EMC recently launched their new VNX storage line which is a unified storage platform with one management framework supporting file, block, and object optimized for virtual applications. From that line they also produced a more affordable “VNXe” model for small business and remote offices. There are a number of ways to protect the VNXe including snapshots, replication and NDMP backups. Typically I would use a couple different combinations of these three technologies depending on the business need and data risk, but today I am only going to go into detail with backing up the VNXe using Backup Exec as it is the most popular choice for small and medium businesses which is fitting for the VNXe.

To start off I just want to say that there are a number of Backup Applications that can do what I am about to describe, and just to be fair I will list a couple of the popular ones and If I have enough time in the future I will break down the process with each one. Here they are: CA BrightStor ARCserve, Commvault Galaxy, EMC Avamar, EMC Networker, Symantec NetBackup, and Symantec Backup Exec which we are about to explore.

As of this writing the VNXe Operating Environment v2.0 is fully supported by Backup Exec 2010 R2 or newer. For my latest test I used 2010 R3… Now since the VNXe does not utilize an operating system where third party vendors can install agents into, we are going to be utilizing the NDMP protocol. Incase you are unfamiliar with NDMP here is the quick low down. NDMP, or Network Data Management Protocol, is a protocol invented by NetApp and EMC, meant to transport data between NAS devices and backup devices. This removes the need for transporting the data through the backup server itself, thus enhancing speed and removing load from the backup server. It also allows us to be able to backup NAS devices without an agent installed on them.

The following best practice guidelines will help you to use the Backup Exec NDMP Option effectively:
1. Match the port number that Backup Exec uses to the port number that the VNXe’s NDMP service uses when you add an NDMP device. By default this should be port 10,000.
2. Do not use software encryption for NDMP backup jobs, it is not supported and will fail your backup jobs.
3. Create separate polices/jobs for NDMP backups so you can control NDMP specific settings, including software encryption.
4. If your environment has NAS servers from two or more vendors that are listed on the Other tab, create a separate backup job for each vendor.

That is about all I can think of at the moment, if you were looking for step by step instructions on how to backup via NDMP here is the administrators guide: http://www.symantec.com/docs/DOC2196 and if you would like some more information on something that is not documented, just let me know in the comments section.