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Create and Manage Snapshot Copies in Cloud Volumes Service for AWS

NetApp® Cloud Volumes Service for AWS offers a fully managed cloud-based file service for your enterprise workloads. With a high-performance threshold of over 200k IOPS, it’s a top-of-the-line solution for compute-intensive workloads such as analytics, software builds, streaming, and simulations. With NFS, SMB, or dual-protocol support, it’s ideal for use with both Linux and Windows workloads, because the service can be consumed without any major application changes.

Cloud Volumes Service also offers excellent options for quick backup/restore and cloning of volumes with NetApp Snapshot technology to protect your mission-critical data. These point-in-time copies of your volumes are highly storage efficient and offer an optimized solution for enterprise data protection and management needs.

How Cloud Volumes Service Snapshot Copies Work

Cloud Volumes Service Snapshot copies take advantage of the WAFL technology used by NetApp storage systems in the back end to optimize the storage consumed. In WAFL, data is arranged as an interconnected tree of inodes. The top-level file in this tree is the root inode, which is stored in a block in a fixed location and can be used to track all other blocks of data in the volume. Snapshot technology works by making a read-only copy of this root inode, which will host the point-in-time status of all data and metadata in that file system. Thus, after they’re created, Snapshot copies act as read-only reference points for the file system. They’re made incrementally, so they keep only changed writes. This technology is the foundation for backups in Cloud Volumes Service.

Setting a Snapshot Policy When Provisioning a Cloud Volume

Snapshot policies can be configured during volume provisioning or can be configured later from the Volumes page of the NetApp Cloud Orchestrator. In this procedure, we walk you through the necessary steps to create Snapshot copies with Cloud Volumes Service for AWS.

  1. 1. Log in to NetApp Cloud Central.

  1. 2. From My Services, select Cloud Volumes Service and click Get Started.

From My Services, select Cloud Volumes Service and click Get Started

  1. 3. On the cloud provider page, select AWS.
  1. On the cloud provider page, select AWS.
  2. 4. Under Volumes, select Create New Volume.

  3. Under Volumes, select Create New Volume.
  4. 5. Provide details for the volume such as the volume name, service level, allocated capacity, and security style. For the sake of this example, we’ll create an NFS volume.

  5. Provide details for the volume such as the volume name, service level, allocated capacity, and security style. For the sake of this example, we’ll create an NFS volume.
  6. 6. Scroll down and configure the NFS export policy. Include details such as the allowed client IP range and the access permissions.

  7. Scroll down and configure the NFS export policy. Include details such as the allowed client IP range and the access permissions.
  8. 7. Though it’s optional for provisioning the volume, we’ll set a Snapshot policy for the volume. To configure the volume’s Snapshot policy, scroll down. The Snapshot policy allows you to schedule automatic Snapshot creation on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Let’s take a closer look at what three of those options look like.

Selecting the Hourly policy, as shown here, creates a Snapshot copy every hour and retains the most recent Snapshot copy.
Selecting the Hourly policy, as shown here, creates a Snapshot every hour and retains the most recent Snapshot copy.
  • To create a daily Snapshot policy, click the Daily tab. In this example, we set the policy to create a Snapshot copy every day at 3:00 a.m. and to keep the three most recent Snapshot copies.


In this example, we set the policy to create a Snapshot copy every day at 3:00 a.m. and to keep the three most recent Snapshot copies.
  • To create a weekly Snapshot policy, select Weekly. In this example, we configured a policy to create a Snapshot copy every Sunday at 3:00 a.m. and to keep the five most recent Snapshot copies.

    In this example, we configured a policy to create a Snapshot at 3:00 a.m. and to keep the five most recent Snapshot copies.
    8. Click Create to create a volume, and the provisioning is complete.

    9. After it is provisioned, the volume is shown as available in the list of volumes.

    After it is provisioned, the volume is shown as available in the list of volumes.
    10. After the volume has been created, the mount instructions become available. Follow the instructions to mount the volume on a target Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) machine instance.

    Follow the instructions to mount the volume on a target Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) machine instance.

    Setting a Snapshot Policy After a Cloud Volume Is Created

    You can also add or modify the Snapshot policy after a cloud volume is created. In this procedure, we’ll walk you through the steps to set and change Snapshot policies for existing AWS cloud volumes.

    1. Start by selecting the existing volume for which you want to set a Snapshot policy.

    2. Click the volume’s Snapshot policy. In this example, we are going to add a monthly Snapshot policy, because a policy was not set during provisioning.

    In this example, we are going to add a monthly Snapshot policy, because a policy was not set during provisioning.

    As you can see in the previous image, we configured our monthly policy to create a Snapshot copy on the first day of every month and to retain the 12 most recent Snapshot copies.

    3. When the policy is set, click Save Changes.

    You can modify existing Snapshot policies at any time, even if they were created when the volume was provisioned.

    How to Create a Snapshot Copy on Demand

    Snapshot copies can also be created manually and on demand, no matter what the existing policy schedule is. In this procedure, we’ll look at how to create on-demand Snapshot copies.
    1. Click the Create New Snapshot button.

    Click the Create New Snapshot button. 
    3. Give a name to the Snapshot copy and click Create Snapshot.

    Give a name to the Snapshot copy and click Create Snapshot.
    4. After it’s created, the Snapshot copy is listed in the NetApp Cloud Orchestrator.

    After it's created, the Snapshot copy is listed in the NetApp Cloud Orchestrator.

    How to Restore Data from a Snapshot Copy

    Cloud Volumes Service allows you to create new cloud volumes from the Snapshot copies associated with an existing volume. This cloning process lets you return to a point-in-time copy of your data and create it as a new volume.

    1. Navigate to the volume details and then select Snapshots. In the list, select the Snapshot copy you want the new volume to be based on, and choose Restore to Volume.

    Navigate to the volume details and then select Snapshots. In the list, select the Snapshot copy you want the new volume to be based on, and choose Restore to Volume.
    2. Provision the new volume from the Snapshot copy by using the Create Volume wizard.

    Provision the new volume from the Snapshot copy by using the Create Volume wizard.
    3. The volume is created and listed in the Cloud Orchestrator interface.

    The volume is created and listed in the Cloud Orchestrator interface.
    4. You can then mount the volume to the target machine and use it as a new volume. It will contain all files that were present when the Snapshot copy was originally created.

    Mount the volume to the target machine and use it as a new volume.

    How to Set a Snapshot Copy to Read-Only Access

    Cloud Volumes Service also makes it possible to set up Snapshot copies with read-only access. That restriction might be required if you don’t want to restore the volume but do want to see the state of your volume at a particular point in time. The following steps show you how to set a Snapshot copy’s access to read-only.
    1. Browse to the directory where the volume is mounted, and list all directories by using the command to view the snapshot directory:

    Browse to the directory where the volume is mounted.

    2. Browse to the directory to view all the available Snapshot copies:

    Browse to the directory to view all the available Snapshot copies
    3. In this example, we will access the Snapshot copy we created earlier to copy over a single file. Browse to the
    snapshot_demo directory to view the list of available files when the Snapshot copy was created:

    View the list of available files when the Snapshot copy was created
    4. You cannot edit the file from the snapshot directory, because it is read-only. However, you can open the file to view the contents. 

    Edit the file from the snapshot directory or open the file to view the contents
    5. You can also copy the file to a different location to edit it.

    Copy the file to a different location to edit it
    This read-only feature is quite useful in scenarios where your files are corrupted or accidentally deleted. You can copy the files directly from the snapshot directory of the Cloud Volumes Service volume and move the copy to a different location.

    An Easy Rollback Mechanism 

    Snapshot copies in Cloud Volumes Service are useful for a number of applications, including rapid cloning, and they’re particularly handy in the deployment of test and development environments. Creating new Snapshot copies from existing volumes is both easy and storage efficient—and scheduled backups offer an additional layer of de facto protection. On-demand copies, similarly, provide an easy rollback mechanism if an application error or failure occurs.

    Ready to Get Started?

    To see for yourself how NetApp Cloud Volumes Service Snapshot copies work, get started with Cloud Volumes Service for AWS or request a demo to try it out today.

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