Introduction

A few weeks back I put a post together around the Cisco UCS C class high density storage and server and how it really works as an ideal Veeam appliance in some scenarios, as part of this series I wanted to choose a SAN based appliance as well as next touching on a Cloud Integrated solution which will be coming up shortly.

You can find the post regarding the Cisco UCS C Class Appliance here – http://bit.ly/1jrb6fD

Firstly, I chose for the SAN appliance post to talk about the NetApp E-Series range, the E-Series offers a high performance backup repository for us as Veeam to store out backup files.  This coupled with the high density of storage and the performance of recovery from an enterprise level storage array provides a great story as to why the E-Series is a great fit for a SAN based Veeam repository.

NetApp E-Series Product Description

NetApp have two streams or products within the E-Series portfolio that being the E-Series and the EF-Series for the purpose of this post I am going to touch only on the E-Series purely because it is quite unrealistic but not unheard of for end users to require an all flash array for backup purposes. However, the EF-Series has the same SANtricity OS as the E-Series range so all points in the post are still relevant to that.

E2700 & E5600

Both SAN storage arrays with connectivity options of FC, iSCSI or SAS. Both scale up from a capacity point of view by adding additional disk shelves. The options around disks from a controller and storage point of view are 2U with 12 disks or 4U with 60 disks.

The E-Series family uses a lightweight operating system / management software called SANtricity.

  • Dynamic Drive rebalancing
  • RAID Management
  • Intelligent Cache Tiering
  • Data Replication

I have listed some key features below for the NetApp E-Series and some value add that you may not get from other SAN based backup targets.

I have mentioned the High density storage meaning less physical estate or rack requirements for a large capacity storage solution, this also brings reduced power and cooling requirements.

Another key feature of the E-Series array is the Dynamic Disk Pools (DDP) this technical feature enables the dynamic rebalancing of drives, allowing for an easy way of growing capacity whilst also providing disk level protection if a drive was to fail.

The final feature I am going to mention is the Disk Encryption, an enterprise feature within the storage array market and sometimes a requirement for all tiers of backup storage. The ability to encrypt at the drive level using the AES 128BIT algorithm plus simplified key management provides that level of security without an impact on performance.

There are several other features within the E-Series range but when it comes to the SAN Appliance the ones I have mentioned above are the key differentiators that I see against the competitors.

E27**

RAW capacity = 1.2PB
Max Number of Drives = 192
E2712 = 2U / 12 Drives
E2724 = 2U / 24 Drives (SAS/SDD options only not NL-SAS)

 E2760 = 4U / 60 Drives (NL-SAS, SAS, SDD options available)

 

E56**

RAW capacity =  2.3PB
Max Number of Drives = 384

Veeam Availability Suite

Delivers 5 key capabilities to the availability of data:

  • High-Speed Recovery: Rapid recovery of what you want, the way you want it
  • Data Loss Avoidance: Near-continuous data protection and streamlined disaster recovery
  • Verified Protection: Guaranteed recovery of every file, application or virtual server, every time
  • Leveraged Data: Low-risk deployment with a production-like test environment
  • Complete Visibility: Proactive monitoring and alerting of issues before operational impact

with these capabilities in mind the E-Series really comes into its own when it comes to performance and being able to leverage the data and performing verification tasks.

Instant VM recovery – the ability to bring a machine back into production in as little as two minutes, by presenting the backup data to the production environment.

SureBackup / SureReplica – The technology that allows for an automated verification that the backup was successful.

Virtual Lab – Using the same technology as the SureBackup / SureReplica to be able to leverage the backup data as a test and development environment to test against rather than encroaching on the production workload.

Why Veeam & NetApp E-Series

In this section I will bring the reasoning behind why these two technologies are a good fit together.

Backup & Archive use case

Regardless of the production storage in this instance the E-Series allows for all the above great features from both vendors to accomplish a short term backup retention as well as a long term archive policy. My next post regarding the cloud integrated appliance may have a better use case as the Archive piece. It really depends on the data you are backing up and where the locality of that data needs to be as to which solution works.

Off Premises Backup / Replication target

Another scenario where the E-Series may fit is in an already FAS for production storage scenario much the same as the first scenario but with Veeam ability to talk to the underlying NetApp FAS storage API the backup window is greatly reduced as well as the hit on the production vSphere environment. The big thing to note here is by leveraging the E-Series as the primary backup storage you are not using the same hardware, but from a support perspective you are able to speak to the same technical support for all storage related issues.

Veeam replication jobs can also be used here for fast disaster recovery SLAs without the requirement of expensive DR storage systems. A Veeam Backup Copy job can then be used for an offsite backup to another E-Series device.

Benefits of Veeam & NetApp E-Series

The fundamental reason that the NetApp E-Series is a great fit for a backup repository is because of the storage performance, the restore capabilities from Veeam are greatly improved when the storage system can deal with those operations in a fast and timely manner.

The restore capabilities with the E-Series and Veeam the ability to leverage the backup data to perform verification tasks and to bring up a virtual environment for testing purposes is a huge plus for this storage system acting as a backup repository.

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