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Product overview

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SnapCenter Plug-in for VMware vSphere is a standalone virtual appliance (Open Virtual Appliance format) that provides data protection services for VMs and datastores, and supports data protection services for SnapCenter application-based plug-ins. This document describes how to deploy and use SnapCenter Plug-in for VMware vSphere and includes quick start information.

SnapCenter Plug-in for VMware vSphere is deployed as a Linux-based virtual appliance.

The SnapCenter VMware plug-in adds the following functionality to your environment:

  • Support for VM-consistent and crash-consistent data protection operations.

    You can use the VMware vSphere web client GUI in vCenter for all backup and restore operations of VMware virtual machines (VMs), VMDKs, and datastores. You can also restore VMs and VMDKs and restore files and folders that reside on a guest OS.

    When backing up VMs, VMDKs, and datastores, the plug-in does not support RDMs. Backup jobs for VMs ignore RDMs. If you need to back up RDMs, you must use a SnapCenter application-based plug-in.

    The SnapCenter VMware plug-in includes a MySQL database that contains the SnapCenter VMware plug-in metadata. For VM-consistent and crash-consistent data protection, you do not need to install SnapCenter Server.

  • Support for application-consistent (application over VMDK/RDM) data protection operations.

    You can use the SnapCenter GUI and the appropriate SnapCenter application plug-ins for all backup and restore operations of databases and filesystems on primary and secondary storage on VMs.

    SnapCenter natively leverages the SnapCenter VMware plug-in for all data protection operations on VMDKs, raw device mappings (RDMs), and NFS datastores. After the virtual appliance is deployed, the plug-in handles all interactions with vCenter. The SnapCenter VMware plug-in supports all SnapCenter application-based plug-ins.

    SnapCenter does not support single Snapshot copies of databases and VMs together. Backups for VMs and databases must be scheduled and run independently, which creates separate Snapshot copies, even if the databases and VMs are hosted in the same volume. Database application backups must be scheduled by using the SnapCenter GUI; VM and datastore backups must be scheduled by using the VMware vSphere web client GUI.

  • VMware Tools is required for VM consistent Snapshot copies

    If VMware Tools is not installed and running, the file system is not quiesced and a crash-consistent Snapshot is created.

  • VMware Storage vMotion is required for restore operations in SAN (VMFS) environments

    The restore workflow for VMware file system (VMFS) utilizes the VMware Storage vMotion feature. Storage vMotion is a part of the vSphere Standard License but is not available with the vSphere Essentials or Essentials Plus licenses.

    Most restore operations in NFS environments use native ONTAP functionality (for example, Single File SnapRestore) and do not require VMware Storage vMotion.

  • The SnapCenter VMware plug-in is deployed as a virtual appliance in a Linux VM

    Although the virtual appliance must be installed as a Linux VM, the SnapCenter VMware plug-in supports both Windows-based and Linux-based vCenters. SnapCenter natively uses this plug-in without user intervention to communicate with your vCenter to support SnapCenter application-based plug-ins that perform data protection operations on Windows and Linux virtualized applications.

In addition to these major features, the SnapCenter Plug-in for VMware vSphere also provides support for iSCSI, Fibre Channel, FCoE, VMDK over NFS 3.0 and 4.1, and VMDK over VMFS 5.0 and 6.0.

For the latest information about supported versions, see the NetApp Interoperability Matrix Tool (IMT).

For information about NFS protocols and ESXi, see the VMware vSphere Storage documentation.

For information about SnapCenter data protection, see the Data Protection Guide for your SnapCenter plug-in in the SnapCenter Documentation Center.

For information about supported upgrade and migration paths, see the SnapCenter Plug-in for VMware vSphere Release Notes.