vSphere Data Protection-Part 3: Backup And Restore

In previous post of this series we deployed the VDP appliance and also had a look on some of the basic configuration steps. Now its time to test how VDP works. 

If you accidently landed on this post and have missed earlier post of this series, you can read them from below links:

1: Introduction to vSphere Data Protection

2: Installing & Configuring vSphere Data Protection

Lets jump into lab and see how backup and restore works with VDP.

Before actually starting with creating any new backup/restore job, I want to first emphasize on the backup window configuration.

Backup and Maintenance Window

Bt default VDP starts taking backup of virtual machine at 8 PM and it has a backup window of 12 hours i.e from 08 PM to 08 AM. Modify this backup window as per business hours of your organization. 

When backup windows completes, VDP performs testing the backup to see if the taken backups are a good candidate when it comes to restoring stuffs. It runs the integrity checks on the backup taken. This period is called as Maintenance period. 

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Configuring Backups with VDP

To configure a new backup job, login to vSphere Web Client and click on VDP plugin to bring the VDP page. Click on Create Backup Job

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There are 2 type of backup jobs that you can create:

a: Guest Images : This will take the full image level backup of a VM

b: Applications: VDP will only take backup of applications like Exchange, MSSQL or SharePoint that are running inside guest os. You need to download the VDP application agents corresponding to application and install them inside guest os for application backup to succeed.

In my lab I don’t have any of the application server running, so I will be demonstrating guest image backup i this post. 

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Next is to specify whether you want to take a full image backup or you want individual disks of the guest os to be backed up. If you select the former, all disks present inside the guest os will be backed up.

Important: You can opt to backup job to failback to non-quiesced backup if VDP is not able to quiesce the guest os when backup is running. If you deselect this option then if vdp is not able to take quiesced backup of a VM, then backup job fails for that VM.

In my lab I am going with full image backup. I will demostrate the other example later in this post

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Select the VM’s which you want to backup. You can select individual VM or you can select Cluster/datacenter to take backup of all VM’s. 

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Select backup schedule as per your requiremnts. You can opt for daily/weekly/monthly backup. 

Also you can modify start time for backup or can go with default setting of 08:00 PM

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Select retention policy for the backup. Retention policy determines for how long a backup will be kept.

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Provide a name for this backup job and hit next to continue. 

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On ready to complete page review your settings and hit finish to complete backup job creation wizard. 

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When backup window starts, you can see a series of tasks like creating VM snapshot etc triggering in vCenter. 

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Once a backup is successful, you can view the status of backup under backup tab of vdp page. 

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Restoring Guest Image Backup

In case if any of your backed up VM gets corrupted or someone accidently deleted some critical data, you can restore it to a back date. To do so, select Restore tab and select the date to which you want to restore your VM and click on restore button.

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Select the backup image and hit next.

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When it comes to restoring VM, there are 2 options avalable:

Restore VM to original location: If this option is selected, VDP will restore VM data in the original VM. Now new VM will be created. For this technique to work, the original VM should be in powered off state. You can chose whether the original VM will be powered on or not post restore job completes. This type of restore is usually referred as In-place Restore in backup terminology.

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On Ready to complete page, the wizard will confirm you that no new VM will be created during this restore task. 

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If you do not select “Restore to original location” then the VM will be restored at the alternate location. You can specify the datastore on which VM will be restored and whether or not VM will pe brought online post restore of VM. 

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In this case a new VM will be created. This type of restore is also called Out of place restore. 

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When restore job is kicked in, you will see presence of new VM in vSphere inventory. 

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Typically these are the tasks kicked in out of place restore. 

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You need to do reconfigure IP address settings etc as the new VM will be booted with APIPA IP. 

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Backup Individual Disks in Guest OS

For full image level backup, there is an option to backup individual disks rather than all disks thar are present in guest os. 

To take individual disks backup, you have to create a new backup job with job type as “Guest Images”

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And select “Individual Disks” as data type

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Select the disk which will be part of the backup.

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When such a backup is taken, you can click on the backup job to confirm what data that backup contains. 

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Editing/Cloning a Backup Job

Once a backup job has been created, it can be edited to add/remove virtual machines or change backup schedule or retention period etc. To Edit an existing backup job login to vSphere web client and navigate to vSphere Data protection>> Backup >> backup job action icon > Edit

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Note: You can’t change the job type when editing an existing backup job

If you don’t want to edit any existing backup job, but want a somewhat similar configuration in new backup job, then you can clone the existing backup job. Be mindful that you can’t change the job type while cloning, however, you can add/remove VM’s, change backup schedule and retention period etc. 

File Level Restore

VDP provides ability to administrators to restore a set of files from the backup, if the original files in running VM’s have been deleted/corrupted etc. The process of doing a file level restore is a bit weird as it is not performed via VDP plugin. To do a file level restore you need to access the virtual machine console via RDP or vSphere Web Client and then opening url: https://vdp-fqdn:8543/flr

Note that for this URL to work, you must have adobe flash installed in the guest os. 

To test this out, I deleted one fo the folders from my E drive of the server which was backed up by VDP couple of minutes ago. The contenets of E drive of my VM (when it was backed up) is shown as below

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I deleted the folder Screenshots and wish to restore that folder.

Login to the VDP restore client by typing URL: https://vdp-fqdn:8543/flr

Provide local credentials (username/pwd of local machine) and vCenter credentials to connect to the VDP

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A new window will now popup. Select the appropriate restore point and click on Mount button at the bottom right of the window.

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Select the file/folder which you want to recover and click on Recover selected files button.

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Select the destination where you want to restore the file/folder. 

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Click on yes to initiate restore job.

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Once the restore completes, you can verify from within guest os by navigating to location where file/folder was deleted/corrupted. In my case, I got all my screenshots back which was stored in E drive. 

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Post completion of restore job make sure to unmount the mounted backup. 

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I hope you find this post informational. Feel free to share this on social media if it is worth sharing. Be sociable 🙂