As shown in Figure 2, PowerProtect Data Manager transparent snapshots use the vSphere API for I/O (VAIO) Filtering framework. The transparent snapshots data mover (TSDM) is deployed in the VMware ESXi infrastructure through a PowerProtect Data Manager VIB. This deployment creates consistent VM backup copies and writes the copies to the protection storage (PowerProtect appliance).
Figure 2. Transparent snapshots architecture
On the control and data paths:
- PowerProtect Data Manager assumes the role of an orchestrator where it identifies the VM assets in the VMware environment and provides scheduling capabilities.
- PowerProtect Data Manager uses VM Direct Engine (VMDE) to communicate with the VMware vCenter level APIs provided by VMware. The VM Direct Engine communicates with vCenter to achieve the following two key tasks:
- Creates and tracks the progress of the vCenter level tasks that are visible to the end users, such as sync, restore, and snapshot operations
- Is responsible for locating the relevant ESXi host on which the operation (backup or restore) is to be performed, based on the placement of the VM asset to be protected
- On each ESXi host, the protection-related APIs and workflows from VMware are facilitated using a VAIO filter.
- Each ESXi communicates with the Transparent Snapshot Data Mover (TSDM) component, which is responsible for the VM-backup data movement.
- The backup and restore processes transfer the transparent snapshots respectively to and from the PowerProtect appliance.
- TSDM also consists of the PowerProtect appliance SDK (DD Boost library), which helps the framework access the storage units on the PowerProtect appliance. It also helps write and read data from those storage units.
Note: PowerProtect Data Manager manages the TSDM component by using the VIB (VMware Certified) from Dell Technologies. This component is installed dynamically as part of the integration of PowerProtect Data Manager that requires protection of VMs using transparent snapshots. The APIs being used are supported in VMware ESXi 7.0 U3 and later.