Common Challenges

Large backup windows because of recurring full NDMP backups or network share backups

High impact on NAS filer performance because of backups crawling through millions of files

Large restore windows to restore from NDMP backups or network share backups

Difficult to integrate high performance and low cost cloud object storage with NAS protection

NAS storage replication causes NAS vendor lock-in and high TCO

Actifio NAS Director

Small backup window due to integration with NAS vendor snapshot APIs to enable incremental forever backups, thus eliminating recurring full backups

Negligible impact on NAS filers by avoiding file system crawl for millions of files

Multi-threaded NAS Director backup protects multiple files simultaneously thus further reducing the backup window

Instant access to backup images even with 100+ millions of files

Seamless replication to any S3 compatible object storage on-premises or in cloud

Instant access to NAS backup images stored even in object storage

Minimum resources needed (4 cores, 16GB RAM) for each Actifio NAS Director appliance to protect NAS shares with up to 200 million files

Scale out architecture with multiple NAS Director VM appliances for large NAS appliances


Fast Incremental Backup Forever

Actifio Sky NAS uses native NAS snapshots and APIs to query changed files and backup just the changes (Picture 1). This ensures that after the first full backup, every backup is incremental forever.  Thus Sky NAS, unlike other backup products, avoids traversing the entire file system of 100 Million files to determine which files changed, thus reducing the impact of backups on NAS filers by up to 20x.

backup NAS

Picture 1: Incremental forever backup with point-in-time synthetic virtual full

  1.  NAS Director issues a snapshot on NAS filer.
  2.  NAS Director invokes vendor APIs to query changed files
  3.  NAS Director protects just the changed files
  4.  NAS Director stores backups in virtual disk mounted from NAS Director’s snapshot pool
  5.  After each incremental backup, a point0-in0-time virtual full is synthesized

Instant Access

Each point-in-time synthetic “virtual full” backup NAS image is available for instant mount using Sky NAS as shown in Picture 2 below. Thus a user needing to restore a folder with 1 Million files can access the data from instant mount within minutes.

NAS backup strategy

Picture 2: Instant access from NAS backups

  1. User can select any point-in-time and submit an “instant mount” job
  2. NAS Director mounts the backup image as CIFS/NFS shares with all metadata intact
  3. User can access the mount point instantly, browse, and copy the desired files


User can set SLAs for how often to backup, how often & how to replicate their protected data. Actifio offers three replication options. In all cases, data is encrypted in transit for added security.

A. StreamSnap Replication: Incremental backups are compressed and replicated to a NAS Director running at a remote site. Virtual full images are automatically synthesized at the remote Sky snapshot pool for instant access as shown in picture 3 below.

nas backup solution

Picture 3: StreamSnap replication with instant access from NAS backups

  1. Multiple PODs of NAS Director and Sky can be used to protect a scale out NAS file server
  2. StreamSnap replication with compression
  3. Virtual point-in-time images are available for instant access

B. Dedup Async Replication: Incremental backups are deduped and replicated to NAS Director running at remote site. Usage of deduplication is beneficial when multiple weeks, months of retention is needed.

nas backup solution

Picture 4: Dedup Async Replication with instant access from NAS backup

  1. Dedup replication
  2. Efficient retention with deduplication
  3. Virtual point-in-time images are available for instant access

C. OnVault: Incremental backups are compressed and replicated directly to S3 compatible object storage on-premises or in cloud.  Virtual full images are automatically synthesized within object storage, as shown in Picture 5.

Storing NAS backups for more than 6 months or multiple years or decades in object storage is the most economical solution.

backup nas solution

Picture 5: Replication to Object Storage

  1. Fewer NAS Director and Sky virtual machine appliances are needed while storing in object storage
  2. Replication using compression
  3. Virtual point-in-time images are synthesized instantly for instant access

Disaster Recovery

With each of the replication architectures, users don’t need a Actifio NAS Director VM appliance at the DR site during steady state replication. During DR or DR test, users can provision on-demand Actifio NAS Director VM appliances to deliver instant mounts from backups. This on-demand architecture further reduces total cost of ownership for enterprises.

NAS Appliances Supported

  • Isilon (OneFS 7.2.x )
  • NetApp (ONTAP 7.x , 8.x)

How to Buy

Turn-key Solutions from Partners

Virtual Appliance

AWS, Azure, Oracle, Google & IBM Cloud Marketplaces

See Actifio in Action

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