NetApp wanted to give customers that use the Microsoft platform more options for storage and data availability. To do so, NetApp decided to update offerings to support Microsoft SQL Server 2012. As a result, customers can rapidly implement high-availability
and disaster-recovery plans, boost efficiency, and improve agility. In addition, clients can lower storage infrastructure and management costs by using SQL Server 2012 with network-attached storage.
NetApp manufactures storage systems and provides data management applications and services. Because a large percentage of customers use the Microsoft platform, NetApp offers solutions that are integrated with Microsoft SQL Server data management software.
For example, NetApp SnapManager® for SQL Server increases data availability with near-instantaneous backups, rapid and highly granular restores, and fast and space-efficient database cloning. Clients can also use NetApp SnapMirror® to accelerate the seeding
and reseeding of SQL Server database replicas. To help customers, NetApp wanted to enhance its high-availability and disaster-recovery solutions for the Microsoft platform by supporting more system replicas and simplifying the processes for managing them.
John Parker, Manager of Technical Marketing at NetApp, says, “In the past, if you used database mirroring, you had to go in and set up users and permissions for every database copy. It was time-consuming to keep users and permissions in sync across multiple
||We are excited about SQL Server 2012 supporting SMB file shares because we see it as an easy way for customers to reduce overall storage infrastructure and management costs.
Technical Alliance Manager
NetApp also wanted to give customers that use the Microsoft platform more choices in storage. To date, clients used SQL Server with storage area networks (SANs) or direct-attached storage (DAS). NetApp also wanted to support SQL Server on network-attached storage
(NAS) so that companies had a simpler, lower-cost storage alternative. “Not all data is created equal,” says Parker. “Some is critical and requires the higher-performance and disaster-recovery capabilities of a NetApp SAN. However, less-critical information
can be effectively stored on NAS.”
In 2011, NetApp began testing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise so that it could help its customers upgrade to the new release. In addition, NetApp wanted to modify its applications to support SQL Server 2012. “From a storage vendor’s point of view, we
initially wondered how we could complement some of the new features and functionality of SQL Server 2012 to add value for our customers,” says Richard Preston, Technical Alliance Manager at NetApp. “Once we really understood how SQL Server 2012 worked, we
realized it offered us many opportunities.”
By supporting SQL Server 2012 on NetApp FAS and V-Series unified data storage systems, clients can use tools such as NetApp SnapManager and SnapMirror to protect databases in SQL Server AlwaysOn availability groups and set up and manage high-availability
and disaster-recovery plans for SQL Server across multiple locations. Another advantage to supporting SQL Server 2012 is that customers can use it with Server Message Block (SMB) NAS file shares.
In the fall of 2011, NetApp engineers began to update NetApp SnapManager for SQL Server to complement capabilities in SQL Server 2012. By doing so, customers can use NetApp solutions with SQL Server 2012 to accelerate database backups and restorations; manage
SQL Server 2012 availability groups; and speed database replica seeding and reseeding. For example, administrators can use NetApp FlexClone® to create virtual copies of the databases in an availability group for developing, testing, or reporting. In addition,
IT personnel can deploy SQL Server 2012 on NetApp FAS and V-Series storage systems with Data ONTAP® 8.1 in Cluster-Mode to enable nondisruptive operations and dynamic scaling. By doing so, administrators can perform storage infrastructure upgrades and maintenance
with no interruption to users, minimizing planned downtime.
By supporting SQL Server 2012, NetApp can help companies cut costs, increase availability, and improve efficiency.
Today, NetApp can offer clients that use the Microsoft platform more storage options and, as a result, new ways to cut expenses. Preston says, “We are excited about SQL Server 2012 supporting SMB file shares, because we see it as an easy way for customers
to reduce overall storage infrastructure and management costs. By using NAS instead of SAN, companies don’t have to make significant investments in storage infrastructure and dedicated administrative support.”
Facilitates High Availability and Disaster Recovery
By integrating its offerings with SQL Server 2012, NetApp can help clients better protect data that resides in physical, virtual, or even cloud-based environments. Parker elaborates, “By upgrading our SnapMirror product to support SQL Server 2012, customers
can create up to 16 mirrors. This provides additional high availability and disaster recovery so a secondary storage device can take over for the primary should an outage occur or if maintenance is needed.”
Increases Efficiency and Agility
By using SQL Server 2012 with NAS, organizations can increase data portability, and, in turn, increase efficiency and agility. For example, administrators can use NetApp tools to simplify the storage management for databases and rapidly add more data capacity
if needed. Preston says, “Database administrators commonly do not have the authority to mount storage on a SAN, but pretty much all database administrators can map a drive.”
IT personnel can also be more productive by using SQL Server 2012. “Databases in SQL Server AlwaysOn availability groups are self-contained units, so administrators do not have to manage users and permissions separately on each database copy,” says Parker.
In addition, NetApp customers can use FlexClone to clone availability groups. “Unlike physical copies, FlexClone copies occupy practically no space on disk and are created in seconds, regardless of the actual database size,” says Preston. “This allows our
customers to further leverage their data.”
Additionally, NetApp plans to update its offerings to support SQL Server 2012 on the upcoming Windows Server 8 operating system to take advantage of its support for the next-generation SMB 3.0. Preston explains, “We will be able to back up SQL Server 2012
databases that reside on SMB file shares on NetApp storage almost instantaneously using the Remote Volume Shadow Copy Service that will be available in Windows Server 8.”
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.