Is Effective Snapshot Management What’s 'Missing Critical' in Your IT Shop?

Posted 08/20/2014 by Commvault

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Inspiration can arrive in unexpected ways.

It’s a simple story. Applications have gotten too big. Legacy, streaming backup models no longer work — they can’t back up data fast enough; they certainly can’t restore it fast enough. It doesn't matter what software you’re using, if you’ve got a 50 terabyte database and you need to recover it in under an hour, you can’t do it with a streaming restore.

The only solution for both problems is using hardware array snapshots. You can protect data in seconds, and recover it faster than any other backup method. So great, let’s all just start firing off snaps from our storage arrays and problem solved!

Not so fast. This is where something is missing critical, and that something is a snapshot management tool that’s going to do the hard work for you.

What hard work, you ask? Aren’t snapshots easy to schedule on my array? Well yes, if you don’t mind crash-consistent snaps that may not be recoverable. This can work if you’re snapping file servers, but when you get into the big leagues of enterprise applications, it’s a whole different story. A crash-consistent snap is a cross-your-fingers-and-hope-it-works situation. Do you really want to have your most critical applications relying on crossed fingers? Didn’t think so.

The trick is that you have to coordinate your application – and I’m talking applications like Oracle, Oracle RAC, IBM DB2, SAP – the monster apps in your data center – with your array snaps. Without a pre-built solution, you end up having to create all this yourself, and that usually means writing complex scripts that orchestrate between apps and snaps. These scripts tend to be very brittle and easily broken, and they are tough to troubleshoot. Even something as simple as an extra space out of hundreds of lines of code can make it fail.

It’s no surprise then that many organizations have a lot of folks plugging away at these scripts, or they are spending a lot of IT budget on outsourced professional services because nobody in-house has the skill set. One place we visited recently had a Linux-based database application that was running across 300 array LUNs. Yup, 300 LUNs for one app (and you thought YOUR day was rough). They were taking snaps of this application, too. And to maintain this nightmare using scripts took one full-time staffer and a second half-time staffer. It’s just that difficult.

Well, what if you had a tool that would do all that for you? That would automatically discover whatever LUNs the application was using (yup, we said automatically discover the LUNs)? That would allow you to create simple snapshot schedules and retention cycles? That would coordinate application quiesce with snaps across all 300 LUNs seamlessly? And would – better hold on to your desks here – even follow the data around automatically if you moved a DB to a different LUN, with no user intervention needed? And just for fun, this tool can also give you comprehensive reporting and alerting so you knew exactly what is happening and if anything is going wrong. This would the critical missing piece – you know, the missing critical – that would make using snaps cost-effective, reliable and almost unbelievably easier than what you’re doing today. And suppose it worked across a broad spectrum of applications and storage platforms?

Such a tool does exist, and it has for years. It’s called Simpana® IntelliSnap® technology and we’ve just made it easier than ever to purchase and deploy it. We have special introductory packages that offer very cost-effective entry-level pricing, including remote professional services to get you up and running fast. And keep in mind that an IntelliSnap solution can be deployed independently from your current backup software. There’s no rip-and-replace needed. IntelliSnap technology is designed to be targeted at your most mission critical – that’s mission critical! -- applications. There’s never been a better time to come and get it.