NetApp automates VMware backup

Vendor takes nod to virtualisation

Network Appliance last week unveiled software that it said can ease backup and storage management tasks for corporate IT operations running VMware virtual servers.

NetApp's new SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure software is designed to allow IT administrators to perform backup and recovery of virtual machine instances and to take snapshots of data running on multiple virtual servers, the company says.

The new software is slated to ship in April at a price of US$2,000 (NZ$2,530) per physical server, said NetApp officials.

Patrick Rogers, vice president of solutions marketing at California-based NetApp, said that while the initial version of the software supports only VMware virtual machines, future versions will include support for virtualisation hypervisors from Microsoft, Citrix, Virtual Iron Software and Oracle. He declined to say when those versions will ship.

Rogers says the software can function across storage-area network and network-attached storage architectures.

NetApp says it has added VMware support to all of its Windows-based SnapManager implementations, including those for the Microsoft Exchange, SQL server database and SharePoint products and for the Oracle database. Rogers says this allows NetApp's data management tools to take snapshots and operate within both virtual machine and physical server deployments.

Tony Edelbrock, senior systems administrator at Tucson Electric Power in Arizona, plans to begin testing SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure by the time it ships in April. The utility currently uses home-built software to manage its VMware virtual servers because it couldn't wait for the NetApp offering.

"We've been waiting for a SnapManager [version for VMware] for a year and a half. We couldn't wait, so we had to go with something a little more intuitive," says Edelbrock. Tucson Electric Power has removed the virtual consolidated backup functionality from VMware and is using NetApp to take snapshots of virtual machine information.

Edelbrock said he hopes SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure offers strong management capabilities and built-in VMware support. "If [NetApp has] a good product, we'll definitely use it. I'd rather have a supported solution than what we're doing right now," he says.

Tucson Electric Power runs 40 VMware ESX servers and 275 virtual servers and stores about 110TB of data, says Edelbrock. The utility also runs NetApp FAS3050 and FAS3020 filer cluster and FAS3040 midrange storage systems, he says.

NetApp also unveiled the Provisioning Manager software, which it said will allow administrators to set policies to simplify handling of massive amounts of data sets. The software can be used to augment capacity utilisation and speed up storage provisioning processes in virtual and physical server realms, says Rogers. Provisioning Manager will be available in April, with pricing starting at US$750 for a Tier 1 storage system.

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Tags snapmanager for virutal infrastructurenetwork applianceSpecial IDVMware

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