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Virtual volumes: Protecting and Recovering the NetApp VASA Provider

Last Updated:

Applies to

  • FlexPod
  • Virtual Storage Console (VMware)


This article describes Virtual volumes: Protecting and Recovering the NetApp VASA Provider.


The virtual machines (VMs) running vCenter Server (Windows-based or vCenter Server Appliance), Virtual Storage Console (VSC) for VMware vSphere, and the NetApp VASA Provider (VP) are critical to maintaining access to all VMs that are running on virtual volumes and their storage containers or VVOL datastores. vCenter Server and VP each maintain databases to manage objects and their relationships. Without these resources, the VMs on virtual volumes cannot be managed or accessed.

There are two key things needed to protect these resources:

  • Place the VMs running vCenter Server, VSC, and VP on traditional (not VVOL) NFS or SAN datastores hosted on NetApp storage. Note that these can be on the same NetApp cluster as the virtual volumes storage. The virtual volumes storage should not be used to store the VP as the ESXi servers cannot access a VVOL datastore until the VP is running.
  • Maintain reliable backups that provide the ability to quickly restore the core management VMs (VMs running vCenter, VSC, and VP).

Having these VMs on NetApp datastores enables you to use native NetApp backup technologies. Although there are several ways to protect the VP and its database, NetApp recommends using Data ONTAP snapshot copies of the NetApp FlexVol that contains the VMware datastore.

There are two approaches for managing the snapshot copies and restoring the VP from a snapshot copy.

  • Option 1: Use the backup and recovery feature of VSC to manage snapshot copy-based backups.
  • Option 2: Use Data ONTAP built-in scheduled FlexVol snapshot copies.

Each change in the virtual volumes environment is captured in the databases maintained by the VP and vCenter Server, including VM creation, deletion, and powering on/off, as well as VVOL datastore creation and management and storage capability profile creation and management. The more frequently these operations occur, the more frequently you should create backups. NetApp recommends a maximum backup interval of one hour. Also, backups should be retained long enough that you have time to discover a problem and use the snapshot copy to recover from it.


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