Backing up NAS Workloads with Cohesity

November 15th, 2019
Backing up NAS Workloads with Cohesity

In our data-driven world, Network Attached Storage such as SMB, CIFS, and NFS tends to account for a significant part of storage infrastructure.  The so-called "unstructured data" continues to grow at a rapid pace.  According to Wikipedia, Unstructured Data is defined as "Information that neither does not have a pre-defined data model or is not organized in a predefined manner."  It's a rather vague term, but in my mind what this really means, is all the stuff that we collect in our home directories, folders, and department shares.  It can range from text-heavy documents, spreadsheets, pdf files, audio, video, analog data, and the list goes on.  Regardless of how it's described, it's your data, it's still important, and needs to be protected.

Cohesity's DataPlatform and DataProtect software includes NAS Data Protection that addresses this very need.  It provides full data protection that can backup and restores at the file level or entire volumes.  This software from Cohesity uses a simple policy-driven protection scheme and is very easy to set up and manage.

The first step is to "Register Storage Array" as a source.  In my case, I am using a NetApp cluster.  Simply add the admin interface IP (or hostname) and corresponding credentials and wow, that was easy it's registered as a target.

Once this is complete, Go to Sources in the GUI and you will see the NetApp listed with cluster name.  Click on the name and you will then be able to see and browse all the objects on the cluster.

Again, for me, I have an NFS share in my "prod_svm" that is called Data_Share which I am looking to protect.  I click on "protect" and select that particular share and then create the protection job. One thing to note is that you can select the entire thing and have it auto-protect all volumes.  In this particular lab, I do not want to protect the VMware NFS stores…. just a particular volume with unstructured data.  My NAS policy is complete, and I let it begin to process and run.

The job completes successfully, and I now have a backup of all the data on my NAS share.

Now let's say, for instance, I lost a very important file.  It's not in the local NetApp snapshot, it's been corrupted for a while…. choose your scenario.  At the main Cohesity UI, I can pick "Recover" and then "Files and Folders" and with a simple query, all my files are listed that we're backed up.  With Cohesity's search function, it's very easy to search for names or types of files to restore.

In this example, I've lost "file005.bin" and so with a single mouse click I can then download the file and keep on working.

Of course, it doesn't have to end there with a local copy.  With Cohesity, it's possible to add external targets to easily replicate the data to another site or archive it to another NAS, and of course, send it to the cloud as well.

Now imagine, if you will, that we had some catastrophic event that caused both of my controllers in the NetApp to crash, burn, or self-destruct.  Wouldn't it be awesome if I could just mount that same data volume on my backup device and have users access it there?With Cohesity, I can recover that entire volume as a "Cohesity View" which in simple terms is nothing more than a NAS mount for CIFS and/or NFS.

With a few clicks, I now have my volume that was backed up to the Cohesity, running on the Cohesity DataPlatform with a usable mount point.  I can hop on over to my Linux box and mount this as an NFS share and keep on working.

So…. take some time and investigate this next generation of backup technology.  The Cohesity DataPlatform and DataProtect software offer a simple and convenient way to protect unstructured data, especially in a NAS environment.

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