Copy Operations and IntelliSnap Backups for VM-Centric Operations with VMware

When you perform IntelliSnap backup operations and backup copy operations for a VM-centric virtualization client, some options are different from the options that are available with other virtualization clients.


  • With a VM-centric virtualization client, configure a storage policy to control backup copy operations. The storage policy should use a backup copy schedule or schedule policy to process all of the VM admin and individual VM jobs for a backup copy operation.

    The same considerations apply when performing an auxiliary copy operation to create a secondary copy for a streaming backup.

  • If you back up the same VM using both streaming and IntelliSnap backups, configure separate backup sets for streaming and IntelliSnap backups. If the same VM is backed up using different methods under the same backup set, browse and restore results might not be consistent.

  • To schedule synthetic full backups when you use both streaming backups and IntelliSnap backups for the same VMs, associate each VM with a synthetic full schedule. If you configure the synthetic full backup schedule at the parent subclient or VM group level, the synthetic full backup might skip a VM if the VM's latest backup is a different type than the backup set where the synthetic full schedule is configured. For example, if the most recent backup job for a VM is from a snap backup set, a synthetic full backup job configured to run on the parent streaming subclient will not run on that VM.

  • To restore guest files and folders from a VM-centric backup, use one of the copies (primary or secondary) and perform a live browse from the disk/cloud library. Guest file restores from tape are not supported with VM-centric backups, because file details are not collected in VM-centric backups, and live browse operations are not supported from tape copies. As a workaround if no disk library is available, you can restore a full VM or a virtual machine disk from a tape copy.

  • Deleting a VM from the vCenter affects data retention and backup copy operations for the VM. For more information, see Data Aging and Retention Operations.

IntelliSnap Backup Process for VM-Centric VSA

  • When you run IntelliSnap backup operations from a subclient under a virtualization client (VM Admin), the operation also creates individual jobs for each VM. Both the VM Admin and individual VM jobs are associated with the VM Admin job ID.

    By default, the first backup of a VM subclient is a full backup.

    If you request an incremental backup for the VM Admin VSA subclient, but any VM that is included in the subclient has not been backed up previously, the resulting individual VM job is a full backup.

  • You cannot suspend IntelliSnap backup jobs.

  • For a backup operation that includes multiple VMs, the backup job takes a hardware snapshot and uses that hardware snapshot to create the IntelliSnap backup for each VM.

  • The mapping between the VM admin job and individual VM jobs makes it possible to pick or skip IntelliSnap backup jobs for individual VMs during backup copy operations.

  • Each individual VM job is indexed independently.

  • Individual VM jobs that are excluded from backup copy operations can be aged when they meet data aging criteria.

  • Data aging operations for IntelliSnap backup operations do not delete a hardware snapshot until all individual VM jobs that use the hardware snapshot have aged.

  • You can perform snapshot management operations from a VM client, including operations such as listing snapshots, mounting or unmounting snapshots, and deleting a snapshot.

  • If you run a backup operation for a VM from the VM client, a browse operation that is performed from the job history returns the data from the most recent backup job.

    This issue occurs because the Job Manager runs the backup operation using the ID of the VM Admin subclient, instead of running the operation using the ID of the VM client.

  • Job priority settings apply to streaming backup operations and backup copy operations.

Secondary Copies

You can run an auxiliary copy job to create a secondary copy based on the storage policy copy configuration.

When you configure a storage policy to create a secondary copy, you can specify the content of the secondary copy by selecting the following entities on the Associations tab of the Storage Policy Copy properties dialog box:

  • Virtualization client: The secondary copy includes the backup jobs for the virtualization client and for all of the virtual machines included in subclients under the virtualization client.

    Selecting the virtualization client is the best practice for secondary copies, unless you need to provide different handling for specific subclients or VMs.

  • Subclient: The secondary copy includes the backup jobs for the subclient and for all of the virtual machines included in that subclient.

  • VM clients: The secondary copy includes only the backup jobs for the virtual machines you select, and not the backups jobs for the parent subclients of those VMs.

  • Smart client groups: You can associate virtualization clients or subclients with a storage policy copy. Child VMs inherit that association.

    For more information, see Assigning CommCell Entities to a Storage Policy Copy.

The following considerations apply for secondary copies:

  • Retention and data aging settings for a secondary copy apply to all of the VMs under the parent entity.

  • Differences in how backup copy operations work also apply to secondary copies from streaming backups.

  • To create a secondary copy, configure the storage policy copy to use the offline copy method, which creates the secondary copy as a separate operation after the backup completes. For a virtualization client that is configured for VM-centric operations, you cannot use the inline copy option, which creates a secondary copy as part of the backup operation.

Replication for VM-Centric Operations