Performing an Application Aware Backup

Perform a backup from the subclient for the VM that hosts an application.

An application aware backup includes two backup operations:

  • The virtual machine is backed up. This VSA backup can be any backup type.
  • The VSA backup automatically triggers a backup of the application using SnapProtect. The application backup is always a full backup, regardless of the backup type chosen for the VM .

Before You Begin

  • Review the requirements for application aware backups.
  • The VSA subclient must be configured for application aware backup, and must specify a storage policy that has a Snap copy defined with non-zero retention settings.
  • To perform an integrity check for Microsoft Exchange databases during an application aware backup, create the dwVSAExchangeIntegrityCheck additional setting on the SnapProtect client for the virtual machine that is running Exchange and set the value to 1. This option applies only when running an SnapProtect backup from the VSA subclient. Ensure that the VSA proxy used for the backup has Exchange management tools installed.
  • If ports are not opened to permit remote installation of application plug-ins, application aware backups fail for virtual machines that do not already have the application plug-in.
  • To include virtual machines that were previously configured for application backup, ensure that the following requirements are met for the application client:
    • Enable SnapProtect on the client and subclient for the application.
    • On the SnapProtect Operations tab for the application subclient, select Virtual Server Application Snap as the Snap engine.
    • Specify the same storage policy for the application subclient and the VSA subclient.


  • If remote installation fails for any virtual machines during the initial backup, the VSA backup job status shows as "Completed with errors." For any virtual machines that already had an application agent installed, application aware backups and restores can still be performed.
  • If the first application aware backup installs an Oracle for Windows plugin, restart Oracle services on the virtual machine where Oracle is running after the application aware workflow completes.

Application Aware Backup Process

The backup performs the following actions:

  1. During the VSA backup, the application aware workflow performs the following actions:
    1. Discovers virtual machines that are running SQL Server, Exchange, or Oracle for Windows.
    2. Pushes an application plug-in into the guest virtual machine.

      The application plug-in is installed with the first application aware backup and is used for any subsequent backups of the VM.

    3. Creates an application subclient automatically.
    4. Uses the application plug-in to initiate the application backup.
  2. When the application backup is initiated, the application plug-in performs an application-consistent software snap backup.
  3. After the application backup creates the VSS snapshot, the VSA proxy completes the VSA backup.
  4. The application plug-in indexes the backup data and catalogs the data to support granular restores.

The application plug-in performs the following actions:

  1. Quiesces the application state to disk before the VM backup.
  2. Indexes application data after the VM backup.


  • SnapProtect backup copy is disabled for application backups that are part of an application aware VSA backup.
  • You can include a backup copy operation with VSA SnapProtect backups to enable restores of the VM from the backup copy.

    Restore application databases from the Snap copy associated with the storage policy, not from a backup copy.

  • If an application database is backed up by a different subclient, it will not be backed up using the VMware application aware subclient.

Log Truncation

Microsoft Exchange and Oracle for Windows database logs are automatically truncated as part of the backup process.

For Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle for Windows, an automatic log backup schedule is created automatically after you run an application aware backup successfully for the first time.

Performing an Application Aware Backup

Perform the backup from the VMware subclient that has been configured for application aware backups using the standard backup procedure for streaming or SnapProtect backups.

Backups use the default proxy for the instance or subclient. Streaming backups can take advantage of multiple proxies for load balancing or failover. All proxies that are available for the operation must meet the requirements for application aware backups.

During the backup, you can see the following jobs for the application aware backups from the Job Controller or Backup History:

  • A job for the Virtual Server backup.
  • A job for VSAAppAwareBackupWorkflow.
  • IntelliSnap backup jobs for each application.

If you display the Virtual Machine Status tab in Job Details, you can check the App Aware Status value to verify whether applications were successfully backed up as part of the application aware backup.

To restore application databases, see Performing a Restore from an Application Aware Backup.

Potential Issues During Backups

You might experience issues with credentials:

  • If you specified common credentials for the vCenter or for discovered virtual machines, you might not be able to connect to the guest VM to perform a remote install or to perform the backup. If a specific VM has different credentials, you must add that VM explicitly as subclient content and specify the guest credentials for that VM.
  • Backups must be able to access applications using the same credentials that are specified to back up the virtual machine.  If the credentials used to access the VM are not sufficient to also access the application, the application backup fails.