Commvault Intellisnap Hypervisor Native Backup and Restore For Nutanix

As of today Nutanix and Commvault Intellisnap support both ESXi and Hyper-V. IntelliSnap backup enables you to create a point-in-time snapshot of the data used for backups. An effective way to back up live data is to quiesce it temporarily, take a snapshot, and then resume live operations. This avoids the pain of hypervisor based snapshot getting in the way of your backup. Why is this big deal? Extra IO would have to used collapsing the hypervisor based snapshot while the full backup would take place. The hypervisor snapshot still happens but it brief.

How does it work?


1) CommServer Requests the Proxy Agent to backup a VM.
2) VSA Proxy Agent requests the host to create the snapshot of the VM. (The Media agent is also installed with the VSA but your don’t need to size for it.)
3) Host uses VMware Tools to take an App-consistent snapshot of the selected VMs
4) Proxy Agent requests the Nutanix to take the storage snapshot of the associated containers. (IntelliSnap). VMware’s VM Snapshot is removed and consolidated.
5) Proxy Agents mounts the container snapshot, performs the indexing. Metadata relationship between commvault snapshot and Nutanix snapshot/PD is maintained.
6) Commvault backup policies determines to backup the VMs from the snapshot to media, and/or retain the snapshot without backing up.
Intellisnap is VADP snapshot aware.

Notes for Step 2 – you need to install the Media Agent component where the proxy agent (VSA) is. That doesn’t need to be the same media agent that’s storing the data, but it’s the package that needs to be installed to facilitate the snapshot functionality for the agent. This is because the media agent contains the code and add-ons that facilitate the snapshot management.

Notes for Step 5 – its optional to do the indexing, but you don’t lose the ability to do a granular restore of files within the guest. You can choose to index the data from the hardware snapshot, OR you can perform the indexing “live” when you need to perform a restore. The tradeoff for the latter is waiting a few minutes to mount the VM and open the disk to browse the contents rather than looking at it from a pre-built index. The recommendation (and default) is the latter option, especially with Nutanix since NFS makes this a much quicker process, and you save some time during the backup by not having to do the indexing of the files within the virtual machine. One great benefit of both indexing options is that there is no need for any agents – not even temporary ones, which means less headaches administering VM credentials etc.

Thanks to Damian Andre from Commvault and Jerome Joseph from Nutanix in helping me understand some of the nuances.

Check back here because this story will get even better in a couple of weeks, wink wink.

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