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Find Communities by: Category Product. Why do CommVault customers store their backups on Isilon? Because Isilon is scale-out, efficient, simple to setup, and easy to maintain.

A single scale-out NAS filesystem that dynamically grows with online capacity additions is the most flexible type of on-premises storage media for CommVault. What exactly does this mean? Why is scale-out better than traditional scale-up storage? Storage architectures that are scale-up will always have some type of size limit that prevents significant growth of a single filesystem.

Every legacy scale-up storage array will have its own unique capacity limit that will prevent this type of filesystem growth on NAS or SAN, whether it is a filesystem limitation or a RAID level construct.

Yes there are tricks you can use to get around this for each vendor but they are still compromises. Scale-up storage will only grow to its limit and will not scale-out a single filesystem like Isilon. Why is it so important to have a single scale-out filesystem anyway? Both add overhead capacity and operational which is unnecessary. A single SMB share for the entire backup environment that never runs out of space as long as you manage the Isilon capacity per best practices.

Anything else is a compromise, you will have to manage more paths, add more silos of storage, induce more usable capacity overhead, and create a more complicated architecture. But what about Linux MediaAgents? Isilon brings the same value to both Windows and Linux with an ever expanding scale-out disk library for backup storage. Linux MediaAgents are configured differently than Windows and have different architectural concerns but are still simple to setup and require less sysadmin time to run in production than SAN or scale-up NAS.

The goal of this post is to walk those unfamiliar with managing CommVault through he process of setting up Isilon as a disk library for CommVault Windows and Linux MediaAgents. Walking through the setup process will demonstrate the simplicity of this architecture and the value Isilon scale-out NAS brings to CommVault.

Take a look to get an in-depth overview since I won't repeat all the details in this post. To quickly recap, a CommVault deployment will look like the diagram below, the Isilon will act as a "library". Specifically a disk library that can be shared among multiple MediaAgents not just a single MediaAgent like the diagram. CommVault architecture overview. I've setup CommVault along with Isilon in a lab environment with the components below running virtualized on a single ESXi host. VM lab components - vSphere client.

General OneFS setup. First assume a standard Isilon cluster setup. Nothing special has to be done on OneFS for CommVault but there are some key standard components that need to be functional for optimal performance.

All CommVault infrastructure servers CommServe and all MediaAgents should get rotating "round-robin" IP addresses returned from the Isilon with consecutive 'nslookup' commands. Think of this as the number one Isilon best practice you can implement for CommVault. Why is SmartConnect so important? This will spread out the backup load and take advantage of all Isilon cluster resources.

Without SmartConnect, the cluster can get unbalanced with performance hot spots - certain Isilon nodes can get overloaded with too many SMB connections and overall backup performance will suffer.

It's easy to get SmartConnect working, just do it! While we are on the topic of SmartConnect, leave the default "round-robin" connection policy in place. This policy can always get tuned later when CommVault is up and running. It's best to leave the default SmartConnect connection policy and confirm a baseline level of performance with CommVault backups. Get a baseline with the defaults then tune the SmartConnect connection policy later if necessary.

This is where Isilon makes a huge difference to a storage sysadmin. Simple right? Just login to the Isilon webUI and create a new SMB share in the desired access zone use the system zone by default if you like.

There is nothing special about this share, it's a standard SMB share with a name, path, and share permissions persona. You can even use the Isilon "root" account to authenticate if you like. I created a local "commvault" account with a local Isilon password to use as the share persona. Put an optional SmartQuota directory quota on the share root directory if you like not shown below.

At this point the Isilon sysadmin is complete. Don't map Windows explorer drives to the share and don't use drive letters to the SMB share. You also need to select a single MediaAgent "MA" in screenshot to initially use the disk library which can be shared with other Windows MediaAgents later. See the screenshots below that walk through an example. That's it, the setup of the disk library is done!

Again, this is why Isilon is great for CommVault, all of the sysadmin work both Isilon and CommVault on the disk library is done at this point and is future proof. This single share can grow the library indefinitely without any additional configuration aside from Isilon node additions. Keep adding Isilon nodes and the SMB share will continue to grow over the life of the disk library.

Nothing will fill up as long as the Isilon cluster capacity is managed per best practices. Add disk library - CommVault webUI.

Add disk library configuration - CommVault webUI. Isilon disk library properties. We don't want to change anything at this point, keep the defaults until you have a reason to tune options. I just want to highlight a few options as they relate to Isilon to help understand how the disk library works.

This is a very cool feature see the CommVault documentation link above for more details. Mount Paths - Here I find the settings mostly used for storage systems that need use multiple mount paths. This is not necessary for Windows MediaAgents using Isilon.

Associations - This lists the storage policies associated with the disk library along with the storage policy copy name. All storage policies have a "primary" copy for backups and optionally can have a "secondary" copy, usually for offsite or long term retention.

Disk Usage - Gives a nice summary of the disk library space from a CommVault perspective. Space Management - Tab that allows a CommVault sysadmin to set thresholds for warning events when the disk library is running low on space. Can also automatically spawn a data aging job when space is tight to remove old backups immediately on hitting the threshold since they are normally scheduled to run daily. Isilon disk library "general" properties - CommVault webUI.

Isilon disk library "mount path" properties - CommVault webUI. Isilon disk library "associations" properties - CommVault webUI. Isilon disk library "disk usage" properties - CommVault webUI.

Isilon disk library "space management" properties - CommVault webUI. Mount Path Properties. The mount path properties are different than the library properties, let's look at these also. Again, see the CommVault docs for full documentation link above since I am only highlighting of what is interesting from an Isilon perspective.

Isilon mount paths will grow automatically as capacity is added to the Isilon cluster or as quotas are increased on the SMB share, keep the 2GB default. Deduplication DBs - Screenshot omitted, summarizes the MediaAgent deduplication databases for the mount path, more on this later.

If you want to add a second or third MediaAgent to this Isilon disk library mount path, simply click "share" and add the other Windows MediaAgents using the same UNC path and credentials. MediaAgents will each need their own storage policy for load balancing but can all share the same Isilon mount path. Isilon mount path "general" properties - CommVault webUI. Isilon mount path "allocation policy" properties - CommVault webUI.

Isilon mount path "sharing" properties - CommVault webUI. We now have an Isilon disk library owned by a Windows MediaAgent and have seen all the properties for our various configuration options. How do we now start using the library? This is simply a shared policy that clients use to send a library backups through a specific MediaAgent with a few attributes like the backup retention time.

See the wizard screenshots below for an example, this is a very basic configuration required for any storage library. The "data aging" or pruning process is a scheduled job that runs and enforces each storage policy retention time by deleting expired backups. Wizard walkthrough:. Data protection and archiving - We will create a storage policy for backups "data protection and archiving" , the other option is a DR backup for the CommServe database.

Storage policy name - self explanatory, leave the other options unchecked. Select library - select the Isilon disk library we created earlier. MediaAgent - select the MediaAgent that will push data from the client to the Isilon for this storage policy. Here is an important point to clear up any confusion.

Multiple MediaAgents can all share the same Isilon disk library. However, we would typically assign a single MediaAgent to a single storage policy. Then assign clients to various storage policies to load balance across MediaAgents.

So u se multiple storage policies each with a unique MediaAgent all using the Isilon library and split your client backups between these storage policies. Streams and retention criteria - each stream will spawn a new SMB connection to the Isilon library, leave the default but it can be tuned later. The retention policy is how long this storage policy keeps backups, measured in days and cycles.


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This variety gives you many options for how your backups work, but it can be confusing to understand all the different possibilities for what can be configured and who can restore data. Commvault supports all of these use cases and is very flexible - it can back up virtual machines either through VMware directly or with software installed in the system. Full-system backups are performed within VMware. It is possible to use both VM-based and file-based backups on the same VM, though this is only useful in special circumstances.





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