This article and the included demo videos provide an overview of how SAP HANA systems on Azure NetApp Files (ANF) can be protected by using NetApp BlueXP backup and recovery. BlueXP backup and recovery leverages Azure NetApp Files snapshot capabilities and offers end-to-end workflows to execute SAP HANA snapshot-based backup and restore operations.
Co-authors: Nils Bauer, SAP Technical Marketing Engineer
Companies today require continuous, uninterrupted availability for their SAP applications. They expect consistent performance levels in the face of ever-increasing volumes of data and the need for routine maintenance tasks, such as system backups. Performing backups of SAP databases is a critical task and can have a significant performance impact on the production SAP system.
Backup windows are shrinking while the amount of data to be backed up is increasing. Therefore, it is difficult to find a time when you can perform backups with minimal effect on business processes. The time needed to restore and recover SAP systems is a concern because downtime for SAP production and nonproduction systems must be minimized to reduce costs to the business.
You can use Azure NetApp Files snapshots to create database backups in seconds. The time needed to create a snapshot is independent of the size of the database. In addition, the use of snapshot technology has no performance effect on the live SAP system. Therefore, you can schedule the creation of snapshots without considering peak dialog or batch activity periods. SAP on Azure NetApp Files customers typically schedule multiple online snapshot backups during the day; for example, every four to six hours is common.
Snapshots also provide key advantages for restore and recovery operations. A volume revert operation enables the restoration of an entire database to any point in time, based on the available snapshots. Such restore processes are finished in less than a minute, independent of the size of the database. Because several online snapshot backups are created during the day, the time needed for the recovery process is significantly reduced relative to a traditional backup approach. Because a restore operation can be performed with a snapshot that is only a few hours old (rather than up to 24 hours), fewer transaction logs must be applied.
An introduction on value and use cases of HANA snapshot backup operations with Azure NetApp Files is covered in this video:
BlueXP backup and recovery
BlueXP backup and recovery is a set of data protection services hosted by NetApp as a SaaS. A BlueXP working environment is used to configure and manage the credentials for Azure NetApp Files.
BlueXP architecture and configuration
A BlueXP connector needs to be deployed within the customer environment. The connector is executing the Azure NetApp Files storage operations by using the Azure NetApp Files management APIs.
The HANA plug-in provides the HANA database specific logic and needs to be deployed on each HANA host. The HANA plug-in communicates with the HANA database using the HANA hdbsql client and a user store key.
The data protection configuration of an SAP HANA system in BlueXP is done with a few simple steps. First the System details must be provided, which includes the SID, the database host, and the user store key configuration, which is used to access the HANA database.
In a second step, the storage footprint needs to be configured. For a single host SAP HANA database, the database data volume needs to be added.
As a last step a backup policy needs to be created and assigned to the HANA system. The backup policy includes the backup operation type, either snapshot or files-based and the schedule and retention definition.
The data protection configuration of HANA systems in BlueXP backup and recovery is described in the video:
BlueXP backup with Azure NetApp Files snapshots
Snapshot data backups are executed with BlueXP backup and recovery by triggering an SAP HANA database backup savepoint so that the snapshot, which is created on the storage layer, is based on a consistent image of the SAP HANA database.
To enable a complete backup of all SAP HANA-related resources, BlueXP also supports to back up all non-data volumes with storage-based snapshots. You can schedule non-data volumes independently from the database data backup to enable individual retention and protection policies.
SAP recommends combining storage-based snapshot backups with a weekly file-based backup to execute a block integrity check. You can execute the block integrity check from within BlueXP. Block integrity check (file-based) backups are also used to offload backups to a second storage location.
Based on your configurable retention policies, BlueXP manages the housekeeping of data backups, log backups, and the SAP HANA backup catalog. The following figure summarizes the backup solution.
The different backup operations are explained in the video:
BlueXP restore and recovery from Azure NetApp Files snapshot
The restore and recovery operation using BlueXP backup and recovery is covered in the video:
Cloud Backup for Application provides the orchestration of backup and restore operations and simplifies the configuration and execution of SAP HANA on Azure NetApp Files snapshot backups. Scheduling and retention management is fully integrated on the HANA database and Azure NetApp Files infrastructure layer.