In the next version of vSAN a new interesting feature is expected: vSAN Native Data Protection!
— Viktor van den Berg (@viktoriousss) November 7, 2018
As you can see in my tweet, I’ve learned that this feature will is expected somewhere in H1 2019. Notice that vSAN Native Data Protection is in Technical Preview, so no guarantees about the availability and things can change in the final release. At VMworld Europe 2018, I’ve attended session HCI1603BE: Native vSAN Data Protection: Safeguarding Virtual Machine Data on vSAN to learn more about this feature. In this post I will share what I’ve learned in this session.
Current data protection options for vSAN
Currently vSAN has more than 15.000 customers across different verticals. The current version of vSAN is 6.7U1, every half year new features are provided. Use cases for vSAN include VDI, databases (including SQL server, MySQL, Oracle and SAP), Microsoft Applications and also new use-cases such as NoSQL databases and Hadoop big data analysis solutions. Let’s first have a look at the current data protection options.
vSAN provides different resiliency options that will protect you for local-, rack- and site- failure of storage devices. Protection for local failures can be achieved by leveraging a mirror, RAID-5 or RAID-6 configurations. Protection for rack failures is achieved by distributing data across racks, while there’s continuous site availability available through a stretched cluster setup. There are also site DR options available leveraring Site Recovery Manager in combination with vSphere Replication. On top of this there’s a broad ecosystem of data protection vendors that support vSAN to protect you against data corruption.
A new option that is expected to be available somewhere in 2019, is vSAN Native Data Protection.
vSAN Native Data Protection
vSAN Native Data Protection will be a brand new snapshot based replication solution. This new protection option will be included in the Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) feature of vSAN. It will be based on a new snapshot technology, so no vSphere level snapshots here. You can use this new technology for three scenarios:
- Local snapshot based protection – These are space efficient VM snapshots stored locally on primary vSAN. The minimum RPO for these snapshots is 5 minutes. There’s a low RTO by using instant clones;
- Replicate to an NFS archive storage solution;
- Replicate to a vSAN based disaster recovery site, this can be another cluster linked to the same or a different vCenter Server.
vSAN Local Data Protection is focussed on protecting local data. It’s a different technology then vSphere based snapshots, where it’s not recommended to have a whole chain of snapshots available. vSAN Local Data Protection uses new native vSAN snapshots, which can be retained with no or very limited performance impact to protect your data. The snapshot technology is built into vSAN storage, so it’s a storage level snapshot. The plan is to support application consistent snapshots, leveraging Microsoft VSS and/or VMware Tools based scripts.
Configure a storage policy
vSAN Native Data Protection is configured through a storage policy. Let’s have a closer look on how to create a data protection rule:
As you can see Data Protection is just a new option in the storage policy wizard. You can configure local data protection, or configure extended data protection through the use of NFS based archival storage. A snapshot frequency can be set, the minimal interval is 5 minutes. An extra option is that you can configure application consistent snapshots. On top of that you can configure the retention which determines the number of snapshots to retain. For archival you configure an advanced retention scheme, for example you can retain certain snapshots for a longer period of time.
Browse snapshot catalog and a restore a VM
After you’ve configured a Data Protection policy, snapshots will automatically be created. Snapshots are presented in a graph
and in a table:
You can restore VMs instantly through using a Linked Clone, this process will cost you about a minute. Another option is to restore a fully independent VM which will take longer, RTO will depend on the amount of data that has to be restored. During the restore you can select the cluster to restore to, and the network where the VM should connect to.
Monitor vSAN Data Protection
The new vSAN Data Protection feature offers different options to monitor what’s happening in your environment. To get an idea what is provided, I’ve included a few screenshots.
Questions with answers
At the end of session HCI1603BE there was the opportunity and ask some questions. I’ve summarized the most important questions below?
Will there be any integration of vSAN Native Data Protection with SRM?
SRM will initially not be supported, but it’s something the team is looking at.
Will (cross VM) consistency groups be available?
At the initial launch consistency groups on the VM level will be available (so all virtual disks connected to a VM are snapped at the same point in time), in the future a multi-VM consistency group is expected to be supported.
What is the minimal RPO for vSAN Native Data Protection?
RPO can be configured, minimum RPO will be 5 minutes.
How to achieve application consistency?
You can leverage scripts, overtime deeper application integration might be offered. You can also use Microsoft VSS for this.
Will the snapshot technology be supported to be accesible to other solutions?
The key goal is to integrate with external backup solutions. You first have to opt-in this new snapshot technology. The initial release will support integration with VADP
How is the remote protection option working?
Remote replication is also snapshot based and using the same foundation.
Is there any freeze time when is a snapshot is made?
With a crash consistent snapshot there’s no pause
Is a cross cluster and/or cross vCenter replication supported?
Both Cross vcenter and cross cluster replication will be supported
What kind of archival storage is supported?
NFS is currently supported, and in the future cloud storage such as Amazon S3 will be available
Are vSAN native replication snapshots compressed/dedupped?
Yes, they are vSAN objects so vSAN compression and deduplication technology is leveraged.