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Scheduling Snapshots using XtremIO 4.0


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DBAs and Application Owners Need Scheduling


As a DBA for many years I began to appreciate automation. Like most database administrators I have a toolkit that can be used with CRON (job scheduler) to automate database cloning, reporting, and many other things. One example, is scheduling a database copy during evening. The next morning the DBA team runs post clone steps and we are ready to present the development database to the business by lunch. DBA teams have this down to a science and can consistently clone databases but the challenge is time. One of the most common concerns DBAs have today is accelerating and automating database cloning. The challenge is moving from a process that can take a long time to a predictable fast model that automates the copy process thus offering a big time savings.


XtremIO  Snapshot Scheduling


XtremIO saves time by enabling the DBA team to schedule instant snapshots. The XtremIO snapshot scheduler can be used to schedule the instant copy of a database and/or applications. In the case multiple LUNs have to be copied at the same time XtremIO support consistency groups. A consistency group is the logical grouping of LUNs that comprise a database or more complex implementations like enterprise applications. Using consistency groups all the LUNs are instantly
copied in a write consistent manner for the DBA team. To create a snapshot is


  • Start the XtremIO Create Snapshot Scheduler
  • Verify the time zone is correct
  • Define the parameters for scheduling a snapshot


Figure 1 shows the Snapshot Scheduler and all the options the administrator has to schedule database copies. If you have used other scheduling applications then this scheduler will be easy for you to use. We can either create the schedule with a fixed interval or with a definite time as has been demonstrated in figure 1.



Figure 1. Snapshot scheduler


In the above diagram we see different parameters for Snapshot Scheduler like Scheduler state, Scheduler creation intervals and frequencies and lastly the retention policy. The retention policy can be set to hold a specific amount of snapshots prior to deletion or a specific time interval with up to the maximum allowed limit of Snapshots per LUN (512). This must conform to the maximum allowed number of volumes in the
array (8192). When either condition is true the scheduler will start to delete snapshots it generates according to the variables that were defined.


Scenario: Multiple Databases Refreshed Over the Weekend


Many of us understand the necessity of scheduling databases for refresh during Friday evening and having to check the status on Saturday or Sunday morning. As we all know that family time is important and having to check-in on the progress of refreshing a database(s) takes away that time spent with the family.


Using the XtremIO Snapshot Scheduler changes the game. Here’s how:


  • Schedule the databases to be refreshed (copied) Friday at 3:00 pm
  • DBA team verifies the copies are complete by Friday at 3:00:30 pm (30 seconds later)
  • The post clone steps which have been automated start at 3:01 pm
  • All the development databases have been refreshed and are ready for business Monday morning


Using XtremIO it is very fast to schedule the refresh of databases and other applications. I’ve been using the term refresh and it’s important I mention that this as this is a new feature in XtremIO 4.0.  You may watch a demo on XtremIO 4.0 snapshots here.




In summary, we derive the following benefits from Snapshot scheduler:-


  • Very concise tool that helps in scheduling the snapshots in a shorter and in a much longer intervals.
    • Auto-creation of snapshots based on users choice :
      • Creates definition of Snapshot jobs with different aspects like creation, deletion, suspension, modify etc.
      • Each job can defined with respect to the time


  • Snapshot scheduling is executed with the following scheduling parameters :-
    • Exact time of Occurrence.
    • Interval/Frequencie.
  • Helps in purging the snapshots automatically. Retention policy for the preservation of snapshots is based on age or number.
    • Supports: Consistent Groups, Snapshots Sets, or a Volum
  • Automates which volume to choose and take snapshots accordingly.
  • Optimized for maximum flash endurance.
  • No performance impact when snapshots are created. There is equal performance with snapshots and volumes.
  • Lastly, it can create snapshot without our intervention and thereby we get an option to restore most current copies of databases.