Introduction to OnDemand Sandbox from Storage Snapshots
Basically with OnDemand Sandbox from Storage Snapshots we are able to take existing storage snapshots, create a segregated, full performance copy of production workloads for testing and troubleshooting.
Introduction to FlexClone
I believe this to be down to the steps that are required for this technology to be fully useable. I touch this later on in the post.
Firstly, lets explain what FlexClone is:
“NetApp® FlexClone® technology instantly replicates data volumes and datasets as transparent, virtual copies—true clones—without compromising performance or demanding additional storage space. You can use each cloned volume for essential business operations such as: Testing and bug fixing.”
Steps taken to bring a FlexClone environment up minus Veeam
To begin with we have some fairly fast operations shown below:
- Connect to Storage System
- Create Application Consistent Snapshot
- Create FlexClone from Snapshot
We then move into the exporting and presentation of the volumes, this is where it can be a lengthy process depending on the number of Volumes and Virtual Machines you are looking to bring up in this test and dev bubble.
- Export Volume or Mount LUN
- Add Virtual Machines to inventory
- Change Virtual Machines networking
- Power On in order
- Run Testing & Development
- Power Down
Once the testing has been completed we then need to tidy or clean down the environment again depending on how many Virtual Machines, Datastores and Volumes this is going to determine the amount of intervention from a NetApp Administrator.
- Remove from inventory
- Remove datastores
- Remove FlexClone
I have touched on all of the great benefits of FlexClone but in my opinion and experience I see very little adoption and usage of this great technology. Smaller environments are not going to have the large numbers of Virtual Machines & Volumes to worry about the above time frame constraints. However large enterprises will have this issue, and in my opinion probably don’t use this technology to its fullest today because of the timings and effort.
How can Veeam make this process automated?
There are some pre reqs that need to be followed for this process to be used:
- Adding NetApp Controllers to the Veeam Management Console
- Create Virtual Lab & Application Group
- Create SureBackup / SureReplica Job
These above, once created and configured can be used over and over again for this process.
Your virtual lab configuration is going to consist of the target ESXi hosts or clusters that you would like to bring this isolated environment up on. The application group is going to consist of the virtual machines that you would like to be powered on and used in this isolated network.
The SureBackup job is going to bring the virtual lab and application group together. And allow for the actual task to be ran and then used. This job will also be stopped to perform the structured powered down.
Spin up the environment on a Second site
As I have said in the aforementioned link to the YouTube video, please reach out on Twitter with any feedback also any experiences with the above, also any questions regarding configuration or setup
I will also follow up this post with a step by step process of HOW TO configure this from a Veeam perspective.