Application Aware Backups

You can perform application aware backups for Windows virtual machines in VMware that are running the following applications:

  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Oracle for Windows

Application aware backups capture the state of application data at the time of the backup, including data in memory and pending transactions, making it easier to restore the application for continued use. An application aware backup for a virtual machine quiesces the application, flushes its memory, and completes pending writes, then creates a snapshot of application data. After the snapshot is created, the application resumes.

The application aware backup includes two parts:

  • The VSA backup of the virtual machine can be a streaming or SnapProtect backup. Restores read virtual machine data from the Primary copy for the storage policy.
  • Application backup is triggered automatically by the VSA backup. The backup of application data always uses SnapProtect, even if the VSA backup is a streaming backup.

    Restores read application data from the Snap copy defined for the storage policy. For restores from VSA SnapProtect backups, you can specify copy precedence to restore from a Snap, Vault, or Mirror copy. Backup copies are not supported.

    Important! Both the VSA job and the associated application job must be available when restoring data for an application. The point-in-time snapshot created by the application backup is part of the data that is stored for the VSA backup job. Ensure that both the VSA job and the application job are retained in the same storage policy copy that will be used for restores.


  • Application aware backups are supported for streaming or SnapProtect backups.
  • For Microsoft Exchange, you can use the Exchange Database Agent to restore a database or perform mining to recover granular mail data from an application aware backup.
  • For Microsoft SharePoint, you can perform mining to recover granular data from an application aware backup.
  • For Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle for Windows, you can use the database agent to restore a database.
  • You can only perform application aware backups for standalone deployments of Microsoft Exchange or Microsoft SQL Server.
  • You can only perform an application aware backup of an Oracle RAC for Windows node if data and log storage is shared among all nodes.
  • When using AlwaysOn Availability Groups with Microsoft SQL Server, set primary as the preferred backup replica in SQL Management Studio.