This article is generously provided by John Spinks, Technical Marketing Engineer, Manageability Products Group, NetApp.

 

Data proliferation is in full swing, and the amount of data being generated is staggering. Domo published research indicating that, every minute, Amazon receives 4,310 unique visitors, Apple users download 51,000 apps, and YouTube users upload 300 hours of videos! All of that activity is likely logged and stored, and all of it needs to be protected. If the data is backed by NetApp® storage, then NetApp Snapshot® copy technology enables fast backup, clone, and restore operations.

 

NetApp SnapManager® software takes protection to the next level with application-integrated backup, automated cloning, and up-to-the-minute restore capabilities.

For years, SnapManager products have been protecting data for SQL Server, Oracle databases, Hyper-V, and more. NetApp SnapDrive® for Windows or SnapDrive for UNIX facilitates communication with NetApp storage systems. VMware Virtual Storage Console backup and recovery integrates with VMware vSphere for data protection and cloning. NetApp Snap Creator® Framework protects data from applications that do not have SnapManager products.

 

These are all great tools, but they have different installation packages, UIs, and capabilities. Each product has its own schedules and logs. To improve and simplify our data protection offerings, we developed an important new data protection product.

 

Introducing NetApp SnapCenter® software 1.0. This initial release of SnapCenter is our first step toward a larger vision of NetApp centralized data protection software:  centralized data protection that works across a variety of applications, databases, platforms, and virtualization technologies. SnapCenter provides protection that works across the entire data fabric as applications move back and forth, in and out of the cloud.

 

SnapCenter 1.0 includes the SnapCenter Server, SnapCenter Plug-in for Microsoft SQL Server, and SnapCenter Plug-in for Microsoft Windows. Let’s look at each of these components.

 

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SnapCenter Server is a highly available, horizontally scalable application that runs on either a physical or a virtual server. Using SnapCenter Server you can centralize all of your application-centric data protection activities and provide easy access to an overview of your complete environment from one place. Having this ability helps you to realize the full potential of your data anywhere, anytime.

 

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SnapCenter Plug-in for Microsoft Windows enables SnapCenter to handle file system consistency and disk-level actions on the host operating system. This plug-in works with an application plug-in such as the plug-in for SQL Server. All of the plug-ins are installed and upgraded right from the SnapCenter Server.

 

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SnapCenter Plug-in for Microsoft SQL Server enables SQL Server backup, recovery, verification, and cloning. The plug-in for SQL Server enables a variety of backup and restore options, and, like the plug-in for Windows, it is remotely installed and upgraded from the SnapCenter Server.

 

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Virtual Storage Console (VSC) Backup and Recovery 6.1, when released later this year, will add additional capabilities to SnapCenter. This integration will enable VSC Backup and Recovery to use SnapCenter and leverage its database for increased scalability. This integration will also provide improved supportability for applications and databases running on VMDKs. When available this integration will enable seamless backups of SQL Server environments that have databases backed by VMDKs and NFS datastores.

 

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These main components and features of SnapCenter 1.0 combine to provide an excellent centralized data protection platform for Microsoft SQL Server. Future SnapCenter releases will include additional plug-ins to extend these features and to provide unified protection for even more types of data.

 

So much data is being created every day, across multiple applications and with limited IT resources. Having a single, centralized platform for protecting application data across an enterprise can help ease the burden on administrators and make IT organizations more efficient.

 

If you are introducing new protection to your application data, SnapCenter provides an excellent platform for protecting data in your SQL environments running on NetApp. If you are a current NetApp customer using SnapManager for SQL Server, SnapCenter has a migration mechanism that makes it easy to move your backup metadata from SnapManager for SQL into SnapCenter.

 

NetApp has also streamlined deployment of SnapCenter by making sure that the SnapCenter plug-ins are licensed just like our available SnapManager and SnapDrive products: on a per-host basis or as part of a bundle. If you have an existing SnapManager or SnapDrive license, you can use it with SnapCenter-no conversion is necessary. The best part is that the new SnapCenter Server is a no-cost download, so you can take advantage of its capabilities right away.

 

The most important thing I want you to walk away with is that using SnapCenter 1.0 is the first step on a longer journey. The end of that journey is providing centralized data protection that works across a variety of applications, databases, platforms, and virtualization technologies. SnapCenter can work across the entire data fabric as applications move back and forth in and out of the cloud.

SnapCenter 1.0 is a powerful platform for NetApp, and one that we are excited to share. If you attend NetApp Insight® this year, several sessions on SnapCenter will be available as well as a hands-on lab running SnapCenter software. Keep your eyes out for SnapCenter Resources and videos, and feel free to ask us questions about SnapCenter.

 

Additional resources:

 

NetApp.com product page

Youtube video: Getting Started with SnapCenter Software

Article by Mike Andrews: How does your storage vendor protect your IP?

 

 

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Jason Blosil