SMVI: Snapmanager for VI

Last week Netapp released there first SMVI release. SMVI integrates VMware snapshots and Netapp snapshots to take consistent backups. To do this SMVI takes VMware snapshots before taking a snapshot of the volume on the Netapp.

Now you can backup your complete VMware infrastructure in seconds without putting any load on your storage or ESX servers. No need to have any additional hardware, your existing VMware and Storage infrastructure is sufficient. SMVI supports all types of storage connectivity, FC, iSCSI and NFS are all supported. It’s much easier then using VCB and much quicker as well

Kostadis Roussos is writing a series of blog posts about the technical background of SMVI. Check out his blog.

I’m not going in to detail about the installation of SMVI as it isn’t rocket science.

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The SMVI client login screen to connect to the SMVI server. There is also a CLI to administer your SMVI server.

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The getting started screen, with all steps to do in order to configure snapmanager.

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The Setup screen. First you have to add the Virtualcenter server of your VMware environment. At the moment you can only configure one VC server in SMVI. Hopefully this will change in future releases, especially in conjunction with Site Recovery Manager this would be usefully.

Secondly you have to add your storage systems. If there are snapmirror relations for your VMFS/NFS datastores configured you need to add the destination Netapp as well. Then you can initiate consistent snapmirror replication of your datastores.

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Once finished configuring SMIV it’s time to add some backup jobs.

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Give the backup job a name and description.

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Select the datastores which you want to backup. You can also tick the checkbox to “Initiate snapmirror update” then you replicate the consistent snapshot to your remote netapp.

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Configure the backup schedule.

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Add the user which will be used to do the backup. This user needs access to the VC server as it will need to create VMware snapshots on the VMs.

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Configure the retention scheme of your backups.

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The email notification settings screen.

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The backup job configuration is finished.x

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The backup schedule overview screen with our previously configured job.

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The backup job finished successfully, now we can do a restore.

When I tried restoring a VM which I deleted using the VI client SMVI wasn’t able to restore it. After some more testing I found that SMVI needs the VM’s directory to restore the VM files. It should be possible to restore the VM without that the original directory is necessary.

It’s also not possible to restore a VM to another datastore then it’s original datastore through SMVI. You can bypass this by mounting the backup and then copying the VM manually. Another possibility is to restore it to the original location and the use storage VMotion or cold migration to move the VM to another location.

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Once the directory is recreated manually SMVI is able to restore the backup. If the VM isn’t in VC inventory anymore you need to manually register the VM in the VC once it’s restored.

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On the backup screen you can manually take backups off complete datastores or VMs. When backing up individual VMs SMVI takes a Netapp snapshot of the whole datastore but only the backup of this VM will be consistent trough a VMware snapshot.

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