Archive | Backup & Restore

File Sharing and Sync Platforms – Part I

Now that my presentation from the NetApp Insight conference is completed, I would like to share our plan going forward for integration with VMware’s Horizon Suite, specifically with regard to Horizon Data (formerly Project Octopus). 

The session that Cedric Courteix and I did was a joint vision for integrations with Citrix ShareFile as well as VMware Horizon Data, but I will be concentrating on the VMware solution here, as that is my focus. 

It shouldn’t be a suprise that many of the integrations between VMware and NetApp begin with some very unique backup and recovery capabilities. For the Horizon Data solution that integration is in the form of our Snap Creator plug-in for Horizon Data. This plugin will provide application-consistent backups of all the components of the Horizon Data appliance, protecting both the OS and the data from potential data loss and providing disaster recovery capabilities, should the unforeseen happen.

We showcased the capabilities of our Snap Creator framework in this year’s partner HoL at VMworld, where we used it to perform backup & recovery for VMware vCloud Director. Snap Creator is a very unique backup and recovery solution, due to the separation that exists between the backup logic and the application logic. This allows us to create plugins for a wide variety of applications without changing the core backup code.

For more specific information on Snap Creator, visit:

I’ll share some more details of the solution after the holiday break. Thanks for reading!

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Zimbra – Backup & Recovery


Over the past several months, I have been working with various NetApp employees and contractors to develop what we believe is a first for Zimbra; application-consistent backup & recovery. For NetApp and its customers backup & recovery is always very important and now you have one more reason to trust NetApp for your Zimbra workloads.

It’s an interesting coincidence that my first exposure to NetApp and Zimbra came at about the same time, as the company I worked at in Tokyo decided to purchase a FAS3040 filer for both e-mail and shared file storage. One of my first tasks in that implementation was to set-up iSCSI LUNs for the Zimbra installation to use. With the help of a contractor, we implemented Zimbra on those backend LUNs and everything worked quite well. The one thing that I always would have liked would have been automated and space-efficient backups, but alas I had to script the backups from scratch much like we did with many of our plethora of open source applications.

Well, the day has come when we no longer need to consume valuable shared storage space or develop scripts from scratch. Leveraging NetApp Snap Creator, along with our upcoming Zimbra plug-in you can now perform full and incremental backups of multi-node Zimbra environments via NetApp snapshots and all of the benefits that go along with those. These will, of course, require no dowtime to the Zimbra application and will be application, not just crash consistent! In addition, given the similarities between Zimbra and Octopus, this plugin will allow backup and restore of VMware Octopus as well, another first!

We have recently completed the initial testing and are about to go BETA with this plug-in. This, along with other Snap Creator related demos and labs, will be a highlight of our content at VMworld this year. I for one am very excited to see the dream of application-consistent Zimbra backups come true and very much looking forward to showing customers, partners and others what’s possible with Zimbra and NetApp Snap Creator.

Thanks as always for reading. I’m looking forward to seeing you all very soon!

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Symantec NetBackup & BackupExec



The first day of Tech Field Day 5 was quite busy. It started out with a visit to Symantec’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Their 4 hour presentation window consisted of a discussion about NetBackup and BackupExec backup products. These products have matured and taken on a lot of new features tailored for a virtual as well as physical environment in a single product. NetBackup is geared toward Enterprise customers, whereas BackupExec is intended more for the SMB market.


Since my area of expertise is mainly around virtualization, I wanted to hear what NetBackup brings to virtualized environments. I especially wanted to compare and contrast their feature list with that of Veeam since I have used their backup product most recently. Symantec didn’t disappoint. It turns out they are taking advantage of all of the VAAI APIs as I would expect them to do, since CBT (Changed Blocked Tracking) has huge advantages in reducing backup windows, something that becomes all the more important with today’s rate of data growth. This also eliminates the need for agents inside of the OS.

Another feature that was played up quite a bit is NetBackup’s support for in-line deduplication. This allow Symantec to reduce data stored but keeps backup windows to a minimum. I can speak to the space savings of de-dupe as we have it enabled in primary storage on our NetApp filer. This is definitely something to take advantage of, especially for backups.

One differentiator that Symantec has over Veeam is that they are the only vendor to be able to perform file-level restores from disk AND tape. This is a big deal for us since we back up to disk for short term but archive to tape as do many companies.

About halfway through the presentation, we were shown a backup and restore demo, showcasing how easy it was to do. This demo inspired me to try out the product in our environment since we aren’t currently performing any VM image-level backups. It was nice to see the product in action.

Special Surprise

After the first session was complete, we got a surprise visit from Enrique Salem, Symantec CEO.  He spoke with us about the current mission and vision at Symantec. It was a nice surprise and also an acknowledgement that the company places importance on blogger events like Tech Field Day and social media in general.


The second half of the session, the BackupExec team talked about their product, which contains similar features, but is mainly for SMBs. One feature of BackupExec that stands out is the ability to install special agents geared towards providing application-level consistencey for MSSQL, Exchange, etc. something that VMware doesn’t provide 100% support for at the moment. All of the features of NetBackup seem to be there in this product, just on a smaller scale and in a more simplified interface for IT generalists.

Hardware Appliances

Symantec also has a line of backup hardware appliances; both ones that simply act as backup media and ones that are a fully inclusive backup server in a single device. This is something that I could see us considering as we can purchase in a single order. I will have to check with our reseller the availability and pricing of these here in Japan.

Closing Thoughts

I was impressed with what Symantec brought to the table. They seem to have answers in the virtualization backup space as I have seen with Veeam. My company is currently standardized on CA ArcServe for whatever reason, so I currently have a need only for a standalone virtualization aware backup solution at the moment. I could see that changing, however, since I will likely do a POC using Symantec in the future to evaluate whether an all-in-one solution like NetBackup or BackupExec fully suit our needs. And one more thing… Symantec seems to have had the best swag so that’s worth a few extra points from me!

For more information about these products, see the respective product pages at Symantec’s website. For unbiased 3rd-party analysis of these and many, many other backup products you should head over to fellow Tech Field Day delegate W.C. Preston‘s (Mr. Backup) site.

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