. I'll certainly get back with feedback once I have something intelligent to add. Smile

As to the snaps being backups, they kind of are. You are correct that they are snapping deltas at the storage level but they put that all together to be capable of actually restoring that to SQL in the same sense as we would understand that and even allow for KEEP_REPLICATION option to be passed in as a valid input parameter. Not sure about all the details as I haven't gone too far into it but I have tested that functionality as it is a critical piece for us. CV's Intellisnap will allow for the same functionality.

I do know that the CV product Intellisnap is recognized by multiple storage vendors including NetApp, Hitachi and EMC. I'm sure the other big names are on the list as well. If that is the direction that you are heading then it seems like you will be in good hands. Not sure if NetApp is recommending anything different at this point though.

Should be fun.... Smile

David

@SQLTentmaker

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It would be interesting to see something in black on white on the fact that intellisnap will replace snapmanager. Especially since we've been agitating for some training on snapmanger, and version 6 of snapmanager was just released. We've used commvault for tape backups for years. but no longer write production sql backups to tape.



David Benoit
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Agreed. I don't have anything but vendor communication. Hopefully the post you put up on the NetApp forum will get some feedback.

David

@SQLTentmaker

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose” - Jim Elliot
martinj 39523
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-Disclosure NetApp Employee-

To paraphrase Mark Twain, "The rumours of the death of snapmanager, have been greatly exaggerated".

While NetApp works very closely with CommVault and OEM portions of their technology for our SnapProtect product, NetApp continues to make significant investments in the development of all of our Snapmanagers, including SnapManager for SQL Server.

The audience/usecase focus for Snapmanagers and SnapProtect are slightly different, and while this isnt the place for a full explanation, generally SnapProtect is developed with Backup Administrators as it's primary audience, and includes full tracking of a backup workflow all the way to tape. SnapManagers on the other hand are developed with Database administrators as its primary audience and includes D/R workflows.

There's a lot more to it than that, and I'd be happy to contribute more to this thread, or help start another one if anybody wants a more detailed breakdown on the usecases. It's worth noting, that these products, and the alliance relationships we have with IBM and Symantec all form part of a larger Integrated Data Protection (IDP), program, and if you're interested you should be able to get a full briefing from one of NetApp's data protection focusses consuting systems engineers.

The latest Snapmanager for Windows have just gone into Beta, and there is a strong roadmap for future releases.

More information on SnapProtect can be found here - http://www.netapp.com/au/products/protection-software/snapprotect.aspx

Regards
John Martin
Principal Technologist - NetApp ANZ
@johnmartinit
David Benoit
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John - Thank you for taking the time to update the thread with this information. I personally appreciate vendors input on this site and appreciate you providing correction in regards to the CV / NetApp relationship. My apologies in the misrepresentation that I shared.

I'll definitely check out the link you shared and if you have other information pertinent to this thread, please feel free to share.

Thanks again.

David

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David,
no apologies are necessary, our data protection strategy does look confusing from the outside and I think we could do a better job of explaining it to avoid the confusion.

There are some really interesting longer-term developments in infrastructure automation where we expect applications like SQL server to make requests for storage resources independently of the storage admin or DBA.

Imagine if the database, based on the code of a stored procedure, was able to provide hints or explicit instructions to the storage layer about which parts of the database are about to become hot, and then the storage array was able to proactively move indexes, columns etc into solid-state storage close to the CPU of the database engine. NetApp does a pretty good job of that today by dynamically recognizing workload patterns in real time and making intelligent guesses about what will be asked for next, but it could be a lot more efficient/aggressive with the right kind of supporting information. In order to do that there needs to be something that understands the layout of both the database, and the supporting storage resources.

I'm not saying that this is a feature of an upcoming SnapManager release, but it's this kind of thing that means we will invest in storage and data management software like SnapManager for SQL for the foreseeable future.

Regards
John Martin
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I've been using SnapManager for the last year after inheriting it with the job. It works great ... when it works. SnapDrive is a moderately unstable dependancy of SnapManager, and we seem to lose a SnapDrive installation at least weekly across 120 or so servers. A repair installation is then required, and it all comes back just peachy-keen. Also, SnapDrive has a 2 TB limitation on the backing volume for any LUN. This limitation thankfully went away with SnapDrive 6.5, however came back once we upgraded vSphere to version 5.1. Some form of interoperability issue. It has killed our ability to use NetApp Snap products to clone or restore our most critical databases. The folks at vSphere indicate this is fixed in vCenter 5.5, but it's an upgrade we're likely to be studying for another month or more, wondering what else will bite us.

We use SnapManager as part of a 5 tier backup/recovery system. When it works, it's fast and efficient and usually the first method of recovery we attempt. However we cover our other bases as well, by also taking traditional full backups + differentials and frequent t-log backups. We also use NetApps to mirror our data drives and t-log backups to a remote data center, as well as snapshotting our RDM volumes datastores frequently and snapshotting our vmdks datastores in vSphere frequently. Finally, we push the traditional backups to tape nightly, and ship them to the bank. We have discovered corrupted snapshots when testing our SnapManager backups, and had to fail to other recovery tiers before. Frankly, I would not put all my eggs in any single basket, as each of the methods I've detailed above have failed at one time or another. I suppose my point is, SnapManger is not a replacement for traditional backups or DR methods, but can be used to augment them, providing a fast and efficient path to recovery ... when it works.
Elaine Woodward
Elaine Woodward
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We have been using SMSQL for several years but find it a flaky backup agent - for example if a database is added or removed, or is changed from full to simple mode, theSMSQL snap backup simply fails. The only way to change the job is edit via SQL or delete the job within SMSQl and recreate. Netapp support is weak on resolving our issues
Previously we used EMC Networker SQL agent and this worked - regardless of whether databases had been deleted or amended in any way
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