Data protection is the key to effective business continuity planning. Over the last few years, investment in big data has skyrocketed; 76% of organizations plan to maintain or increase their investment in big data over the next 2 to 3 years. With organizations focusing their attention on analytics and big data, protecting your data is more important than ever.


It’s said that data is the most important currency. That’s why it’s important to protect your most critical data with a strong business continuity plan. To achieve this goal, you need to understand the key metrics that apply specifically to data protection: RPO and RTO. Recovery point objective (RPO) refers to how much data loss your business application can tolerate. Recovery time objective (RTO) refers to how fast you can restart a failed application. Together, these metrics measure, or define, acceptable business risk.


Typically, backup and recovery is measured in hours. Disaster recovery is often measured in minutes. But business continuity goals are measured in seconds, often with no data loss at all.

Enterprises are investing heavily in dedicated hardware for their business continuity plans, which means higher capex costs. It’s prudent to use a technology that allows zero RPO at the volume granular level by leveraging existing production systems to achieve zero RPO for critical workloads. NetApp addresses this problem with SnapMirror® Synchronous, a data protection solution that promises zero RPO without requiring dedicated hardware.

The Technology: Synchronous SnapMirror

With ONTAP® 9.5, NetApp introduces SnapMirror Synchronous, a volume granular zero RPO data replication technology for your mission-critical applications.

This SnapMirror technology supports two modes of operation:


SnapMirror Synchronous (Sync)

    • Application I/O is sent simultaneously to primary and secondary storage systems.
    • If the write to the secondary storage does not complete, the application can continue writing to the primary storage.
    • RPO=0 and RTO is very low until a secondary replication failure occurs, at which time the RPO and RTO become indeterminate.

SnapMirror Strict Synchronous (StrictSync)

    • Application I/O is sent simultaneously to the primary and secondary storage systems.
    • If the I/O to the secondary storage does not complete for any reason (NetApp ONTAP, storage, network, and so on), then the application I/O fails with synchronous replication terminated to make sure that the primary and secondary volumes are identical (zero data loss).

With these modes, you can achieve your business continuity goals by using application recovery schemes that match any of the following use cases.


Use case #1: Two data centers for local disaster recovery

    • One synchronous relationship to a replica volume in a relatively local secondary data center

Use case #2: Two data centers enterprise application

    • One synchronous relationship for transaction logs in a local secondary data center
    • One asynchronous relationship for regular data to a secondary data center

Use case #3: Three data centers enterprise application

    • One synchronous relationship for transaction logs in a relatively local secondary data center
    • One asynchronous relationship for regular data to a more remote tertiary data center

Business Benefits

SnapMirror Synchronous (SM-S) benefits your business operations in numerous ways, as described in the following table.


OnCommand System Manager Accelerates Business Operations Through Simplified Data Protection Workflows

OnCommand® System Manager provides easy-to-use workflows for managing SnapMirror Synchronous. With System Manager, you can protect volumes from either source or destination.

The intuitive feedback guide from Help Me Choose in System Manager helps you to understand and implement business continuity solutions, enabling you to set recovery point objectives:

  • Zero. synchronous replication
  • Minutes. asynchronous replication
  • Hours. asynchronous replication

With OnCommand System Manager, you can set up data protection of your critical workloads at the time of creation.

Monitoring Critical Data Protection Solutions in Real Time

It’s important to have proactive and reactive mechanisms to measure and monitor your workloads. With OnCommand Unified Manager, you can get real-time status information about SnapMirror Synchronous relationships from the Unified Manager dashboard or from the detailed Volume Relationship tab.


You can also view a detailed topology view for each protected volume, regardless of the type of relationship it carries, including SnapMirror Synchronous.


For effective monitoring, there are supportive events specifically for these relationships that you can use to set up alert emails and SNMP traps. The Suggested Actions tab in the Event window reduces troubleshooting time, thereby improving the overall efficiency of operations management.

Additional Resources

Watch the manageability videos to learn how to simplify the monitoring and management of your most critical data replication solution.


With the introduction of SnapMirror Synchronous, it would be hard to find a better technology to meet your business continuity goals. Upgrade your ONTAP software to the 9.5 release. Also, don’t forget to upgrade or install OnCommand Unified Manager, the best monitoring solution for ONTAP, Cloud Volumes ONTAP, and ONTAP Select.

Dhiman Chakraborty

Dhiman Chakraborty is a Technical Marketing Engineer (TME) at Netapp focusing on OnCommand Unified Manager. As a TME, he offers consulting services to Customers and Field Solution architects on various manageability challenges they foresee in their environment. With several years of experience, working for multiple Fortune 500 Companies in the BFSI, Insurance, Manufacturing, Media & Publishing and Utilities space; Dhiman has a deep understanding of IT infrastructure and Management both in the traditional and in the hybrid/public cloud space.

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