Tech/Engineering

NetApp and Druva collaborate for the future of NAS data protection

For people struggling to protect their NAS systems, there is hope. Today’s pain stems from backup and NAS vendors spending the last ten years building overlapping products rather than collaborating. Since the requirements for NAS protection far exceed those of other workloads and the technical challenges push backup and NAS products beyond their limits, customers are forced to deploy multiple overlapping solutions. After a decade of frustration, however, NetApp has created an architectural framework that embraces both backup solutions and the cloud. NAS data protection will always be challenging, but it does not need to be painful.

Customer requirements

NAS pushes backup requirements to the extreme. More and more people and applications depend on NAS systems, and the diverse data sets are subject to a broad set of retention requirements. 

Customers need:

  • Frequent backups with rapid recovery (multiple times per day)
  • Long-term backup retention (7, 15, 20, or even 30 years)
  • Self-service recovery
  • Centralized management and governance

Of course, the protection needs to be inexpensive, simple to manage, and not impact the performance of the NAS system.

Technical challenges

The technical challenge of NAS backup can be summed up with one phrase – “billions and billions of files.” Even if you “only” have millions of files, the file density on a NAS system presents a unique data protection challenge.

VM and database backups have standardized on changed-block backups with long-term retention (LTR) in the cloud. Backing up only the changed blocks reduces backup time and server load. Vendors like VMware and Oracle then added changed-block tracking to optimize the process of finding the changed data. With faster backups, organizations turned their attention to reducing the cost of holding backups. Cloud’s low cost, simplicity, and scalability, have made it the standard repository for LTR backups. 

Unfortunately, due to the density of files on NAS systems, NAS backups have struggled to keep pace with other workloads. VMs and databases identify changed blocks in large files, but NAS backups must walk through massive trees searching for modified files. As a result, NAS backups are slow and load-intensive. Meanwhile, the millions of small files make LTR in the cloud expensive and complicated.

Customer challenges

Today, there is no single solution that can meet customers’ NAS data protection requirements, so they have to cobble together multiple products – including NAS snapshots and replicas, backup software and deduplicated storage, and tape or cloud.

The overlap between products creates inefficiency, confusion, and delay. Many customers have four or more copies: snapshots, replicas, on-premises backup appliance copies, and a tape or cloud copy. To create the backup copies, the backup appliance overloads the NAS server and network. Multiple teams must coordinate policies that span across NAS snapshots and replicas with backup appliance copies. Even worse for data recovery, users and help desks must learn to look at both snapshots and backup catalogs. The overhead is expensive and error-prone.

Customers need to modernize with an efficient, unified NAS backup solution, which requires both NAS vendors and data protection vendors to evolve and collaborate in the following ways: 

  • NAS vendors: Expose their knowledge of data via open APIs
  • Data protection vendors: Deliver data protection-as-a-service (DPaaS)

Data intelligence via Open APIs – NetApp SnapDiff v3

NetApp is modernizing NAS data protection by sharing its knowledge of the data via open APIs. 

NetApp Snapshots and SnapMirror are fast, simple, and reliable, because Data ONTAP has insight into changes to the customers’ data and metadata. With Data ONTAP 9.8, NetApp is sharing its data insight with partners via the SnapDiff v3 APIs.

SnapDiff v3 addresses the challenges of creating, storing, and recovering NAS backups by: 

  • Listing changed files between snapshots. Backup solutions can now provide a unified recovery catalog for all backups – regardless of where they live. 
  • Finding and packaging the changed data between snapshots. Backup solutions can now back up the data without mounting the NetApp system, overloading it with I/O, or processing small files. 

By moving the work of finding and packaging the backup data into their system, NetApp frees the backup vendors to provide the best centralized management, recovery experience, and long-term retention.

Leveraging Druva’s proven DPaaS expertise

As backup sources have become more intelligent, the backup focus has shifted from “speeds and feeds” to simplicity and TCO. 

To simplify data protection and reduce TCO, an organization needs to eliminate overhead and redundancy. First, they must eliminate capacity planning with an infinitely scalable solution. Next, they need to automatically retain the right number of copies in the right location (local and in the cloud) to meet requirements for rapid recovery and long-term retention. Finally, they need one interface to orchestrate data protection for on-premises systems and systems in the cloud (e.g. Cloud Volumes ONTAP, or CVO). 

To modernize, companies are adopting DPaaS solutions, such as those from Druva, with:

  • Scalable protection infrastructure – In the cloud, the backup catalog and data store can scale to handle as many snapshots and backups as needed, all with global deduplication.
  • Automated LTR tiering – Customers specify their backup retention requirements, and the solution automatically tiers the data to the most cost-effective storage.
  • Unified central management – DPaaS runs in the cloud, so it protects on-premises and in-cloud datasets with a unified solution.

A comprehensive solution: NetApp + Druva

With Data ONTAP 9.8 and SnapDiff v3, NetApp is unleashing Druva’s solutions for NAS

SnapDiff v3 solves the technical challenges of high-performance, efficient backups, as well as packaging the data for long-term retention. As a result, Druva can better simplify and lower the TCO of NAS backup with scalable protection infrastructure, automatic long-term retention tiering, and unified central management. 

Since Druva stores both the data and metadata protected in the cloud, customers can unlock the value of their data – to detect data patterns that may indicate ransomware attacks, identify data that may be inappropriately accessible, or create on-demand CVO copies for test/dev and analytics. 

Conclusion

The combination of NetApp’s data insight, the cloud’s scalability, and the simplicity of the Druva Cloud Platform, transforms NAS data protection. Not only can customers address their most challenging protection requirements while saving time, energy, and money, but they can pave a path to the future where data insight and analysis is available anytime, anywhere. 

For the past decade, customers have been forced to solve NAS data protection with multiple solutions, redundant data copies, and manual effort. NetApp SnapDiff v3 and Druva, however, signal the dawn of a new era. If you have been struggling with NAS data protection, hope is here.

Druva offers a leading solution to improve business resiliency while reducing cost and complexity. We invite you to read our blog to learn more about our leading DPaaS solutions, and explore the Druva site to discover our comprehensive and innovative portfolio of products for the cloud era. 

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