NAS snapshots revolutionized the data protection industry. Long gone are the days of calling up the backup admin to ask for last night’s copy of the data. In addition, snapshots seemed like a virtually free way to protect data—enterprises could theoretically take as many as they wanted and keep them around for as long as they wanted.
Several of our customers have done just that, keeping rollups of snapshots on their primary storage systems for months to years.
However, there is a caveat: Taking and retaining snapshots over long periods of time consumes expensive primary storage.
Igneous has added the capability to backup pre-existing snapshots on NetApp and Isilon to our backup and archive solution, allowing customers to offload these older snapshots to a more cost-effective tier while preserving the snapshots view and efficiency of the data.
How does this new capability help customers contain costs and free up primary storage? Let’s take a deeper look at how Igneous addresses the storage concerns associated with snapshots.
The Problem with Snapshots
Storage level snapshots for file data allow fast and easy retrieval of data which has been accidentally changed or deleted, and help ensure that users and applications can access previous versions of files, folders, and entire volumes. They are generally space efficient for datasets with low churn rates during the snapshot intervals, only occupying the space required to capture changes between snapshots.
Many organizations have implemented a cascading snapshot policy, where they store:
- Hourlies for 1 day
- Dailies for 1 week
- Weeklies for 1 month
- Monthlies for 1 year
- Yearlies .. forever
While this approach helps to ensure that data can be retrieved from various points in time, the amount of space required to store these historical snapshots adds up. Ultimately, it can result in infrequently-used snapshots consuming precious capacity on expensive primary NAS.
In many cases, high cost storage must be added to existing production file servers merely to store this snapshot history, while providing little value for IT and end users. In other cases, snapshots are replicated using vendor specific licensed software, and stored for long term retention in a remote location.
The Igneous Solution
As a cost-effective, scalable, and easily manageable alternative, enterprise IT shops are turning to Igneous to help them backup and retain long term snapshots for their NAS environments. This enables them to continue satisfying restoration and retrieval requests from their user community, while at the same time capping the amount of high cost storage they provision.
The approach is simple:
1. Connect Igneous to your existing NAS infrastructure.
1.2. Igneous has support for Isilon, Netapp, and Nutanix API integration.
1.3 Igneous identifies snapshot schedules and space consumed by snapshots.
2. Quickly determine how much space can be reclaimed from primary storage when snapshots are moved off.
3. Apply a policy to backup historical snapshots to Igneous.
4. Those snapshots can now be safely removed from primary storage.
One example which is in use by Igneous customers today is to retain hourly and daily snapshots on primary storage, while keeping weekly, monthly, and yearly snapshots on Igneous.
Igneous Hybrid Storage Cloud integrates with the primary storage vendor's native snapshot capabilities to archive point-in-time snapshots. Users or administrators can easily restore previous versions from Igneous Hybrid Storage Cloud, enabling them to be removed from primary storage freeing up precious capacity.
Interested in learning more about how Igneous can help you address your backup and archive concerns? Contact us.