ASM/ME with VMWare

Posted on 2011-04-21
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
  Doing some research on Equallogic and this maybe an easy question but after a few days of reading fourms Im a little confused still about the ability to use Dell's Equallogic's Auto Snapshot Manager for Microsoft Products on a pure VMWare setup. A lot of posts about setting this up go on to say they use ASM/ME for their Exchange/SQL VMs and I understand how it works with VSS and all of that but when they set it up are they accessing a host on a NTFS volume?

Is using ASM/ME on a vmfs volume not possible?

Question by:mkmcgohan
    LVL 116

    Expert Comment

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    Auto Snapshot Manager is a SAN based snapshot at the LUN level.

    So changed blocks at the LUN level.

    VSS is used to quiece the VM correctly, so the VM is VMware Snapshotted, then the LUN is SAN Snapshotted (this is a process happening on the SAN), then the VMware Snapshot is deleted.

    This method of SAN Snapshotting is very common, and very efficient at stortage, as changed blocks on the SAN (the delta) between snapshots are saved.

    LVL 116

    Expert Comment

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    This creates "instant" backups and "instant" restores, couple with a very efficient way of creating backups in a Virtual ENvironment, or any environment that uses storage on the SAN.

    Many organisation forget to look at technology available on the SAN to perform backups, and use traditional backup products.

    I would then recommend, connecting a tape drive to the SAN, and using NDMP perform backups of the Snapshots or Using Mirroring Technology to Mirror the LUNs (and snapshots) to an offsite location for DR.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    I understand the full LUN snapshotting. The point of the ASM/ME on Equallogic, as far as I understand it, is to get grandular, tapeless backups on Exchange and SQL machines. Using ASM/ME flushes the logs and gets the data ready for a good snapshot backup. But if I understand it correctly only works on NTFS formatted volumes on the SAN and VMWare does not recognize NTFS disks.
    LVL 116

    Accepted Solution

    ASM/ME uses Agents in the VM, to complete the fush, integrated with Storage APIs in VMware to complete the backups. Yes VMware does not recognise NTFS disks (that is correct), but it's the technology working together that gives us good backups, NetApp first created the technology many years ago with their SANs as well and have products called Snap Manager for Exchange, SQL and Oracle, that works in exactly the same way.

    The process is...

    0. Backup triggered by ASM/ME
    1. ASM/ME instructs the agent in the Exchange VM flushes the logs
    2. ASM/ME instructs the Storage APIs in VMware to quiece the VM
    3. ASM/ME Creates a Snapshot of the LUN
    4. Backup complete

    the above happends instantenously. as is simplified.

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