NetApp has supported snapshots of virtual servers, but these updates make the snapshots more complete and granular, according to NetApp vice president of solutions marketing Patrick Rogers. "SnapManager support means snapshots will operate inside the hypervisor environment, and snapshot and recover the entire VM, similar to the way SnapManager does backup and recovery on SQL and Exchange servers," Rogers said.
NetApp is also adding a Provisioning Manager. This application allows administrators to create storage policy groups with predetermined settings, such as RAID levels and snapshot schedule, and automates provisioning of new hosts according to their assigned policy groups. There are no predefined limits to the number of policy groups supported. "It's similar to provisioning VMware and other virtual machines," according to Rogers.
For now, Provisioning Manager won't automate virtual server provisioning, something at least one NetApp customer said he'd like to see soon. Tom Becchetti, storage engineer for a large medical manufacturing company, said the ability to delegate certain provisioning tasks after automating the initial setup of volumes will come in handy. But where it would really work best, he added, is for rapidly provisioning virtual hosts.