On the Storage Nuts & Bolts Blog on the NetApp website there’s a sneakpreview on the Snapshot Manager for VI3 by NetApp. Here a couple of outtakes from the original article. Be sure to check the original article because there are also a couple of screenshots in there.
Although from the sound of it, it appears that SMVI is related to other SnapManager products like SnapManager for Exchange, SQL, SharePoint and Oracle, SnapManager for VI is not related to specific applications. SVMI rather serves as a medium to streamline the backup and restores of Virtual Machines and/or Datastores in a VMware environment. It interacts with VC or the ESX server and NetApp Storage devices and creates instantaneous backups and near-instantaneous restores of Virtual Machines and/or Datastores.
What can you backup and Restore?
You can backup at the Datastore level and Restore at the VM level or the Datastore level.
Where can you restore a VM?
You can restore it on the original Datastore or a different Datastore. SVMI provides a listing of all existing datastore and you basically get to choose the one you want. Furthermore, you have the option to mount the backup and verify its contents.
How does it backup?
SMVI temporarily leverages VMware’s snapshot which makes calls to the LGTO_sync (lgtosync.sys) driver part of the VMware tools which is responsible for flushing dirty buffers to disk for filesystem consistency and creates a Redo Log (Redo Log is a misnomer, it’s actually a bitmap) for storing disk changes. We keep the VMware snapshot around until we complete our Snapshot (NetApp) on the array side, which takes no more than a few seconds, at which point we delete the vmware snapshot, thereby merging the changes in the “redo log” with the original VMDK.
One thing that surprised me is that NetApp didn’t develop this cool add-on as a VirtualCenter Plugin… but within time this will probably happen.