Introduction

Catalogic ECX array-based copy data management (CDM) for NetApp Storage simplifies and automates operation of your NetApp ONTAP-based infrastructure through comprehensive management of NetApp Snapshot®, SnapVault®, SnapMirror® and FlexClone® processes without the need for any scripting. 

By providing an application- and VM-aware copy management software layer, ECX reduces copy sprawl, simplifies data protection and disaster recovery, and delivers value-adding use cases such as automated copy deployment for Dev-Test, DevOps, reporting, etc.

ECX is licensed per storage array, with no additional costs for number of users, databases, amount of storage, etc. Licensing can be perpetual or by subscription. A free 30-day trial version is available for testing.

If you are using NetApp primarily for file services (CIFS/NFS) take a look at our NetApp file power tools.

Highlights

  • Automate the creation and use of data copies on NetApp storage and across the NetApp data fabric: Snapshots, SnapVault, SnapMirror and FlexClone.
  • Dramatically reduce time spent on infrastructure management while improving operational flexibility and reliability.
  • Simplify management of critical IT functions such as data protection and disaster recovery for key data applications and VMware.
  • Modernize existing storage resources by providing automation, user self-service and API-based operations without the need for any additional hardware.
  • Automate software test and development infrastructure provisioning, reducing management time as much as 99% by adding cloud-like agility to data center storage.
  • Catalog and track IT objects: volumes, snapshots, virtual machines, datastores, etc.
  • Deliver advanced insights into NetApp storage, including protection RPO/RTO compliance reporting, capacity reporting, VM sprawl, etc.
  • Supports a multi-vendor selection of storage arrays, including systems from NetApp, IBM and Pure Storage

Catalogic ECX and the NetApp Data Fabric

Catalogic works with Data ONTAP® wherever it is found. Whether in your data center on physical NetApp AFF, FAS and FlexPod® systems, systems hosted as NetApp Private Storage, software-defined systems built with ONTAP Select, or virtualized in the cloud via NetApp Cloud ONTAP. Together, these different deployment modes form the NetApp Data Fabric, a seamless environment that lets you leverage your data no matter where it resides. Catalogic ECX provides value-adding copy data services on top of the Data Fabric through automation, self-service and data governance, dramatically reducing management overhead while enhancing reliability.

VMware Protection and Recovery Using NetApp Snapshots

ECX automates the protection and recovery of VMware virtual machines using an easy, SLA driven copy model that leverages NetApp low-impact and efficient data copy processes. The solution is highly scalable: a single production instance of ECX can manage over 10,000 virtual machines.

Application-consistent snapshots can be created for any VSS-compliant Windows-based applications. Additional copy options include log management, Pre- and post-snapshot scripting, skipping read-only datastores, etc.

Where ECX truly shines is in the recovery process. VMs can be restored quickly using NetApp snapshot and FlexClone technology. Three restore modes are available:

  • Test Mode: creates a temporary VM quickly using FlexClone technology (the VM runs from the clone). VMs can be fenced off allowing for easy recovery testing. Test-mode VMs are given unique identifiers to avoid conflicts. Test Mode is exceptionally useful for software dev-test operations (or DevOps via the ECX API), reporting, or any use case enable by fast and secure VM delivery.
  • Clone Mode: creates a full copy of the VM for use cases requiring long-running copies of data or higher levels of system performance. Clone Mode VMs have unique names and identifiers.
  • Production Mode: a full VM recovery that over-writes the original copy. This is a true VM recovery model useful in the event of VM deletion, corruption, etc. Production Mode recovery restores all the original VM information, and snapshot copies continue to be made going forward.

All recovery modes support customized IP mapping. In addition to VM-based recovery, individual virtual machine disk copies can be instantly mapped. Multiple VMs can be configured into a pre-defined recovery sequence, allowing for full recovery or spinning up of a complete test environment.

Recoveries can be scheduled to run at a set time (e.g. for dev-test refresh) or started with a single click. End-user self-service allows the IT department to free itself from routine system delivery while still retaining overall control of the NetApp copy environment.

ECX catalogs all copies for rapid discovery when required and provides a searchable index of VMs, datastores, etc. Copy monitoring alerts you if a snapshot or other copy job was missed or failed via automated SLA reporting that provides a comprehensive view of protection levels. Detailed reports help track down unused virtual machines and datastores, allowing you to reclaim vital IT resources.

Application-aware Protection and Recovery Using NetApp Snapshots

Using a policy-based, SLA driven model, ECX automates data protection and disaster recovery for NetApp without any need for scripting. ECX provides application-aware snapshot and replication scheduling, copy retention, copy delivery and copy clean-up. Application support is provided for Oracle and MS SQL Server on both physical and virtual hosts.

For a video look at how ECX manages application snapshots, watch our 15-minute webinar, “Database-Aware Snapshots and Clones for NetApp: Automation, Self-Service.”

ECX provides push-button recovery at both the data level and the system level. Data level recovery provides mounting and mapping read/write snapshots to systems over iSCSI, FC or NFS. (Oracle users can drive ECX data recovery via RMAN.) System recovery spins up a full recovery stack – including storage, networking and compute – of one or more systems in a pre-defined recovery sequence. No more messy runbooks or complex recovery scripts!

Application-aware protection eliminates the need for database recovery processing. Databases can be manipulated on the fly during restore, allowing changing of database names and mountpoints, re-signaturing disks, and so on.

ECX catalogs all copies for rapid discovery and alerts you if a snap or replication job was missed or failed via automated SLA reporting that provides a comprehensive view of protection levels.

Cloud-Like Agility: Automated Dev-Test and DevOps Copies Using NetApp Storage

The speed and effectiveness of software development and test processes are most often limited by the time it takes to provision IT infrastructure, especially for large objects like Oracle or SQL Server databases. Typical organizations take weeks to deploy infrastructure; even the most efficient can take several days. With Catalogic ECX and NetApp storage, Dev-Test or DevOps infrastructure can be spun up in minutes, either on an automated, scheduled basis or with push-button ease on demand. ECX users have reduced dev-test infrastructure delivery time by as much as 99%.

Test operations can use NetApp FlexClone hots on production arrays with no impact to performance. If array separation is preferred, Catalogic can drive array-to-array replication and bring up test environments on the secondary system.

IT staff workloads can be further reduced by using Catalogic to deliver a user self-service portal. Development teams, testers, QA and others can request and provision their own copies of data without IT intervention, but always within usage boundaries set by IT. Databases can be modified automatically upon delivery, with changes made to database names, mountpoints and other database attributes, thereby further speeding database development by providing ready-to-use copies.

Because all ECX functions are accessible via a documented REST API interface, developers can integrate ECX infrastructure automation with popular DevOps tools such as Puppet, Chef, Jenkins, etc. Pre-defined integration scripts and plug-ins make it easy for developers to spin up full stack infrastructure via a few simple lines of code. In this way, DevOps teams using NetApp Storage have the same agility as those running in the cloud but can use vital system-of-record data in their development processes.

Database-Aware Snapshots and Clones for NetApp: Automation, Self-Service - Video

Database-Aware Snapshots and Clones for NetApp: Automation, Self-Service