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Sep 30 2014

Nutanix Data Protection – Secure your data

While doing customer, partner and event presentations the last couple of weeks i have been asked quite a lot of questions and one question that seems to pup up every time is about Nutanix Data Protection. This blog post (first in a series of blog posts) will outline how to configure Nutanix Data Protection within one Nutanix Cluster.

This blog post describes how you can restore your data.

My use case. 12 hour application testing and tuning period where i needed at least a good backup,restore point/snapshot every hour. The application was delivered by four VMware vSphere 5.5 virtual machines (VMs) where:

  • VMs demo031, demo032 and demo033 runs the application software
  • mssql02 runs the database (Microsoft SQL Server 2012)

When creating the Data Protection schema i used Nutanix Prism but the configuration can also be created using the Nutanix Prism REST API or Nutanix CLI.

The below steps were taken to create a Nutanix Protection Domain with backups/restore points/snapshots running every 60 minutes including 4 VMs with application consistent backups for the Database VM.

  1. Select Data Protection form the Prism menu
    Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 12.53.42
  2. Click Protection Domain
    Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 12.54.10
  3. Type a name. In my case “app-test-01” -> click Create
    Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 12.54.53
  4. By default, each VM added to a Protection Domain will be added to its own Consistency Group. I want the three demo VMs to be added to the same consistency group and the mssql02 VM to be added to its own consistency group.
    1. Find the mssql02 VM,  click “Create new CG”, Type a CG name (in my case “DBs”), click “Use application consistent snapshot” -> click “Protect Selected VMs”select .
      Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 12.55.40
    2. Find the demo VMs,  click “Create new CG”, Type a CG name (in my case “front”) -> click “Protect Selected VMs”select .
      Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.25.42
    3. The Virtual Machines overview section in the Protection Domain configuration got the following configuration.
      Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.26.15
      The dark spot next to the DBs CG indicates application consistent snapshot is enabled- > Click Next
    4. Click New Schedule
      Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.08.08
    5. Schedule Configuration
      1. Repeat every 60 minutes
      2. Start Date 29 September 2014 at 2:00 PM
      3. Retention Policy to keep 12 Snapshots
        Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.17.35
      4. Click Create Schedule
    6. Click Close

Review you configuration via the Nutanix Prism Data Protection -> Table -> Protection Domain overview:

  • VMs tab
    Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.28.39
  • Schedule tab
    Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 13.28.30

Next thing we need to do is to make sure the snapshots runs as scheduled.

Select the Local Snapshots tab via the Nutanix Prism Data Protection -> Table -> Protection Domain overview. Verify:

  • VM Count
  • Snapshot Time
  • Create Time
  • Changed Bytes

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 14.13.57

Last thing is to verify the backup/restore point/snapshot from within the VMs.

The log file form the MSSQL server indicates Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy (aka VSS) has been used during the backups for all the databases including my App01 database:

Date,Source,Severity,Message
09/29/2014 14:00:38,Backup,Unknown,Database backed up. Database: msdb<c/> creation date(time): 2012/02/10(21:02:17)<c/> pages dumped: XYZ<c/> first LSN: 187:488:134<c/> last LSN: 187:545:1<c/> number of dump devices: 1<c/> device information: (FILE=1<c/> TYPE=VIRTUAL_DEVICE: {‘{8F3C8595-C70D-4953-85A4-B8D4E6775B17}2’}). This is an informational message only. No user action is required.

09/29/2014 14:00:38,Backup,Unknown,Database backed up. Database: App01<c/> creation date(time): 2014/09/24(10:41:18)<c/> pages dumped: XYZ<c/> first LSN: 1274:1475:222<c/> last LSN: 1274:1569:1<c/> number of dump devices: 1<c/> device information: (FILE=1<c/> TYPE=VIRTUAL_DEVICE: {‘{8F3C8595-C70D-4953-85A4-B8D4E6775B17}3’}). This is an informational message only. No user action is required.

09/29/2014 14:00:38,Backup,Unknown,Database backed up. Database: model<c/> creation date(time): 2003/04/08(09:13:36)<c/> pages dumped: XYZ<c/> first LSN: 31:407:1<c/> last LSN: 31:410:1<c/> number of dump devices: 1<c/> device information: (FILE=1<c/> TYPE=VIRTUAL_DEVICE: {‘{8F3C8595-C70D-4953-85A4-B8D4E6775B17}1’}). This is an informational message only. No user action is required.

09/29/2014 14:00:38,Backup,Unknown,Database backed up. Database: master<c/> creation date(time): 2014/09/24(10:39:51)<c/> pages dumped: XYZ<c/> first LSN: 209:453:1<c/> last LSN: 209:456:1<c/> number of dump devices: 1<c/> device information: (FILE=1<c/> TYPE=VIRTUAL_DEVICE: {‘{8F3C8595-C70D-4953-85A4-B8D4E6775B17}4’}). This is an informational message only. No user action is required.

09/29/2014 14:00:27,spid61,Unknown,I/O was resumed on database APP01. No user action is required.

09/29/2014 14:00:27,spid63,Unknown,I/O was resumed on database master. No user action is required.

09/29/2014 14:00:27,spid62,Unknown,I/O was resumed on database msdb. No user action is required.

09/29/2014 14:00:27,spid64,Unknown,I/O was resumed on database model. No user action is required.

09/29/2014 14:00:23,spid63,Unknown,I/O is frozen on database master. No user action is required. However<c/> if I/O is not resumed promptly<c/> you could cancel the backup.

09/29/2014 14:00:23,spid61,Unknown,I/O is frozen on database App01. No user action is required. However<c/> if I/O is not resumed promptly<c/> you could cancel the backup.

09/29/2014 14:00:23,spid62,Unknown,I/O is frozen on database msdb. No user action is required. However<c/> if I/O is not resumed promptly<c/> you could cancel the backup.

09/29/2014 14:00:23,spid64,Unknown,I/O is frozen on database model. No user action is required. However<c/> if I/O is not resumed promptly<c/> you could cancel the backup.

 

9 comments

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  1. Richard Houghton @StrategicalIT

    Interesting blog, thanks for sharing. You mention that you wanted to separate out the consistency groups. What was your logic/reasoning for this?

  2. magander3

    Hi Richard,
    by default each VM you create to a Protection Domain creates its own consistency group. I wanted to make sure three of the VMs were included in the same one (taking the snapshot same time) and one VM (MSSQL02) requires application consistent snapshots to be taken. Not required for the other VMs.

    //Magnus

  3. Shan

    Does the application consistency works only with Windows based VMs (bcoz of VSS)? Anything for Linux based VMs?

  4. Lieven

    Imagine I have a 1 TB VM.

    – What is the minimum time between consecutive snapshots?
    – How many snapshots can I retain and how can I calculate the maximum snapshots I can retain?
    – On what is the time a snapshot can be taken dependent?

  5. Lieven

    To be more precise, I am referring to Nutanix based snapshots and not vcenter based snapshots

  6. sach2910

    1) Is there any way we could monitor network traffic between 2 protection domains?
    Idea is to group related applications in a protection domain to share same RPO.
    Also second level is to group them together to have max traffic within same protection domain.

    2) What is limit of VM;s per protection domain / Consistency group?
    sorry but i read 25 somewhere and then 50 somewhere else. Again there was some confusion over whether it is per CG or per PD

    Cheers,
    Sachin

  7. magander3

    Hi,
    if you check the metric section of the protection domain you’ll see the network utilisation. I’m not aware of how to potentially set a traffic limit per protection domain.
    The limit is 50 VMs protection domain, consistency group, or SRA. When application consistency is enabled per consistency group the limit is 1 VM.

    thanks

  8. sach2910

    Thanks… That was helpful
    So just ot clear my understanding,
    1) 50 VM’s per PD.
    Inside PD, i can create 50 diff CG with 1 VM per CG (app consistent)
    or
    Simply 1 CG with 50 VM’s
    or any combination in between…
    2) Any limitation on number of PD’s?

  9. magander3

    Think that is a good summary. I’m not aware of PD limit.

    Thanks.

  1. Nutanix Data Protection – Restore your data | VCDX56

    […] my previous “Nutanix Data Protection – Secure your data” found here i discussed how you can use Nutanix Prism to create Nutanix snapshots of your virtual machines […]

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