Wildcards for VMware Content Rules

You can use wildcards to define content and filters for a subclient. You can use wildcards when defining a rule for a VM Name Pattern, Guest OS, Guest DNS Hostname, Host, or Datastore.


  • If a subclient's content consists of wildcard characters and no eligible virtual machines are found for backup, the backup operation completes successfully even though no VMs are backed up.

  • Letters used in wildcard expressions are matched regardless of case; for example, 'a' matches both 'a' and 'A'.

The following table describes how to use wildcards when defining the subclient content or filters.





Any number of characters

This wildcard is used to match all objects where the object name contains a specific pattern.

For a VM name pattern, *test* matches any virtual machine whose name contains the string 'test' (at the beginning, end, or middle of the name).

For a datastore, DC* matches any datastore whose name begins with 'DC' (to back up or filter all virtual machines on the matching datastores).


Any number of folders in a full path for a virtual machine disk

When filtering virtual machine disks, /**/JunkVMs/**/*.vmdk matches any .vmdk files under a JunkVMs folder or a subfolder under JunkVMs.


Any one character

This wildcard is used to match any object for which a single character in the object name is variable.

DC? matches any object that starts with DC followed by a single additional character (such as DC1, DC2, DCa. or DCX).

[ ]

Set or range of characters

When used at the beginning of a name pattern for a disk filter, represents a datastore name.


Not supported for host names.

[a-m]* matches any object whose name begins with the letters 'a' through 'm'.

For virtual disk filtering:

  • [DS1] Test/TempVM*.vmdk matches any virtual machine disk file on datastore DS1, in the Test folder, with a name that begins with "TempVM".

  • [DS1]*/TempVM*.vmdk matches any .vmdk file name that begins with "TempVM" on any folder in datastore DS1.

  • [DS1]Test/[a-m]*.vmdk matches any .vmdk file name that begins with the letters 'a' through 'm' on datastore DS1, in the Test folder.

[ ! ]

The negation of a set or range of characters

This wildcard matches objects for which the name does not include the specified set or range of characters.


Not supported for datastores or host names.

For example, [!AEIOU]* matches all object names that start with a letter other than A, E, I, O, or U.

[!A-C]* matches all names that do not start with the letters 'A' through 'C'.