IT modernization and cloud are driving new requirements for data protection. We are already seeing backup solutions leveraging public cloud, and disaster recovery solutions will quickly follow suit. The NetApp OnCommand Workflow Automation engineering team recently published a new pack on the Storage Automation Store, which helps NetApp customers automate the failover switchback process when using SnapMirror, SnapVault and MetroCluster.


Data Protection Primer

This OnCommand Workflow Automation pack automates processes for three popular NetApp data protection solutions: SnapMirrow, SnapVault, and MetroCluster.

  • SnapMirror, which provides asynchronous disaster recovery
  • SnapVault, which provides high speed backup, and near instant restores over a long distance.
  • MetroCluster, which provides synchronous replication for active-active site recovery within a shorter distance, with zero RPO and near zero RTO.

At a minimum, you will need OnCommand Unified Manager 6.2 or higher and OnCommand Workflow Automation 3.x however we recommend that you always download the latest available release (UM 6.3 and WFA 3.1).




















Here is the step-by-step process for implementing this automated data protection pack.


During Failover

MetroCluster configurations protect data by using two physically separated, mirrored clusters. Each cluster synchronously mirrors the data and Storage Virtual Machine (SVM) configuration of the other. When a disaster occurs at one site, an administrator can activate the mirrored SVM and begin serving the mirrored data from the surviving site. Additionally, the nodes in each cluster are configured as an HA pair, providing a level of local failover.


SVM mirroring provides redundant data server configuration and mirroring of data volumes that belong to the SVM. If a switchover occurs, the source SVM is brought down and the destination SVM, located on the surviving cluster, becomes active. All of the SnapMirror configurations are cleared on the disaster site, in the event of MetroCluster switchover or switchback. Admin needs to manually restore all of the SnapMirror configuration after switch over and switchback.


The steps involved to restore the SnapMirror configurations are:

Step 1: Recreate SnapMirror and SnapVault protection after MetroCluster switchover.

Step 2: Retain SnapMirror and SnapVault data before MetroCluster switchback.

Step 3: Recreate SnapMirror and SnapVault protection after MetroCluster switchback.












Why Use Workflow Automation?

The cleared SnapMirror configuration is not restored automatically after switchover or switchback, which means that the admin has to do it manually. This can be a long, tedious process when you have a large number of data protection relationships. Introducing automation promotes best practices for continuous data protection during these types of occurrences-whether planned or unplanned failover occurs.


The “Workflow Automation For Automated Data Protection During Failover” pack lets you recreate SnapMirror and SnapVault protection automatically, after MetroCluster switchover and switchback has occurred. This WFA pack contains three workflows that let you:

  1. Re-create SnapMirror and SnapVault protection after MetroCluster switchover
  2. Retain MetroCluster switchover data before switchback
  3. Re-create SnapMirror and SnapVault Protection after MetroCluster switchback

These three workflows fully address of all the data protection steps required during a disaster recovery scenario when a MetroCluster solution in place. The workflow completes the backup of the SnapMirror configuration before switchover or switchback, and then restores it after switchover and switchback.


Download The Pack

If you are already using OnCommand Workflow Automation 3.x and are on clustered Data ONTAP 8.2 or higher, you can download the Workflow Automation For Automated Data Protection During Failover pack from the Storage Automation Store link within WFA and watch the step-by-step demo video. If you are new to OnCommand Workflow Automation watch the WFA overview video and speak to your NetApp representative.

Kristina Brand

Kristina Brand is a Senior Product & Solutions Marketing Manager and has been with NetApp over seven years. She is responsible for GTM strategy and execution in the Cloud Product Marketing group. Prior to NetApp, she has experience at several software companies including Progress Software and NICE Systems. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Business at Quinsigamond Community College.

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