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Level 4
Employee Accredited

Here is a short information about the Option available in Netbackup for VMware.

VMware Credentials in Netbackup:

  1. Click Media and Device Management > Credentials > Virtual Machine Servers.
  2. Click Actions > New > New Virtual Machine Server.
  3. On the Add Virtual Machine Server dialog, enter the name of a virtual machine server (vCenter server or ESX server).

Note: The credentials for ESX or vSphere client are needed that Netbackup can create and access the virtual machine Snapshots.

VMware backup host

  • Backup Media Server: This option allows a Windows media server that is selected in the policy to operate as the backup host. (Selection of the media server is determined by the specified storage unit.) To operate as the backup host, the Windows media server must contain NetBackup client software.
    Note: The storage unit that is specified in the policy must be unique to your Windows media servers. If the storage unit is also available on a UNIX media server, the snapshot cannot succeed.
    Note: When the Backup Media Server option is selected, NetBackup cannot determine a host to perform policy validation. To validate the policy, temporarily select one of the possible media servers as the backup host (do not select Backup Media Server). When the policy validates successfully, reset the backup host to Backup Media Server.
  • backup_host_name: Select a particular backup host to perform the backup.
    Note: The backup hosts (but not backup media servers) must be identified in the Administration Console as follows: Go to Host Properties > Master servers > double-click the master server > Master Server Properties > VMware Access Hosts.

Enable file recovery from VM backup

  • Enable recovery of individual files.
  • all the files inside the virtual machines can be restored in the virtual machine or 2 different location
  • still the full VM can be restored to the ESX / vSphere server

Enable block-level incremental backup

  • For block-level backups of the virtual machine. This option reduces the size of the backup image.

Exclude deleted blocks

  • Reduces the size of the backup image by excluding any unused or deleted blocks within the file system on the virtual machine. This option supports the following file systems: Windows NTFS, and Linux ext2, ext3, and ext4.
  • This option uses proprietary mapping technology to identify vacant sectors (allocated but empty) within the file system.
    To back up a virtual machine that contains Veritas Storage Foundation Volume Manager volumes, disable this option. Also make sure that the Enable file recovery from VM backup option is disabled.

Exclude swapping and paging files

  • Reduces the size of the backup image by excluding the data in the guest OS system paging file (Windows) or the swap file (Linux).
  • Note: This option does not exclude the swapping and paging files from the backup: it only excludes the data in those files. If the files are restored, they are restored as empty files

Primary VM Identifier

  • VM hostname:  The network host name for the virtual machine. (This option is the default.) NetBackup obtains the host name by means of a reverse lookup on the virtual machine's IP address. If no host name can be found, the IP address is used as the host name.
  • VMware display name: The name of the virtual machine as displayed in the VMware interface. A display name is assigned to the virtual machine when the virtual machine is created. When virtual machines are included in a NetBackup policy, restrictions apply to the characters that are allowed in the virtual machine display name. Note: The restrictions also apply to other vSphere objects, such as floppy image name, parallel port or serial port file name, and CD-ROM ISO name. Each display name must be unique in your VMware environment.
  • VMware BIOS UUID: The ID assigned to the virtual machine when the virtual machine is created. This ID may or may not be unique, depending on whether the virtual machine has been duplicated. This option is included for compatibility with the existing policies that use the older VM UUID identifier.
  • VM DNS Name: The VMware DNS Name of the virtual machine. In vSphere Client, this name appears on the virtual machine's Summary tab.
    Note: This name may or may not be associated with the virtual machine's IP address. VMware Tools obtains this name from the host name that is configured in the virtual machine. For further information on this name, refer to the documentation for the guest operating system.
  • VM instance UUID: The globally unique ID assigned to the virtual machine when the virtual machine is created. This ID uniquely identifies the virtual machine within a vCenter server. Even if the virtual machine has been duplicated (such as within a vCloud), only the original virtual machine retains this instance ID. (The virtual machine duplicates are assigned different instance UUIDs.) This option applies only to backup hosts (NetBackup clients) at 7.5 or later. If your backup host is 7.5 or later, this option is recommended instead of the VMware BIOS UUID option.
    Note: VM instance UUIDs are not available for standalone ESX 3.5 or ESXi 3.5 servers or for servers that VirtualCenter 2.5 manages.

 Orphaned Snapshot Handling

  • Ignore: NetBackup ignores any existing virtual machine snapshots (including snapshots previously created by NetBackup) and proceeds with snapshot creation and the backup.
  • Abort: If any snapshot exists on the virtual machine, NetBackup aborts the job for that virtual machine only.
  • Remove NBU: If a virtual machine snapshot exists that a NetBackup backup previously created: NetBackup removes the old snapshot, creates an updated snapshot, and proceeds with the virtual machine backup. (This option is the default.)

Enable Exchange Recovery

  • This option enables recovery of the Exchange databases or mailbox messages from the virtual machine backups. If this option is disabled, you can recover the entire virtual machine from the backup, but you cannot recover the databases or mailbox messages individually.

Enable SQL Server Recovery

  • This option enables recovery of individual files from Microsoft SQL data in the virtual machine backup. If this option is disabled, you can recover the entire virtual machine from the backup, but you cannot recover the SQL files individually.

Enable SharePoint Recovery

  • This option enables recovery of SharePoint objects from the virtual machine backup. If this option is disabled, you can recover the entire virtual machine from the backup, but you cannot recover the SharePoint objects individually.

For Exchange, SQL and Sharepoint Recovery are the following notes:

To use the Enable SharePoint Recovery option, note:

  • The Enable file recovery from VM backup option must be enabled.
  • The Enable block-level incremental backup option must be disabled.

Transport Modes

  • san: For unencrypted transfer over Fibre Channel (SAN) or iSCSI.
  • hotadd: Lets you run the VMware backup host in a virtual machine. This feature requires ESX 3.5 Update2 or later.For instructions on this transport mode and on installing the backup host in a VMware virtual machine, refer to your VMware documentation.
  • nbd: For unencrypted transfer over a local network that uses the Network Block Device (NBD) driver protocol. This mode of transfer is usually slower than Fibre Channel.
  • nbdssl: For encrypted transfer (SSL) over a local network that uses the Network Block Device (NBD) driver protocol. This mode of transfer is usually slower than Fibre Channel.
  • Move Up, Move Down: Use these buttons to change the order in which NetBackup tries each selected mode. Highlight a mode and click Move Up or Move Down.For example: assume that all four transport modes are selected, and the order is san, hotadd, nbd, and nbdssl. If one of the virtual disks cannot be accessed using san, the san transport mode is not used for any of the virtual machine's disks. NetBackup then tries to use the hotadd mode for all the disks. NetBackup continues to try each mode until it finds one that succeeds for all the disks.
Level 4
Partner Accredited


Nice document. Thank you. and I have some queries as below...

1. Can we restore individual files back to source or any other vm machine without having netbackup client installed on the destination machine?

2. Whether the snapshot creation processes that netbackup use for vmware backups is different than the process used by vmware while creating manual snapshot through vsphere client? 
Some times netbackup vm backups failed with 156 "Unable to create snapshot" but VMware admins used to say that, they are able to create manual snapshot hence the problem is on Netbackup end only.


Level 6
Partner Accredited


1. Yes you can do that by restoring to \\<client>\c$ for instance.

Please refer to the VMware Administration Guide, section "Setting up NetBackup Client Service for restore to a Windows shared virtual machine drive".


2. This a common discussion between NBU and VMware guys :)

Theoretically it is the same kind of snapshot, but I have seen may situations where a manual snapshot works and it doesnt 2 minutes later with NetBackup.

There are many things you can do to troubleshoot this:

  • Did VM guys remember to select to Quiesce file system when they ran their snapshot? NetBackup does this by default.
  • Was the snapshots attempted at the same time? Often when snapshots fail its because the VM is very I/O busy, and if your backup runs at night with 10 other backups that might affect the I/O subsystem, so do you tests at the same time of day as they do theirs.
  • Did you check the Windows Event log for errors at "snapshot" time to see if the issue happened in the guest?
  • vSphere has not cleaned up properly after previous snapshots (this happened a lot in 5.0 and below).
  • Are there any errors logged in Tasks/Events for the VM when NBU snapshot fails?
  • Try removing all previous snapshots from the VM
  • This one hurts, try removing the VM from the vCenter inventory, and then search it out and add it back in (usually if this is the reason you cannot storage vMotion the VM as well).

Hope this helps...

Level 4

Can the backup host be the Netbackup appliance media server (running SuSE Linux) itself?

Level 6
Partner Accredited

Yes from Appliance version 2.5.2 (or was it 2.5.1....) it is supported to use the Appliance (and Suse Linux) as backup hosts.

Level 2

For appliance 3.0.42-0.7 (suse) is supported on nbu ?

Level 6
Partner Accredited

Just to clarify #1, as someone asked, it will require a Windows server for this to work, as the authentication happens through the AD permission of the service on that server (as documented).

Whether this will work with a UNIX master, and then a Windows Media (or perhaps even a regular Windows client added on the master as a Media server) I haven´t tried.

Level 6

good nformation to help VM backup better... thanks for sharing

Level 4


A small detail, that saves lifes when using SAN transport mode:

The Microsoft Windows automount feature needs to be disabled as described in the Tech Note:

You really do not want to make new NTFS volume (accidentally agreeing) from your ESX storage :)

Version history
Last update:
‎08-30-2013 06:38 AM
Updated by: