In order to catalog the contents of volumes and snapshots a storage array would have to be file system aware and have an understanding of the data contained within the file system. As Nimble is a block storage only platform and does not provide native NAS capability (e.g. CIFS or NFS), the array is not aware of the contents of the file system stored on each volume, the file structure is the responsibility of the operating system that has formatted the volume and has control of it (e.g. NTFS, VMFS etc.). Backup tools such as Backup Exec typically work at the file system level (via a Windows agent, VMware agent etc.) and as such they can understand the contents of the file system they are backing up, and index the objects contained in each backup, thus allowing selective restore from an index of contents. So whilst there is enormous value in using Nimble snapshots to take very regular, space efficient backups of your data and virtual servers, delivering fantastic RPO and RTO capabilities, granular indexing of the contents of those snapshots is not a feature we can currently offer natively. You may be interested to know however that CommVault does have IntelliSnap integration for Nimble Storage, meaning that they can leverage native Nimble snapshots as part of the CommVault backup process, with Nimble taking the Snapshot but CommVault providing the indexing and granular recover capability. If you are interested in moving away from tape based backups then this would be worth looking at. You can find some further information here: http://docs.commvault.com/commvault/v10/article?p=features/snap_backup/nimble/overview.htm
Hope this helps,
Just following up on my previous reply, I've recently become aware that we have the capability for Symantec NetBackup to also utilize Nimble Snapshots as a backup which can then be retained on a schedule and used for ‘instant recovery’, with NetBackup providing the cataloguing facility for the contents. There is a great demo video created by my colleague Bill Roth explaining this functionality in more detail on You Tube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlLpxtkgshM.
Unfortunately the same 'instant recovery' functionality isn't supported by Backup Exec which lacks the ability that NetBackup has to retain snapshots on the VSS hardware provider. When Backup Exec is used to take a snapshot integrated backup on Nimble it simply uses the snapshot as a “frozen image method” to capture data in preparation for transfer to external media (tape/disk/etc.). That said, Backup Exec is able to perform an 'off-host backup' such that the Backup Exec client is not in the data transfer path. The above video includes an explanation and demo of how an off host backup works (using NetBackup).
Hope this is helpful,