The reason for this post is to tie in with the last post but give you a step by step guide on how to create the “FlexClone On Steroids”

Create backup / Snapshot only job

The following steps are required for that scheduled snapshot job that can be ran during business hours this is not a requirement for this however I have found it quite useful in having a scheduled point in time snapshot to then go and create a FlexClone from.

Create Application Group

The creation of the Application Group only has to be done once and this is really there to determine the virtual machines you would like to be powered up in your development lab, all dependencies can be chosen here even if all virtual machines are not stored on NetApp storage, this can be done to leverage the backup storage and backup files.

Create Virtual Lab

In the same way as the Application Group this should be a one time configuration, this will create a virtual switch and resource pool to allow the segregation of resources and network. This allows you to choose destination hosts so this in turn can allow you to choose a remote site purely dedicated to Test & Development and along with the Application Group and SureBackup Job you can determine which storage is going to be leveraged that could be a primary FAS system but also you could use a SnapMirror or SnapVault destination volume for this same task.

Create SureBackup Job

The SureBackup job is what drives and brings the Application Group and Virtual Lab together, the Virtual Lab can be leveraged with many different SureBackup Jobs should need be. SureBackup allows for an automated verification of a backup file / snapshot ensuring that the backup is in a good verified state before proceeding, however along side this technology of automated verification it also allows for spinning up virtual labs and particular test environments using production like data. In this instance “FlexClone On Steroids” allows for us to bring up a storage snapshot on production storage, but this process can also be used on backup storage with limiting performance but still a great value add to the backup storage.

Running the SureBackup Job

The first step to this automated process is starting this SureBackup job ensuring that the tick box is selected to say leave powered on so that you can then gain access to the running machines rather than this becoming an automated process.

Before the job is started you will see a VMware resource pool and a Virtual Lab machine powered down within the environment that you created the virtual lab. First of all, when that SureBackup Job is started you will see that Virtual Lab machine power on. You will then start to see the virtual machines appear in that same resource pool residing on the newly presented FlexClone volume.

From the Systems Manager console from NetApp you are going to see am _restore volume simulating the same functions as a normal FlexVol from NetApp, Under the datastore and snapshot copies you will see a busy, vclone snapshot which is being used for the above volume. You are also going to see the exported volume in the Namespace section.

Removing and Clear up

Once the Testing, Development or Troubleshooting is complete and there is no requirement for this any longer then Veeam is able to easily stop this process and remove all the newly created objects.

First of all, we stop the session within the Veeam management console. In the session report you are then going to start to see virtual machines being powered off and removed from the vSphere inventory. Once all virtual machines have been removed the virtual lab will then be powered down.

From a NetApp view in System Manager you will also see the FlexClone volume has been removed and the busy state of which the snapshot showed in the last section is now back to normal. Finally, you will see the Namespace section no longer has an export for the FlexClone Volume.

Hopefully from the last two posts around this subject you can see how really useful this can be to existing NetApp and Veeam houses but also for any end user looking to invest in either technology.

The ability to spin up this test environment at a live site is one thing but adding the ability to orchestrate the snapshot, SnapMirror and SnapVault to a secondary location and then be able to spin up, test away and then spin down and leave no trace or leftovers is a priceless combination in my opinion.

Please as always pass on your feedback to me at @MichaelCade1 on twitter.

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