What to do about aged third party snapshots alert?

  • 10 March 2020
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If you’re managing backups with Veeam, Hycu, Commvault, Rubrik, or another third party application then you may have encountered the alert message “Aged third-party backup snapshots present” even though nothing seems to be wrong. If so, you probably want to know why you’re seeing this alert and what to do about it.

This alert doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem. It’s just seeing snapshot age. In most cases you just need to change the alert threshold which defaults to 7 days.

See this article for more details about the alert.

The phrase “third party snapshot” used in this alert refers to a specific type of snapshot requested by third party backup software using an API option specifically for this purpose.

The backup application essentially has ownership of this snapshot. If your backup policy is set up to keep only five snapshots for this job, or to remove any snapshots over 14 days old, the decision of when to delete is made within the third party backup software. On the Nutanix end, we delete the snapshot when the API request comes in.

We don’t have a UI method for managing these snapshots because you generally shouldn’t manage third party snapshots outside of the backup application that requested them. These backup applications are keeping backup metadata outside the CVM cluster which includes the date and time of snapshots taken, the snapshot UUID’s, and other information relevant to your backup. If we delete one of their snapshots from the Nutanix side it could invalidate the backup metadata and this might cause backups or restore procedures to fail. The backup application depends on the snapshot remaining in place until deletion is requested by the application. 

Because these snapshots are functionally hidden in our UI, we use this alert to let you know if a snapshot is still around after it should have been deleted, but as described above the Nutanix software doesn’t inherently know the retention policy.

To adjust the threshold, log in to Prism and go to the Alerts dashboard. Click on “Configure” at the top and select Alert Policy. Search for “Aged” and you should see “Aged third-party backup snapshots present” at the top of the list. Click the edit button (pencil icon) under the Action column. In the Update Policy UI that appears, set the threshold you want.

For more details, see the Prism Web Console Guide section for Configuring Alert Policies

If the threshold is already correct, the next thing is to check for any errors in your backup application. Depending on their software design, older snapshots might only get removed at the end of a successful backup so any failure might prevent removal of old snapshots. 

If there’s a backup recognized in the third party application that is older than your retention needs and you want to delete it, you should clean up the old snapshot through the backup application. 

If the threshold is correct, backups are working as designed, and no snapshots over the age threshold are visible in the backup application then you will need to work with Nutanix support to identify the older snapshot(s) and delete them via the CLI if necessary.

If you removed the backup application without cleaning up old snapshots, here again you will likely need to work with support.


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