A Snapshot of Snapshots

Storage Snapshots are excellent tools in arsenal of a system administrator to create quick and consistent backups of their databases and applications. Snapshot is a “picture” of a filesystem at a point-in-time. In most modern snapshot implementations, this “picture” is not a full copy of the data, but rather a set of pointers to the data.

Here is a list of current industry leading snapshot technologies:

  • LVM Snapshots: Snapshot capability built into the Linux Volume Manager (LVM) – the default option on a Linux system.
  • ZFS Snapshots: Snapshot capability built into the ZFS filesystem on Solaris and OpenSolaris
  • NetApp SnapShots: A feature of the WAFL® (Write Anywhere File Layout) filesystem
  • Windows VSS: Volume Shadow Copy Service from Microsoft introduced in Windows Server 2003. VSS is also available with Windows XP, Vista, and 2008 Server.
  • VxFS Snapshots: Snapshot capability built into the Veritas File System
  • EMC SnapView: Snapshot capability on the EMC CLARiiON storage systems
  • IBM FlashCopy: Available in the IBM Storage Subsystems (DS8000, DS6000, ESS 800, SAN VC)
  • EqualLogic Smart Copy: Feature in the Dell EqualLogic PS Series

Our Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL product uses storage snapshots as one of the technologies to do a quick full backup of the MySQL database. We currently support LVM, ZFS, NetApp, VSS and VxFS Snapshots. Rest are coming soon…

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