SQL Server, PowerShell, and XtremIO Snapshots Part 1

XtremIO is becoming a popular platform for SQL Server. It performs excellent and has a great space benefit for database copies when using XtremIO snapshots. I have had a few customers asking questions about scripting snapshots for SQL Server on XtremIO using PowerShell.

Most Windows administrators these days are using PowerShell and many SQL DBA’s are also starting to use it. I decided to setup EMC AppSync with XtremIO in our lab, do a little testing, and create some PowerShell scripts to help our customers get started. My plan was to test two different scenarios, one for crash consistent and one for application consistent snapshots with EMC AppSync, but EMC announced a new native VSS provider with XtremIO 4.0 so now there will also be another way to do application consistent snapshots when 4.0 is released. This post will cover creating a crash consistent copy of a SQL database volume using XtremIO snapshots and mounting the snapshot to create a secondary QA database. This method will use the XtremIO REST API to create a snapshot of the source volume. PowerShell will be used to execute the required steps on XtremIO, VMware, and Windows.

The test environment is a SQL Server virtual machine on vSphere. The SnapTest01 volume is on a 50GB RDM on XtremIO and the SnapTest01_QA volume is a snapshot of the SnapTest01 volume.



The example script will show the process to refresh the QA volume with a new snapshot copy. Here is the basic logical flow of the process.


The first step is to load a few PowerShell modules, define some constants, and connect to VCenter and XtremIO. This is done by using the PowerCli and a function from my MTSXtremIO module, read about that here. This function uses the XtremIO REST API to create the snapshot. I also use a couple of other modules with some of my common functions and a NTFS Security Module which I did not write. I will put links to those at the end of the post.

The example above loads module dependencies and connects to VCenter and XtremIO. The SQL Management Objects are loaded to provide SQL Server functionality.

The next step is to detach the current QA database copy, remove the virtual hard disk, and remove snapshots. We will also do a couple of rescans in the process and remove the old snapshots.

The example above uses SQL Management Objects to access SQL and detach the database. It the uses the VMware PowerCli to remove the RDM from the virtual machine. Then connects to the XtremIO via REST API and deletes snapshots

Now we are ready to create a new snapshot, add it to the lunmap, add the disk to the vm, and attach the database.

The above example creates a snapshot and maps the volume to the host using the XtremIO REST API. It also rescans the disks and then adds the RDM to the virtual machine. Then the database is attached using SQL SMO.

This completes the database refresh. I hope someone finds this helpful. Next post will introduce AppSync into the mix for application consistency and some additional benefits.



MTSXtremIO Module
NTFSSecurity Module
MTSAuthentication Module