Paul Morrissey

Automating VM Snapshot Backups and Restoring 1TB VMs in seconds with Hitachi Virtual Infrastructure Integrator - Part 2

Blog Post created by Paul Morrissey Employee on Jun 30, 2015

Simplifying data protection and virtual machine data management is every VM administrator and IT architecture team goal. More and more of my conversations with clients when discussing their plans for extending their ESXi cloud environment is to take the opportunity to re-evaluate how they are doing backup services for their virtual infrastructure. Some are outgrowing their traditional TSM or Netbackup like host backup services as their recovery tests prove that its not exactly quick for VM restore, not to mention capacity constraints and infamous backup windows. With VM density growing and the increased expectation for access to IT services and data provided by VMs no matter what disruption happens, quick and effortless backup recovery is top of mind. The alternative?. Leverage the scale and efficiency of storage based snapshots to protect VMs and enable that 1TB financial app that had a data burp to be recovered in seconds.


In a previous blog post some months ago, I wrote about new offering from Hitachi to allow customers to manage VM backup and recovery services within vSphere web client leveraging the scale of the storage based snapshots. At time, the product, Hitachi Virtual Infrastructure Integrator, supported our VMware NFS customers who are leveraging HNAS controllers to deliver NFS datastore services. Of course our install base uses a mixture of NFS and FC datastores (and now VVol) in support of their vSphere ESXi environments, so we hustled to deliver v3.0.  Now, with the recent 3.0 release, we are now extending the data protection offering to support VMs on Hitachi block/VMFS storage.


Hitachi Virtual Infrastructure Integrator (internally known as V2I) is a comprehensive data protection and management solution for VMware vSphere environments. It let's VM administrators manage their virtual machine's data backup and protection  services effectively,  leveraging storage snapshot based technology (Hitachi Thin Image  (HTI) snapshots and/or Hitachi File Clone) and is accessed natively through the vSphere client. In short, the complete Hitachi storage family is now supported (VSP G1000, VSP, VSP G200, G400, G600, HUS VM and HNAS) including converged UCP platforms leveraging those platforms.

UI simplicity and schedule.png


The goal is simplicity: The VMs and datastores running on Hitachi Storage are identified once the vSphere plugin that comes with the data protection software is installed within vSphere Web Client. Schedules are easily constructed. Simply select the VM, datastore, vApp or custom group and specify frequency, retention of backup (# of days or timeframe) and specify if you want application consistent backup.


In the screenshot to the right (click on it to expand if needed), this could be a backup policy for a 1TB MySQL server running on VSP G1000 storage where you want a protected snapshot backup every 2 hours, retaining 60 backup and in this case ensuring the VM/App is quiesced. More information on application consistent backup and quiescing that V2I leverages is  here


To simplify but outline the operations that are occurring when a backup occurs, the Hitachi V2I data protection software figures out the datastores involved and the associated storage LDEVs, quiesces the MySQL database, takes storage snapshot for the required datastores, unquiesces the app and updates its database to show that a new VM snapshot has been taken. That snapshot backup consumes zero space for that 1TB MySQL database. The beauty of the approach is that it only consumes space as delta changes after the backup so you can have ever increasing # of snapshot backups per day without increasing storage capacity requirements.

When it comes to restores, we provide a number of options. From the vSphere Web Client, you can see the storage based VM snapshots. You can restore that full VM to that point in time or Mount the snapshot VMDK(s) into the production VM for granular recovery.


For VMFS/Block storage and full VM restores, we enable that 1TB VM to be restored and available for access in seconds by craftily using Storage vMotion in the background. This is a little different than what we do for NFS in order to establish that quick return to VM business operations if/when that day occurs. The Mount VMDK option (my favorite) provides more granular options enabling app user empowered file level recovery as I covered in first blog so will leave you review that for further detail. [disclaimer: The mount VMDK feature option is currently in beta for block/VMFS storage as part of the upcoming 3.0.x release but you can see from first blog video what the intent is]


In summary, Hitachi Virtual Infrastructure Integrator provides

  • Scheduled and instantaneous VM backup, recovery and cloning services for Block and File VMware deployments
  • The ability to meet backup and recovery SLAs at VM-level granularity (more RPO’s, better RTO) while reducing storage backup capacity consumption
  • VM and Application consistent backup and VM and user empowered file level recovery with integrated VMware UI experience
  • Additional VM-Storage infrastructure services to ensure optimized best practice environment


Its available now and is attractively licensed to enable customers to make the leap to storage based snapshot backup protection services for their important, essential and critical services running in their ESXi based environments. Hitachi Virtual Infrastructure Integrator is a perfect complement/sibling to our Hitachi Data Instant Director (HDID) data protection software. Give it a shot ,I'll think you'll like it.


If you need more specifics, contact an HDS Data Protection expert to discuss your specific needs