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Guid snapshots with curly bracket found in NetApp Volume

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Snapshots with GUID name i.e curly brackets found on the NetApp volume

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Guid snapshots with curly bracket found in NetApp Volume

  1. 1. Snapshots with curly {alphanumeric} brackets found on the NetApp volume Background: Recently I was investigating large number of ‘NetApp Volume Snapshots’ on the 7- mode FILER, which clearly looked like non-regular snapshots. I say non-regular b'cos normally FILER does not allow you to create snaps with {} curly brackets, give it a try and it will throw an error. Further into my investigation, I found out that there were hundreds of snaps across multiple volumes hosting 'Exchange database' and along with {} snapshots there were also snaps such as: 'exchsnap__exch-srv1_MM-DD-YYYY_HH.MM.SS__daily' so that is an indication that there is an application 'SnapManager for Exchange' behind the Exch DB backups. Hence, I found my source for further investigation. Source of the trouble: Jumped to the server hosting SnapManager for Exchange application. Bydefault, SME works in conjunction with VSS framework and SnapDrive, SME integrates with Microsoft VSS framework seamlessly- i.e VSS Components for SME Backup:  VSS requestor = Backup Application ‘SnapManager for Exchange’  VSS writer = MS Exchange writer ‘Comes with your Application : MS Exchange’  VSS Provider (SAN) = NetApp VSS Hardware provider <-API--> SnapDrive <-ZAPI--> FILER Please note: Data Ontap VSS Hardware Provider component comes with SnapDrive. In other words, when you install SnapDrive, VSS Hardware Provider also gets installed.
  2. 2. Typical SnapManager for Exchange Backup process from VSS framework perspective for Exch 2003 onwards: [Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) was introduced in Windows Server 2003] The entire process is orchestrated by the VSS coordination service initiated by SME: 1. SnapManager determines which LUNs it wants to capture and verifies that Exchange Server is present as a valid writer. 2. SnapManager initiates the shadow copy process. 3. VSS informs Exchange Server and the Data ONTAP VSS Hardware Provider that a shadow copy is starting. Exchange Server stops writing to disk. 4. VSS ensures that NTFS is in a consistent state. 5. VSS requests the Data ONTAP VSS Hardware Provider to create a shadow copy. 6. The Data ONTAP VSS Hardware Provider requests SnapDrive to create a Snapshot copy of the storage system volume that contains the specified LUN. 7. SnapDrive requests that the storage system create a Snapshot copy of the specified volume. 8. When the shadow copy is complete, VSS returns NTFS to a normal state and informs Exchange that it can resume disk writes. So, what is Curly bracket snapshot: is basically 'Shadow copy ID', in other words a 'GUID’ that uniquely identifies a shadow copy' which is absolutely part & parcel of the SME Backup process. Reason: When SnapManager for Exchange performs a backup, it creates the Snapshot copy using a VSS-specific [GUID] name format, b’cos SnapManager for Exchange is integrated into VSS framework and hence it is govern by VSS format, once the shadow-copy is created, 3rd party application can ask VSS to forget about the snapshot and do whatever they need to do, depending upon their backup procedure. Once the snapshot copy is taken successfully, it is then changed to its SnapManager-specific name format. This happens automatically. One should be able to view the original VSS-specific name of the Snapshot copy and the rename process in the SnapManager backup report which logs this name change. Examples of Snapshot copy names:  VSS-specific Snapshot copy name: {206f538c-ecd0-4799-90f9-baff5d8e0f15}  SnapManager-specific Snapshot copy name: exchsnap_exch-srv1_03-22-2006_17.53.33
  3. 3. Question: Why did these GUID snaps were not renamed in this case and were left ‘orphaned’? Answer: Looks like SnapDrive at some point was unable to communicate with Storage system (Initiator lost connection to the specified LUN or Snapshot is inconsistent or does not exist for some reason) and if any of these instances occur, the Snapshot will not be deleted. I traced this error in the Windows Application event log: In-band SCSI command from LUN (FC) to storage system returned invalid data. Snapshot doesn't exist. As it turns out there is a known BUG: 808158 https://mysupport.netapp.com/NOW/cgi-bin/bol?Type=Detail&Display=808158 BUG says: Sometimes when deleting backups after creating backups especially in identification and cleaning up of orphaned Snapshots of either a database or log volume, Snap Drive might not delete the specified Snapshot because of any of following reasons,  Snapshot is inconsistent or does not exist for some reason  Initiator lost connection to the specified LUN  A Data ONTAP issue If any of these instances occur, the Snapshot will not be deleted yet Snap Manager for Exchange deletes its SnapInfo folder (for example, meta-data of the Snapshot from the log volume) as the first step toward cleaning up the orphaned Snapshot. As a result, the orphaned Snapshot might be still not cleaned up properly. Workaround: There is no permanent solution but only workaround - Manually go to the specified volume (where that DB LUN exists) and delete the orphaned curly {Snapshot}, which was not cleaned up properly because SnapDrive was unable to delete it. ashwinwriter@gmail.com July, 2018

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