IntelliSnap - Oracle ZFS Storage - Overview

IntelliSnap backup enables you to create a point-in-time snapshot of the data used for backups. An effective way to back up live data is to quiesce it temporarily, take a snapshot, and then resume live operations. IntelliSnap backup works in conjunction with storage arrays to provide snapshot functionality for backup.

You can use the IntelliSnap backup to perform any level of backups (for example, Full, Incremental, or Differential). When you switch from a snap to a traditional backup or vice-versa, the next job is converted to a full backup. While you perform an IntelliSnap backup or any subsequent operations, you can use a proxy server to reduce the load on the production server. The backup copy operation uses the proxy to move the snap to backup media. Proxy server is supported with hardware storage arrays.

The following illustration describes the process involved in IntelliSnap backup:

Advantages of Using IntelliSnap Backup

The following table lists some of the advantages of using IntelliSnap backup over other available backup solutions.

Feature Support Generic Software Solution Simpana IntelliSnap Backup
Backup to Tape
During incremental or log backups only relevant incremental or log data is moved to media which enables significant reduction in media usage.  
Hardware Independent - No dependency on the hardware array  
Snapshot copy, backup copy, and tape copy creation and management are seamless. Application aware snapshots creation can be scheduled. The snapshots can be cataloged/indexed for restore and movement to media based on policies.  
To reduce load on the production server, a proxy server can be used for operations like movement to media and integrity check.  
Restores can be performed directly from media to the application server.  
Ability to mix and match IntelliSnap backup with traditional backups. You can perform full IntelliSnap backups combined with incremental log backups that are moved to media.  
All data management operations can be performed from the CommCell Console.  

How Does IntelliSnap Backup Work

Backup job is scheduled using the CommCell Console. When the backup job is started:

  • The array is accessed to create a snapshot.
  • The snapshot is mounted on the proxy or source computer for post backup operations.
  • The snapshot is unmounted.

This snapshot is used for backup copy operations. This can also be used for restore/mount operations.

During the Backup Copy operations:

  • The snapshot is mounted to the source or proxy computer.
  • The mounted snapshot is treated like a file system and the required contents are read.
  • The file system backup is performed on the Primary Copy of the storage policy.
  • When the backup copy job is finished, the snapshot is unmounted.

Data Aging:

  • The jobs for the snapshot are pruned based on the retention policy for the snapshot copy.
  • The snapshots that are related to the pruned jobs are deleted from the array periodically.


The IntelliSnap Backup documentation uses the following terminology:

Storage Device A device used for backup or archival purposes.
Storage Array A high-end disk storage system. The IntelliSnap software is designed to work in conjunction with the snapshot ability built into the storage array.
Proxy A computer other than the production server on which you can perform IntelliSnap operations. A proxy  is used to decrease the load on the production server.
Snapshot Copy An additional copy of the protected data that is used in IntelliSnap operations.