NAS Backup from Storage Snapshot with Pure Storage FlashArray and FlashBlade


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Let’s say, for the moment, that you’re an IT storage administrator with several Pure Storage FlashArrays providing production block and file storage in your datacenter.  Every time you open an article with “storage integration” or “backup from storage snapshot” in the title, you come to find that it is referring to virtual or physical machine data.  You wait for, and you hope for, one of these announcements or blogs to be about doing file backup from storage snapshot. 

Your wait is over!

Pure Storage has developed and delivered a GitHub community project that allows you to use Veeam Backup & Replication Unstructured Data Backup to backup both NFS and SMB shares on a FlashArray, or a FlashBlade, from storage snapshot.  This includes when you have Pure SafeMode snapshot immutability turned on.

Why does backup from storage snapshot (BfSS) matter for FlashArray or FlashBlade file backup?

Two main reasons:

  1. Open files
  2. Point-in-time consistency

Open Files

To successfully protect a file share, all the files must be backed up.  But if any of the files are open, or locked, Veeam Backup & Replication (VBR) will skip these files because their contents cannot be read.  VBR will perform retries to backup these files with the expectation that the user will eventually close the file.  If the file is never closed/unlocked, then VBR will skip this file and the backup job will finish with a warning.

Point-in-time Consistency

Let’s say you have a two-terabyte file system, and it takes two hours to back it up.  During the two-hour backup window, any changes made to the files and folders may not be captured leading to an inconsistent restore point.

How does BfSS solve these challenges?

When the VBR Unstructured Backup Job performs a backup from storage snapshot there are no open, or locked, files.  The storage snapshot also captures all the files at a single moment in time, so the files in the snapshot, and therefore the backup, are consistent with that point-in-time.

Is this solution cyber resilient?

Yes, Pure SafeMode snapshots are immutable when they are created, even before the file backup data is written to an immutable backup repository.  So even in the case that the cyber attacker gains full access to the storage array, the snapshots are still protected with SafeMode immutability, and the backup remains unaffected.

Once you have the files backed up from storage snapshot, you can of course send this to an immutable backup storage target hosted by either a Pure Storage FlashArray with Veeam Hardened Repository or FlashBlade with S3 object lock immutability.  You can also take advantage of VBR’s support of secondary and archive repositories for long-term and offsite file backup retention.

What about file recovery?

Malware attacks, like ransomware, are increasing in frequency.  According to the Data Protection Trends 2024 Report, 75% of all organizations surveyed experienced at least one ransomware attack in the previous 12 months, and over 50% experienced multiple attacks. 

This means that being able to quickly restore clean file data is critical to recovering and maintaining operations, even during a breach.  VBR provides numerous options for file recovery, including instant, granular, and full recovery.  VBR can also ensure that the file data recovered is not impacted by malware infection.

What is available on GitHub?

VBR provides the ability to run a script before the backup job execution, and after the backup job execution.  These are commonly referred to as pre- and post-backup scripts.  You will find sample pre- and post-backup scripts for both FlashArray File Managed Directories and FlashBlade file systems on Pure’s GitHub repository - PureStorage-OpenConnect/Modern-Data-Protection-Veeam.

These are working pre- and post-backup scripts, but as the disclaimer states - “While this is a fully functional script, it's intended as a starting point for someone with PowerShell skills to customize for use in their environment”.

What next?

The benefits of file backup from storage snapshot are powerful: no backups with skipped files, and point-in-time consistency for improved recoverability.  By leveraging Pure SafeMode snapshot immutability, you make these snapshots cyber resilient.  While setting up file backup from storage snapshot with FlashArray or FlashBlade will require some work, the benefits easily outweigh the effort.

If this blog has piqued your interest, find it here, and try it out today.


6 comments

Userlevel 7
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Thanks for sharing, @MarkPolin ! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Userlevel 7
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Very interesting technology from Pure. Going to check this out and see how it goes.  Thanks for sharing Mark.

Userlevel 2

Great post @MarkPolin!!! Hope you’re doing well!

Userlevel 7
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Pure make some great storage with cool features. BfSS has been a lifesaver in my environment. 

Userlevel 5
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Nice article, @MarkPolin ! Brief, to the point, with clear objectives. Thanks!

Userlevel 6
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Tanks for sharing. I used Pure at my former company. My favorite feature was the storage snapshot.

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