You can use wildcards to define content and filters for a subclient. You can use wildcards when defining a rule for a VM Name Pattern, Guest OS, Guest DNS Hostname, Host, or Datastore.

The following table describes how to use wildcards when defining the subclient content or filters.


  • If a subclient's content consists of wildcard characters and no eligible virtual machines are found for backup, the backup operation completes successfully even though no VMs are backed up.
  • Letters used in wildcard expressions are matched regardless of case; for example, 'a' matches both 'a' and 'A'.
Wildcards Description Examples
* Any number of characters

This wildcard is used to match all objects where the object name contains a specific pattern.

For a VM name pattern, *test* matches any virtual machine whose name contains the string 'test' (at the beginning, end, or middle of the name).

For a datastore, DC* matches any datastore whose name begins with 'DC' (to back up or filter all virtual machines on the matching datastores).

** Any number of folders in a full path for a virtual machine disk When filtering virtual machine disks, /**/JunkVMs/**/*.vmdk matches any .vmdk files under a JunkVMs folder or a subfolder under JunkVMs.
? Any one character

This wildcard is used to match any object for which a single character in the object name is variable.

DC? matches any object that starts with DC followed by a single additional character (such as DC1, DC2, DCa. or DCX).
[ ] Set or range of characters

When used at the beginning of a name pattern for a disk filter, represents a datastore name.

Note: Not supported for datastores or host names.

[a-m]* matches any object whose name begins with the letters 'a' through 'm'.

For virtual disk filtering, [DS1] Test/TempVM*.vmdk matches any virtual machine disk file on datastore DS1, in the Test folder, with a name that begins with "TempVM". Similarly, [DS1]*/TempVM*.vmdk matches any .vmdk file name that begins with "TempVM" on any folder in datastore DS1.

[ ! ] The negation of a set or range of characters

This wildcard matches objects for which the name does not include the specified set or range of characters.

Note: Not supported for datastores or host names.

For example, [!AEIOU]* matches all object names that start with a letter other than A, E, I, O, or U.

[!A-C]* matches all names that do not start with the letters 'A' through 'C'.