Advanced Backup - SnapProtect for VMware

Table of Contents

Enabling or Disabling Granular Recovery

You can enable the granular recovery option to collect file and folder metadata during SnapProtect backups. Otherwise, restoring files and folders from SnapProtect backups requires mounting a snapshot that enables a Live Browse of file and folder information.

Perform the following steps to enable the granular recovery option when performing a backup:

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers > virtualization_client > Virtual Server > VMware > backup_set.
  2. Right-click the subclient and then select Backup.
  3. Select the Backup Type.
  4. Click Advanced.
  5. On the Data tab, select the Enable Granular Recovery for SnapProtect check box.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Click OK to start the SnapProtect backup with granular recovery.

Once you perform the SnapProtect backup with granular recovery, you can restore files and folders from that backup without mounting the hardware snap.

  • When Enable Granular Recovery is enabled, you cannot perform a Live Browse using the File Recovery Enabler for Linux.
  • Metadata collection using the Enable Granular Recovery option is not supported for SnapProtect backups of Linux virtual machines. To recover files and folders from SnapProtect backups of Linux virtual machines, use Live File Recovery.
  • If granular recovery is enabled but some file information could not be read (for example, ext4 data for a Linux VM), partial metadata is collected during the backup, and you can only browse files and folders for which metadata was successfully captured. To enable Live File Recovery to be used in such situations, you can add the bAllowPartialVMMetadata additional setting to the Virtual Server Agent proxy and set the value to false. With that setting, partial metadata for a virtual machine is discarded, enabling Live File Recovery to be used for browse and restore operations. For steps, see Add or Modify an Additional Setting.

Backup Copy without Granular Recovery

When creating a backup copy, you must use the granular recovery option to recover files and folders from the backup copy. The granular recovery option is enabled by default when you create a backup copy; but you can disable it if the backup copy is not required for restoring files and folders.

Perform the following steps to disable granular recovery when creating a backup copy:

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers > virtualization_client > Virtual Server > VMware > backup_set.
  2. Right-click the subclient and then select Backup.
  3. Select the Backup Type.
  4. Click Advanced.
  5. On the Data tab, select the Create Backup Copy immediately check box.
  6. Clear the Enable Granular Recovery For Backup Copy check box.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click OK to create the backup copy without granular recovery.

Changed Block Tracking

Changed Block Tracking (CBT) is a VMware feature that can be used to optimize backups of virtual machines by reading only the allocated and modified portions of a virtual disk. CBT is automatically enabled for virtual machines running on hardware version 7 or higher.

For more information on Changed Block Tracking, see Changed Block Tracking (CBT) on virtual machines (1020128).

Disabling Changed Block Tracking

By default, Changed Block Tracking (CBT) is used for backups using the Virtual Server Agent. For virtual machines where there is a known issue , you can turn off CBT to run backups using Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) instead.

To disable Changed Block Tracking for a subclient:

  1. From the CommCell Browser, navigate to Client Computers | <VirtualizationClient> | Virtual Server | VMware | <BackupSet>.
  2. Right-click the subclient and select Properties.
  3. Click the Backup Options tab.
  4. On the Backup Options tab, clear the Use Changed Block Tracking option.
    • When the Use Changed Block Tracking option is selected, CBT is enabled and used for backups where it was not already specified. The vsbkp log indicates that CBT is used.
    • When the Use Changed Block Tracking option is cleared, CBT is not enabled, and CRC is used for backups. The vsbkp log indicates that CRC is used.
  5. Click OK.

This change is tracked in the Audit Trail Report.

Full Backup

Full backups provide the most comprehensive protection of data. However, full backups also consume the most amount of time and resources. To streamline the backup process, several additional backup types are available. The sections below describe the additional backup types that are available.

Backup and restores of entire virtual machines are supported for all guest operating systems supported by VMware.

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers | <vCenter Client> | Virtual Server | VMware | <BackupSet>.
  2. Right-click the <Subclient> and click Backup.

    Click Yes.

  3. Select Full as backup type and Immediate to run the job immediately.

    Click OK.

  4. You can track the progress of the job from the Job Controller or Event Viewer window.
  5. Once job is complete, view the details of job from the Job History.

    Right-click the client computer, click View and then click View Job History.

  6. Click OK.
  7. You can view the following details about the job by right-clicking the job:
    • Items that succeeded during the job
    • Items that failed during the job
    • Details of the job
    • Media associated with the job
    • Events of the job
    • Log files of the job.

Incremental Backups

An incremental backup contains only data that is new or has changed since the last backup, regardless of the type. On average, incremental backups consume far less media and place less of a burden on resources than full backups. 

The illustration on the right clarifies the nature of full and incremental backups. For simplicity, assume there is a file system that contains six files as represented in the figure.

Backup #1 is a full backup and therefore writes all the data, changed and unchanged, to the backup media. Backups #2 through #n-1 are incrementals and only back up those files that have changed since the time of the last backup, regardless of the type. For example, files A, B, and E changed after the full backup and were therefore backed up in Backup #2. Backup #4 backed up files A and D because both files were modified sometime after Backup #3 occurred. File F did not change; hence, it was not backed up in any of the incremental backups, but it was included in both full backups, which, by definition, back up everything.

During incremental backups, Changed Block Tracking is used to optimize backups of virtual machines by reading only the allocated and modified portions of a virtual disk. Changed Block Tracking is automatically enabled for virtual machines running on hardware version 7 or higher.   

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers | <vCenter Client> | Virtual Server | VMware | <BackupSet>.
  2. Right-click the <Subclient> and click Backup.
  3. Right click the subclient and click Backup.
  4. Select Incremental as the Backup Type.
  5. Select Immediate as the Job Initiation option.
  6. Click OK.

    You can track the progress of the backup job from the Job Controller window.

    When the backup has completed, the Job Controller displays Completed.

Differential Backups

A differential backup contains only the data that is new or has changed since the last full backup. Like incremental backups, differential backups, on average, consume less media and place less of a burden on resources than full backups. Differential backups are cumulative. This means that each differential backup contains all changes accumulated since the last full backup. Each successive differential backup contains all the changes from the previous differential backup. 

The illustration on the right demonstrates the nature of differential backups. For simplicity, assume there is a file system that contains six files as represented in the figure.

Backup #1 is a full backup and therefore writes all the data to the backup media. Backups #2 through #n-1 are differential backups and only back up those files that changed since the time of the last full backup. For example, files A, B, and E changed after the full backup and were therefore backed up in Backup #2 as well as all subsequent differential backups. File C changed sometime after Backup #2 and was consequently backed up in Backup #3 and all subsequent differential backups. File F did not change; hence, it was not backed up in any of the differential backups, but it was included in both full backups, which, by definition, back up everything.

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers | <vCenter Client> | Virtual Server | VMware | <BackupSet>.
  2. Right-click the <Subclient> and click Backup.
  3. Right click the subclient and click Backup.
  4. From the Backup Options dialog box, select from the following options:

    Backup Type:

    • Select Differential.

    Backup Schedule:

    • Select Run Immediately
  5. Click OK.
  6. You can track the progress of the backup job from the Job Controller window.
  7. When the backup has completed, the Job Controller displays Completed.

Synthetic Full Backups

A synthetic full backup is a synthesized backup, created from the most recent full backup and subsequent incremental or differential backups. The resulting synthetic full backup is identical to a full backup for the subclient.

Unlike full, incremental, and differential backups, a synthetic full backup does not actually transfer data from a client computer to the backup media and does not use any resources on the client computer.

Synthetic full backups are media-based; they read backup data from one media and simultaneously write (restore) the result to the new active media within the same media group. As a result, synthetic full backups require that at least two media drives for the same storage policy be available at the time the job is started. Synthetic full backups cannot be performed on subclients where the storage policy is associated with a stand-alone drive.

Note: For Forever Incremental backups with the Virtual Server Agent, create a separate Snap copy on the storage policy and specify a data aging rule that includes the Retain Snaps by Number of Jobs option with a number of jobs that matches your backup cycle. This ensures that the previous backup jobs are pruned on a regular basis. For more information, see Data Aging for SnapProtect Snapshots.

Accelerated Synthetic Full Backups (DASH Full)

When a storage policy copy is deduplicated, synthetic full backups can be created in an accelerated mode to significantly reduce the copy duration. This is done by identifying and transferring the data signatures (instead of the data itself) to the target wherever possible.

Running Backup Copy for a Subclient

Prerequisites

Procedure

Before a synthetic full backup can be run for a subclient, any jobs that should be included in the synthetic full backup must be moved to the backup copy media. You can use this option if a synthetic full backup fails because required backup copies are still pending.

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers > virtualization_client > Virtual Server > VMware  > backup_set.
  2. Right-click the subclient and click Run Backup Copy.

Running Synthetic Full Backups

Before You Begin

Procedure

Synthetic full backups can be started manually or scheduled to occur at regular intervals.

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers > virtualization_client > Virtual Server > VMware > backup_set.
  2. Right-click the subclient and click Backup.
  3. From the Backup Options dialog:
    1. Select Synthetic Full under Select Backup Type.
    2. Clear the Run Incremental Backup option; you cannot use the Before Synthetic Full or After Synthetic Full options.
    3. Select Immediate under Job Initiation.
  4. Click OK.

You can track the progress of the backup job from the Job Controller. When the backup has completed, the Job Controller displays Completed.

When restoring data, if a synthetic full backup is the most recent backup performed on an SnapProtect-enabled subclient, that backup is used for the restore operation. If an incremental backup has been performed since the synthetic full backup, you must select the Browse from copy precedence option on the Advanced Options tab of the Browse and Restore Options dialog and specify the copy precedence number for the associated storage policy copy. For example, to restore from a snapshot copy, you must browse using the copy precedence number from the storage policy for the snapshot copy.

Restores can be initiated from a subclient or backupset, or through backup job history.

Scheduling a Backup

  1. From the CommCell Console, navigate to Client Computers | <vCenter Client> | Virtual Server | VMware | <BackupSet>.
  2. Right-click the Subclient and click Backup.
  3. Click Schedule to schedule the backup for a specific time.
  4. Click Configure to set the schedule for the backup job. The Schedule Details dialog displays.
  5. Select the appropriate scheduling options.  For example:
    • Click Weekly.
    • Check the days you want the run the backup job.
    • Change the Start Time to 9:00 PM
    • Click OK to close the Schedule Details dialog
    • Click OK to close the Backup Options dialog

    The backup job will execute as per the schedule.

Verifying the Virtual Machine Protection Coverage

When you setup a backup schedule, it is recommended to get information about the number of virtual machines protected at any point-in-time. This information will be useful to verify that all the virtual machines are getting protected as per the backup schedule. Use one of the following methods to get this information:

Viewing Details of the Backup Job

You can view the list of virtual machines backed up during a job.

When a backup job is running, follow the steps given below to view the list of virtual machines:

  1. From the Job Controller pane, right-click the backup job and select View Job Details.
  2. Click the Virtual Machine Status tab.
Once a job is complete, you can view the details of job from the Backup History.
  1. Right-click the Subclient and select Backup History.
  2. Click OK on the Backup History Filter dialog box.
  3. By default, a list of all the backup jobs completed in previous 24 hours is displayed.
  4. Right-click any backup job and select View Job Details.
  5. Click the Virtual Machine Status tab.

This tab displays the list of all the virtual machines backed up during the job. It also shows the status of the backup for each virtual machine.

When you verify the status of the backup, keep in mind:

  • For File Level and Volume Level regular backups, the table displays N/A in the VM Size and CBT Status columns.
  • For Linux virtual machines, the Guest Size will appear as 0.

Viewing the Backup Job Summary Report

The Backup Job Summary report can show a detailed status of each virtual machine included in the backup. Follow the steps given below to include the status of protected virtual machines in the Job Summary Report:

  1. On the CommCell Console toolbar, click the Reports tab, and then click the Summary button.

    The Report Selection dialog box appears.

    By default, the Backup option is selected on the General tab under Data Management.

  2. On the Computers tab, select each virtualization client for which you want to view protected virtual machines.

  1. By default, the Include Protected VMs check box is selected on the Selection tab.

    Select the Include the Snap Backup Jobs Only check box.

    Click Run.

The report appears in your default Web browser. It contains detailed information about the selected virtualization clients, such as proxy name, backup size, backup type, and VMWare tools, if applicable. For snap backups, information appears in all columns, except for those that are not applicable, such as Backup Type, Transport Mode, and CBT Status.

Querying the CommServe Database

You can run SQL queries on CommServe Database to verify the virtual machine protection coverage:

Backups Performed for Each Virtual Machine

You can run a SQL query on CommServe Database to verify the status of backups performed for each virtual machine in last <n> days.  When you schedule backups for a subclient, it is recommended to run this query periodically to check whether all the virtual machines are getting backed up as per schedule.

Follow the steps given below to run the query:

  1. Log on to the CommServe computer. Ensure that the user account used for logging in has administrative privileges.
  2. Open the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and run the following query on the CommServe database:

    select * from VMProtectionCoverage (<n>, '<backup type>')

    Here <n> - The number of days

    <backup type> - The type of backup

    For example: select * from VMProtectionCoverage (30, 'Incr')

    This query will provide the status of incremental backups performed for each virtual machine protected in last 30 days. The query will be executed for all the virtual machines protected by any Virtual Server iDataAgent within the CommCell.

    If you want to verify the status of all types of backups performed for each virtual machine in last <n> days, you can also run the query as follows:

    select * from VMProtectionCoverage (<n>, '')

The results of the query will contain status of the backups performed for each virtual machine. The status will be one of the following:

Status

Description

Currently Protected All the backups for the virtual machine are successful in last <n> days.
Discovered, Not Protected The virtual machine is discovered but never backed up.
Manually Excluded The virtual machine is excluded from the subclient and hence was not backed up in last <n> days.
Not Protected in the time range No backup is performed for the virtual machine in last <n> days but a backup is performed in the past.

Virtual Machines Included in Multiple Subclients

If a virtual machine is included in multiple subclients, following query will provide list of all the subclients in which it is included.

Follow the steps given below to run the query:

  1. Log on to the CommServe computer. Ensure that the user account used for logging in has administrative privileges.
  2. Open the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and run the following query on the CommServe database:

    select * from VMsInMultipleSubclients

The results of the query will contain list of virtual machines which are included into multiple subclients and the list of those subclients. For example:

Name

Subclient Name

test-vm1 subclient A
test-vm1 subclient B
test-vm2 subclient P
test-vm2 subclient Q

If you do not want to include any virtual machine into multiple subclients, you can edit the subclient content.

Managing Jobs

Jobs can be managed in a number of ways. The following sections provide information on the different job management options available:

Restarting Jobs

Jobs that fail to complete successfully are automatically restarted based on the job restartability configuration set in the Control Panel. This configuration can be changed at any time; however, changes to this configuration will affect all jobs run in the entire CommCell.

It is also possible to override the default CommServe configuration for individual jobs by configuring retry settings when initiating the job. This configuration, however, will apply only to the specific job.

Note: When streaming backup jobs for the Virtual Server Agent are restarted or resumed, the job continues by backing up any virtual machines that have not yet been backed up and committed to backup storage, including any virtual machines that have been partially processed. (Virtual machines that were backed and committed to storage are not backed up again.) SnapProtect backup jobs for the Virtual Server Agent are restarted or resumed from the beginning.

Configure Job Restartability at the CommServe Level

  1. In the CommCell Console, click the Control Panel icon, then double-click Job Management.
  2. In the Job Restarts tab of the Job Management dialog box, select a job type from the Job Type list, and then select the Restartable check box.

    For Virtual Server Agent backups, select the job type File System and Indexing Based (Data Protection) (this setting also affects other agents).

  3. To change the maximum number of times the Job Manager will try to restart a job, select a number in the Max Restarts box.
  4. To change the time interval between attempts by the Job Manager to restart the job, select a number of minutes in the Restart Interval (Mins) box.
  5. Click OK to save your changes.

Configure Job Restartability for an Individual Job

  1. From the Backup Options dialog box, click Advanced, then select the Job Retry tab and specify the following as desired:
    • Total Running Time - The maximum elapsed time, in hours and minutes, from the time that the job is created.
    • Number of Retries - The number of times that Job Manager will attempt to restart the job.
    • Kill Running Jobs When Total Running Time Expires - Option to kill the job when the specified Total Running Time has elapsed, even if its state is "Running".
  2. Click OK.

Controlling Jobs

The following controls are available for running jobs in the Job Controller window:

Suspend

Temporarily stops a job. A suspended job is not terminated; it can be restarted at a later time. Only preemptible jobs can be suspended.

Resume

Resumes a job and returns the status to Waiting, Pending, Queued, or Running depending on the availability of resources or the state of the operation windows and activity control settings.

When streaming backup jobs for the Virtual Server Agent are restarted or resumed, the job continues from the point of failure by backing up any virtual machines that have not yet been backed up and committed to backup storage (virtual machines that were backed and committed to storage are not backed up again). SnapProtect backup jobs for the Virtual Server Agent are restarted or resumed from the beginning.

Kill

Terminates a job.

These controls can be applied to:

  • All jobs in the Job Controller.
  • All selected jobs in the Job Controller providing you have the correct security associations at the proper level for each job selected.
  • All data protection operations running for a particular client or client/agent.
  • All data protection operations running for a particular MediaAgent.

From the Job Controller of the CommCell Console, right-click the job and select Kill, Suspend, or Resume as desired.

  • When killing a job:

    Click Yes when the confirmation prompt appears if you are sure you want to kill the job. The job status may change to Kill Pending for a few moments while the operation completes. Once completed, the job status will change to Killed and it will be removed from the Job Controller window after five minutes.

  • When suspending a job:

    The job status may change to Suspend Pending for a few moments while the operation completes. The job status then changes to Suspended.

  • When resuming a job:

    As the Job Manager attempts to restart the job, the job status changes to Waiting, Pending, or Running.

Additional Options

Several additional options are available to further refine your backup operations. The following table describes these options, as well as the steps for configuring them.

Be sure to read the overview material referenced for each feature prior to using them.

Option Description Related Topics
Startup Options

The Job Manager will use the startup priority setting when allocating the required resources. This is useful if you have jobs that are very important and must complete, or jobs that can be moved to a lower priority.

  1. Right-click the Subclient and select Backup.
  2. From the Backup Options for Subclient window, click Advanced.
  3. From Startup tab, select the Default Priority option.
  4. Select Change Priority option to change the priority for a job, between 0 (highest priority) and 999 (lowest priority).
  5. Select Start up in Suspended State option to specify the selected job to start in the Job Controller in a suspended state.
  6. Click OK.

See Job Priority and Priority Precedence for more information.

 
Job Retry Options The Job Retry option helps in configuring the retry behavior of the backup jobs. You can specify the maximum elapsed time before a job can be restarted or killed and the maximum number of restart attempts.
  1. Right-click the Subclient and select Backup.
  2. From the Backup Options for Subclient window, click Advanced.
  3. From the Job Retry tab, select the Enable Total Running Time check box and specify the maximum elapsed time in hours and minutes.
  4. Select the Number Of Retries check box and specify the number of retries in the Number Of Retries box. Based on this number, the Job Manager attempts to restart the job.
  5. Select the Kill Running Jobs When Total Running Time Expires check box. The job will be killed when the job is still in running status even after reaching the maximum elapsed time.
  6. Click OK.
See Job Management for more information.
Start New Media The Start New Media option helps in starting the backup/archive operation on a new media.

This media management feature provides a degree of control over where the data physically resides.

  1. Right-click the Subclient and select Backup.
  2. From the Backup Options for Subclient window, click Advanced.
  3. From the Media tab, select the Start New Media check box.
  4. Click OK.

See Creating an Exportable Media Set section of the Export Media for more information. 

Another form of the Start New Media option is available from the library properties. See Start New Media section of the Library Properties for more information.

 
Mark Media Full

The Mark Media Full on Success option marks the Media as Full, 2 minutes after the successful completion of the backup/archive. This feature prevents any other data being written to the same media.

  1. Right-click the Subclient and select Backup.
  2. From the Backup Options for Subclient window, click Advanced.
  3. From the Media tab, select the Mark Media Full on Success check box.
  4. Click OK.

See the Create an Exportable Media Set section of the Export Media documentation for more information.

See Export Media for more information.

Allow Other Schedules To Use Media Set

The Allow Other Schedules to use Media Set option allows jobs that are part of the schedule or schedule policy and using the specific storage policy to start a new media. It also prevents other jobs from writing to the same set of media.

  1. Right-click the Subclient and select Backup.
  2. From the Backup Options for Subclient window, click Advanced.
  3. From the Media tab, select the Allow Other Schedules To Use Media Set check box.
  4. Click OK.
See the Creating an Exportable Media Set section of the Export Media for more information.
Data Path Options

Data Protection operations use a specific data path (Library, MediaAgent, Drive Pool, and Drive) to perform the backup operations as configured in the CommCell. By default, the system automatically identifies the data path for the backup operations.
The following are some of the important situations where you may need to change the data path:

  • When the preferred MediaAgent, library or drive pool is not available during the backup
  • When you need to use a different MediaAgent, library or drive pool for load balancing purposes.
  • When you need to direct that backup to a particular location for compliance purposes.
  1. Right-click the Subclient and select Backup.
  2. From the Backup Options for Subclient window, click Advanced.
  3. From the Data Path tab, select Use MediaAgent and Use Library or Use Drive Pool and Use Drive from the respective drop-down combo boxes.
  4. Click OK.
See Change Data Path for more information.
Vault Tracker

The Vault Tracker feature allows you to manage media that are removed from a library and stored in offsite locations with the following capabilities:

  • Identifies media that must be sent offsite for storage or brought back from offsite locations.
  • Automatically moves the media in sequence in the library and provides a pick-up list for the operators.
  • Identifies and tracks the media during transit.
  • Records and tracks the movement of media that are not used by all MediaAgents or Foreign Media.
  1. Right-click the subclient, and then click Backup.
  2. In the Backup Options for Subclient dialog box, click Advanced.
  3. On the Vault Tracking tab, select the required options.
  4. Click OK.

See Vault Tracker for a comprehensive overview prior to using this feature.

Alerts The Alert option is used for setting up the criteria to raise notifications/alerts for job statuses such as failure, success, or any other conditions triggered by the backup job. Adding alerts helps the user or the user group to get the notification automatically about the status of the backup job.
  1. Right-click the Subclient and select Backup.
  2. On the Backup Options for Subclient window, click Advanced.
  3. On the Alert tab, click Add Alert and it opens Add Alert Wizard window.
  4. From the Add Alert Wizard window, select the Threshold and Notification Criteria. Click Next.
  5. Select the Notification Types. Click Next.
  6. Select the Users and User Groups. Click Next.
  7. Click Finish.

See Alerts and Notifications for more information.

 
CommCell Readiness Report The CommCell Readiness Report provides you with vital information about the condition of your CommCell. See CommCell Readiness Report  for more information.
Backup Job Summary Report The Backup Job Summary Report provides the details of all the backup jobs of clients. See Backup Job Summary Report  for more information.

Related Topics

Scheduling

Provides comprehensive information on scheduling jobs.

Job Management

Provides comprehensive information on managing jobs.