1 NetVault, NDMP and Network Attached Storage Simplicity and power for NAS Written by Adrian Moir, Dell Scott Hetrick, Dell Abstract This technical brief explains how Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) and network attached storage (NAS) can provide effective and efficient backup and recovery of data, and how Dell NetVault complements these technologies by providing an easy to use, yet comprehensive backup and recovery solution. Introduction Organizations today understand the need to securely back up their critical data, and more and more of them are choosing network attached storage (NAS) using Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP). However, even with these technologies, backing up and restoring data in complex heterogeneous IT environments can still be very complicated. Dell NetVault can help. It provides central management and control for Unix, Linux, and Mac OS X environments as well as NAS filers through a single intuitive console, and also offers a bundle of specialized plug-ins for the NetApp storage products: NDMP Snapshot Manager NDMP SnapVault Manager NDMP SnapMirror to Tape Network Attached Storage (NAS) and NDMP What are NAS and NDMP? Network attached storage (NAS) provides for shared storage on a network. It communicates using the Network File System (NFS) for Unix environments, Common Internet File System (CIFS) for Microsoft environments, FTP, http, and other standard networking protocols. Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) is an open network protocol designed to perform data protection over heterogeneous networks.
2 NAS devices utilize NDMP to enhance data protection performance by leveraging the data transfer to locally attached devices or over the network, separating data and control paths while maintaining centralized backup administration. A NAS device is a peripheral device connected to the network that provides data storage to other devices connected to that network. Typically a NAS device is a dedicated, high-performance, highspeed communicating, single-purpose machine or component. These devices are optimized to be stand-alone and serve specific storage needs with their own operating systems and integrated hardware and software. Think of them as plug-and-play appliances that serve storage requirements. The systems are simplified to address specific needs in real time. NAS devices are well suited to serve networks that have a heterogeneous mix of clients, servers, and operations and may handle such tasks as Web cache and proxy, audio-video streaming and data storage with file serving. NAS devices utilize NDMP to enhance data protection performance by leveraging the data transfer to locally attached devices or over the network, separating data and control paths while maintaining centralized backup administration. NAS can bring platform independence and increased performance to network storage. Nearly all NAS appliances can outperform similarly configured generalpurpose servers in file sharing and allow IT managers to offload file services from their mainstream servers or deploy file sharing where IT resources are not sufficiently available to support a generalpurpose server, such as satellite offices. However, NAS devices share the same issues as all other IT solutions: the data needs to be available and needs to be protected. The data needs to be backed up on a storage media such as tape or disk. The NDMP Protocol The NDMP protocol allows for the creation of a common agent used by the central backup application to back up different file servers running different platforms and platform versions, thereby creating a thin layer across a network for the backup and restore of data. It provides two services: As a data server - It reads from a disk and produces an NDMP data stream in a specified format (in the case of a restore operation), or reads an NDMP data stream and writes to disk or tape (for a backup operation). As a media server It reads an NDMP data stream and writes it to media or it reads from the media and writes an NDMP data stream, again depending on whether the operation is a backup or restore. All media handling functions, such as split-image issues, are dealt with by this service. Each service has a separate state diagram that dictates its behavior. For instance, a tape server (mover state machine) can enter the pause state while tapes are being changed by the NDMP client. NAS and SANs While NAS devices are dedicated filesharing applications or servers connected to a network, storage area networks (SANs) are separated from a LAN and are set up as a dedicated centralized storage network. Since SANs are block- or deviceoriented, a NAS appliance can attach to a SAN just as any other server would in order to access storage resources. NAS devices are storage appliances designed to perform one task well: they serve files very fast. The capacity of large NAS appliances is typically in the terabyte range. SANs, on the other hand, are multi-server, multi-storage networks that could typically grow to more than 400 TB. A SAN acts as a storage resource for every connected server. These connections could be iscsi, FCoE or Fibre Channel connections to the SAN. Another key distinction between NAS and SAN is heterogeneous file sharing. NAS appliances define heterogeneity at the file or data block level, while SANs normally define heterogeneity at the volume level. Out of the box, some NAS appliances can allow Unix, Linux, Mac or clients to share the same file. In a SAN, a storage system, not data, is shared. The storage is shared at the cabinet level by partitioning a 2
3 physical storage device, assigning logical volumes to a given server and file format. In most cases, a server is prevented from accessing a Unix volume and vice versa. The best way to distinguish the two is to think of NAS as a server type and SAN as a storage networking topology to centralize storage. Both methods can perform data backups and restores, but each offers different benefits. With NAS, a file system call is made by a client over the network, as opposed to deviceoriented commands from a server to a storage device within SANs. In other words, you can think of a NAS appliance as a server; it can be placed within a SAN in a typical server position. Why Choose NDMP and NAS? Typically, organizations have these data protection requirements: Tape archival of file systems for possible future use Minimize backup and recovery windows Recovery Fast, user-initiated recovery of accidentally deleted files Fast recovery from natural or manmade disasters NDMP and NAS enable organizations to meet these requirements at lower cost than other options. Network attached storage is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to attach a storage device to a network; NAS devices are easier to configure and manage than most alternatives available today, which reduces both IT staff time requirements and network downtime. NAS filers reduce the cost and complexity of enterprise data management by consolidating data in a centralized location, removing the need to purchase and operate multiple general-purpose servers. With NDMP, network congestion is minimized because the data path and control path are separated. Maximizing the benefits of this solution, however, requires choosing the right backup and recovery solution one that will simplify the backup and recovery processes while delivering the performance and security you need. Dell NetVault Dell NetVault is a cross-platform heterogeneous backup and recovery solution that safeguards your data and applications in both physical and virtual environments from one intuitive console. This scalable enterprise solution supports dozens of server and application platforms. The NetVault Plug-in for NDMP can act as a facilitator for the NDMP protocol. It is a simple process to allow NetVault to become responsible for scheduling the backup or restore operation, connecting the storage devices to the backup devices and, when necessary, tape library robotics. For every connection between the plug-in on the NetVault host and the NDMP host, there is a virtual state machine, called the NDMP server. NetVault configurations The NDMP protocol allows the following NetVault configurations: Local backup from a NAS device to a local SCSI or Fibre Channel link attached media device. NAS device to NAS device (filer to filer) backup One NAS device is backed up to another NAS device that has a local SCSI or Fibre Channel link attached media device. NetVault client to NAS device (filer) backup A NAS device with a locally attached media device backs up data from a NetVault client (, Unix or Linux) that may not have a media device attached. NAS device to a NetVault server backup from a NAS device without a local SCSI or Fibre Channel link attached media device to a NetVault Network attached storage is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to attach a storage device to a network; NAS devices are easier to configure and manage than most alternatives available today, which reduces both IT staff time requirements and network downtime. 3
4 NetVault NetVault NDMP Control Diagram 1. Local NDMP Control Filer A Filer Device Filer B Heterogeneous Client Diagram 2. NAS device to NAS device (filer to filer) LAN Device LAN or NetVault SmartClient (, Mac, UNIX or Linux). Dynamically Shared Devices (DSD) SAN and NAS convergence, NAS devices integrated into a switched SAN environment and all of the media devices assigned to the NetVault and SAN attached smart clients have the ability to dynamically share media devices. Direct access restore Restore data directly from the exact location it is stored on tape or other media allowing granular file level recovery. Restores can be to any targeted location. Local backup The ability to move data directly from a NAS device to a media device is known as local backup. commands are issued from the media manager on the NetVault, and the server instructs the NAS device to perform a backup to the local SCSI or Fibre Channel attached media device. NAS device to NAS device (filer to filer) backup Because NetVault enables you to back up data from one NAS device to another NAS device, you have many configuration options. NetVault supports data transfers between two or more filers. Data can be passed from one or more filers over the network to the targeted media device on the designated filer. Installations with several filers can optimize the advantage of dynamic drive sharing when storing to media with multiple drives that are SAN attached to multiple filers. NetVault client to NAS device backup NetVault was developed so that a NetVault client does not need to have a media device attached directly to it. In this scenario, backups are initiated from the server and the client data is directed to a media device attached to the NAS device. Media devices attached to the NAS filer store the data moved from the client. NAS device to NetVault server backup This option is ideal when an organization has several NAS devices that require backups to a central backup server. The NAS filer can be instructed to seamlessly back up information directly to a NetVault media device attached to a NetVault server or smart client. To enhance performance, this option uses the NDMP protocol rather than NFS to do the backup. NetVault creates a data stream connecting the filer to the NetVault device. This avoids all the overheads associated with NFS. The advantage of this backup option is that hundreds of NDMP clients or NDMP servers are able to access centralized storage media. Dynamically shared drive support (SAN and NAS convergence) NetVault allows smart clients and the NetVault servers the ability to share all media hardware resources in SAN environments. Combining NDMP with SAN backup creates a single backup solution designed to work seamlessly between the two options. NetVault allows data traffic to be managed and directed to any of the devices by the user and provides increased availability. This feature addresses the SAN and NAS convergence taking place within the industry. NetVault and NetApp NetApp originated the high-performance network appliance concept and was a pioneer in NAS. Dell had the early vision to understand the value that network attached storage would bring and developed code (Open System SnapVault - OSSV) that has been used by NetApp and is now incorporated into NetApp systems. As a result of this early partnership, native NDMP support is embedded deeply in NetVault offerings. NetVault benefits NetVault is a robust, mature solution that enables easy backup, configuration and management through 4
5 an advanced GUI and auto detection of tape devices. NetVault backups can occur locally from file servers directly to tape drives while storage can be managed from one central location. NetVault is designed to address both SAN and NAS solutions either individually or as a combined solution within the same package. Benefits of the solution include the following: Central management and control for UNIX, Linux,, Mac and NetApp filers Consolidated data protection to maximize storage use Shorter backup windows Local backup of filers without sending data over the network Control of robotics in tape libraries Reduced infrastructure update and migration costs Tighter recovery time objectives (RTOs) Reduced complexity NetVault solutions NetVault has years of experience supporting not only NDMP clients, but also the following vital supplementary NetApp solutions: NetVault Plug-in for NDMP Snapshot Manager NetVault Plug-in for NDMP SnapVault Manager NetVault Plug-in for NDMP SnapMirror to Tape NetVault offers a package of the three plug-ins to support these NetApp solutions, which together are called the NetVault NetApp bundle. Let s look in more detail at the NetVault Plug-in for NDMP and the three plug-ins that comprise the NetApp bundle. NetVault plug-in for NDMP The NetVault Plug-in for NDMP maximizes data transfer over the network while maintaining centralized backup administration and providing fast, online backup and restore of data. Specifically, it offers the following benefits: Centralized administration Administrative functions are consolidated under one user interface, which means lower management, support and training costs. Automatic filer and device configuration NetVault is easy to use and deploy, which reduces costs. Management flexibility NetVault is both data server and tape server, so it can be source and destination for data transfers or an intermediary between filers. You can transfer and store data to and from filers or open systems all mixed within the same media, regardless of media pools or device location. This flexibility reduces infrastructure update and migration costs. Flexibility in data storage Data from open systems can be stored on filer attached devices and vice-versa. This minimizes operational impact, enables cost reduction through consolidation, and enables a faster recovery time objective (RTO) to meet user service level agreements. Dynamic calculation of remaining space NetVault dynamically calculates how much space is remaining on a given tape between data transfer operations, simplifying media management and enabling you to maximize the use of your media and reduce media management complexity. Support for local, remote, three-way, and shared transfer models This flexibility maximizes your infrastructure capabilities and enables you to choose the most effective model. Restartable backups NetVault is resilient against backup failures or interruptions, which results in higher backup completion rates. Direct access restore and granular recovery Quicker and more granular restores mean higher RTOs and lower restore costs. Dynamically shared drives NetVault enables LAN-free backups and NetVault NDMP Control Diagram 3. NetVault client to NAS device backup Diagram 4. NAS device to a NetVault server backup NetVault itb VTL Device 2008 Exchange 2007 SAN Fabric Disk Storage Filer NetVault Linux SQL Drive 52 Slot Tape Library Device NDMP Control Diagram 5. SAN and NAS convergence backup diagram NAS Filer 2000 Filer Heterogeneous Client Linux LAN LAN Linux 5
6 NetApp s SnapVault is a disk-based storage backup feature of NetApp s Data ONTAP software. It enables data contained on a primary filer and primary open system (a non-filer, such as a Unix or based machine) to be backed up to a central, secondary storage filer system quickly and efficiently. storage infrastructure consolidation so you can improve your RTO and shorten your backup windows. Native volume and snapshot support NetVault can migrate or copy to tape from existing snapshots, enabling tighter RTO and RPO. NDMP browse extension support NetVault enables you to browse filer data, simplifying management tasks. Automatic multi-streaming of subvolume data Sub-volumes can be automatically processed for backup without modification of existing backup jobs. This simplifies volume addition and restructuring, maximizes throughput, and reduces backup windows. NetVault Plug-in for Snapshot Manager NetVault NDMP Plug-in for Snapshot Manager enables you to generate, automatically schedule and recover snapshots through the NetVault GUI, simplifying network appliance filer snapshot management. This plug-in offers the following benefits: Single centralized management console for online snapshots You can generate, automatically schedule and recover snapshots through the NetVault console, which reduces cost and complexity. Create instantaneous backup and recovery points You can quickly back up and recover data as needed, which reduces management costs and improves service levels. Online recovery from local snapshots You can quickly restore from local snapshots, ensuring the highest RTO and RPO. NetVault Plug-in for SnapVault Manager NetApp s SnapVault is a disk-based storage backup feature of NetApp s Data ONTAP software. It enables data contained on a primary filer and primary open system (a non-filer, such as a Unix or -based machine) to be backed up to a central, secondary storage filer system quickly and efficiently. This data is saved as a snapshot in read-only format. In the event of data loss or corruption on the aforementioned primaries, it can be restored from the SnapVault secondary storage system with less downtime and less of the uncertainty associated with conventional tape backup and restore operations. The SnapVault Manager Plug-in enables you to manage and monitor NetApp s SnapVault technology with an intuitive GUI. It offers the following benefits: Single centralized management console for online SnapVault and Open Systems SnapVault (OSSV) backup and recovery You can generate, automatically schedule and recover SnapVault data through NetVault s console, which reduces cost and complexity. Block-level, incremental backup Only changed blocks are transferred, which reduces infrastructure resource consumption. Nearline recovery from SnapVault backups You can recover from a remote disk, which enables you to have a secondary recovery medium. Open system OSSV integration You can consolidate data protection into one platform, maximizing storage use. NetVault Plug-in for SnapMirror to tape SnapMirror is NetApp s data replication solution. It offers many benefits to system administrators, including reduced backup and recovery windows, instant access to mission-critical data, and file system replication at a local or remote site. NetVault Plug-in for SnapMirror to Tape extends these benefits by enabling full volumes on NetApp filers to be mirrored and backed up to tape. Tape mirror copies can be used as an alternative transport mechanism and provide long term, off-site archival storage for mirrored volumes. The plug-in s benefits are further 6
7 extended when combined with the NetApp snapshot technology. Snapshots allow user and application data stored on a filer to be quickly and efficiently backed up with virtually no service disruption. Snapshots are stored on volumes residing on the same filer as the data being protected and provide a fast method of data recovery under normal circumstances. NetVault Plug-in for SnapMirror to Tape can be used to back up filer volumes containing snapshots on a periodic basis for disaster recovery purposes. In a disaster scenario where the entire filer is lost, snapshots can be recovered quickly and efficiently from the tape to ensure minimal interruption to operations. NetVault Plug-in for SnapMirror to Tape offers the following benefits: Single centralized management console for SnapMirror data You can generate, automatically schedule and recover SnapMirror data through NetVault s console for reduced cost and complexity. Archive and remote site backup to tape You can transfer entire mirrors of a volume to tape, which allows for offsite archive and disaster recovery (DR) readiness. Copy functionality Copies can be used as an alternative transport mechanism and provide long term, off-site archival storage volumes. Data stored on the filer can be quickly backed up with virtually no service disruption. Snapshots can be stored on same filer as the data being protected to provide fast data recovery. This flexibility enables you to maximize NetApp filer utilization to reduce hardware costs. Disaster recovery and data migration for primary and secondary storage NetVault Plug-in for SnapMirror to Tape enables quick recovery of entire volumes. Large volumes of data can be restored or migrated. Deduplicated format The plug-in archives data in deduplicated format, which reduces its archive storage footprint and maximizes media utilization. Summary NAS and SAN storage subsystems will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the IT infrastructure, and, accordingly, the level of complexity to process and manage data will continue to grow. NetVault is designed to ease the ever-increasing data management problem of both today and tomorrow. NAS vendors continue to reach into new directions for data storage management and have turned to Dell as a leader in the NAS and SAN data backup arena. Dell continues to look toward the future with creative and synergistic technologies. NetVault is designed to ease the ever-increasing data management problem of both today and tomorrow. 7
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