Backups for VMware

You can perform backups automatically based on the configuration for a hypervisor or VM group, or manually for a VM group or a specific VM.

The first backup of a VM is always a full backup. By default, all subsequent backups are incremental, capturing any changes to VM data since the last backup.

You can recover virtual machine data, even when the most recent backup was incremental.

Backups run based on the following options:

  • Initial full backup: When you use Guided setup to set up the Virtualization solution, use the Back up now option to perform a backup for the default VM group.

  • Scheduled incremental backups: The server backup plan that is assigned to a VM group includes a schedule for ongoing incremental backups. Those backups are performed automatically based on the schedule, without requiring any user action.

  • Manual backups: You can perform on-demand backups for a VM group or for a specific VM.

If backups cannot start immediately, the backup jobs are queued.

Data You Can Back Up

  • Virtual machines (Windows and Linux, powered on or powered off)

  • VM templates (using HotAdd, NAS, NBD, or NBDSSL transport modes)

  • VMDK files

  • Virtual RDMs

  • GPT or dynamic disk volumes

  • vSphere tags on virtual machines

  • VM custom attributes

  • VM vApp options

  • Settings for Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)

  • Fault-tolerant virtual machines that meet the following requirements:

    • Configured as fault tolerant in the vSphere Web client

    • Hosted on ESX 6.x or a more recent version

    • VM hardware version 11 or a more recent version

Data You Cannot Back Up

  • Virtual machines that contain SCSI adapters that are configured for bus sharing (physical or virtual)

  • Virtual machines that are configured with fault tolerance (before ESX 6.x or hardware version 11)

  • Virtual machines that do not have a disk attached

  • Virtual machines replicated by VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM)

  • VM templates (using SAN transport mode)

  • VM Settings for High Availability (HA)

  • Physical RDMs

  • Independent disks

  • Disks using the multi-writer option (install an in-guest agent on the VM to protect data on multi-writer disks)

  • Page and swap files (VMware Tools must be installed on guest VMs)

Backups You Can Perform

  • Full backups

  • Full backups, using IntelliSnap

  • Incremental backups

  • Application-aware backups


Differential backups are not supported.

IntelliSnap Support

You can configure a VMware hypervisor to perform IntelliSnap backups. From the snap copy, you can restore full VMs, restore a disk and attach it to an existing VM, and restore guest files and folders.