Thinking about Nimble Storage as your Veeam backup Repository?

veeam_5pillars_01g_nVeeam has introduced Veeam Nimble Integration, and I have discussed it previously on this blog. My previous blog entries discussed using Nimble storage as production storage; and today I will discuss why it is beneficial to use Nimble storage as a Veeam backup repository for your mission critical data.

Nimble’s innovative technology – namely the Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout or CASL filesystem, is a real benefit when using a Nimble storage array as a Veeam backup repository (backup target) for mission critical applications.

Let’s first discuss the CASL technology, and then examine how Veeam backup will beneifit from this technology.

What is CASL
CASL is the underlying file system, or the brains, running a Nimble storage array. The interesting part about Nimble storage is that it is able to use low RPM disks (7200 RPM), whilst delivering SSD like read and write speeds. So, what’s the secret?
Nimble storage uses NVRAM – DRAM to perform inline data compression and sequentialization on the incoming data before writing the data to disk. In turn, it uses SSD disks for caching random reads in its hybrid arrays (by default, four SSDs). The end result is a reduction of the amount of data that needs to be written to disk, as well as enforcing all writes to be sequential; this results in significantly higher write speeds. Random read I/O is then handled by the SSD cache in the system. You may be aware that traditional file system performance degrades over time with write/rewrite/delete operations that result in fragmentation. To counter this degradation, CASL maintains a background sweeping process, thus ensuring that the filesystem is always optimized for maximum performance. In summary, CASL is able to provide blindingly fast performance while utilising low cost and high density hard drives, and a relatively modest number of SSDs.


Nimble Storage underlying file system – source: Nimble Storage University

Veeam Benefits – Veeam Use Cases
Veeam offers several recovery solutions that will benefit from the CASL technology. The Veeam recovery solutions are:

  • Veeam Instant Recovery;
  • Veeam Explorers,
  • Veeam Dev/Test On Demand Lab; and
  • Veeam Nimble Snapshot orchestration.

Using Nimble as a backup target, or a Veeam repository, you will speed up your recovery time (RTO) as CASL writes the data sequentially to the disk. In the event of a disaster or VM data loss, you will have Veeam instant recovery available to run the VM directly from the Nimble storage at supersonic speed, as you have come to expect from Nimble storage. In return, your critical VM is up and running quickly. The same speed and performance will be expected when testing/performing the On-Demand Sandbox (Test/Dev).

CASL is also a log structured file system,  eliminating the traditional read-modify-write penalty. Data reduction is achieved through the use of inline compression, deduplication, or a combination of both (depending on the platform). There is no performance penalty because this happens inline . This allows volume data to be directly mounted from the repository back to the hypervisor without the need to restore it to high performance storage first, reducing the recovery time and complexity.

On this post I discussed why I see benefits using Nimble Array as a Veeam backup target for your mission critical workloads. When it comes to the recovery of your mission critical workload, speed and performance of the recovery process is all that matters; these two parameters will determine the effectiveness of your backup strategy.

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