V11 SP8

Performing an Application-Aware Backup

Perform a backup from the subclient for the VM that hosts an application.

An application-aware backup includes two backup operations:

  • The virtual machine is backed up. This VSA backup can be any backup type.
  • The VSA backup automatically triggers a backup of the application using IntelliSnap. The application backup is always a full backup, regardless of the backup type chosen for the VM.

Before You Begin

  • Review the requirements for application-aware backups.
  • The VSA subclient must be configured for application-aware backup, and must specify a storage policy that has a Snap copy defined with non-zero retention settings.
  • In a firewalled environment with restricted network settings or where WMI ports are not open, see Remote Installation Requirements for Application-Aware Backups to enable remote installations during application-aware backups.
  • To perform an integrity check for Microsoft Exchange databases during an application-aware backup, create the dwVSAExchangeIntegrityCheck additional setting on the Commvault client for the virtual machine that is running Exchange and set the value to 1. This option applies only when running an IntelliSnap backup from a VMware subclient. Ensure that the VSA proxy used for the backup has Exchange management tools installed.
  • To include virtual machines that were previously configured for application backup, ensure that the following requirements are met for the application client:
    • Enable IntelliSnap on the client and subclient for the application.
    • On the IntelliSnap Operations tab for the application subclient, select Virtual Server Application Snap as the Snap engine.
    • Specify the same storage policy for the application subclient and the VSA subclient.

Important: Do not filter virtual machine disks. If a virtual machine disk is filtered, the VSA backup job completes with errors and the application backup job fails. You will not be able to restore application data.


  • If remote installation fails for any virtual machines during the initial backup, the VSA backup job status shows as "Completed with errors." For any virtual machines that already had an application agent installed, application-aware backups and restores can still be performed.
  • If the first application-aware backup installs a plug-in for Oracle for Windows, the backup fails. Restart Oracle services on the virtual machine where Oracle is running after the application-aware workflow completes and then retry the backup.
  • After a SharePoint plug-in is installed as part of an application-aware backup, set SharePoint Timer service account information in the SharePoint server properties.

Application-Aware Backup Process

The backup performs the following actions:

  1. During the VSA backup, the application-aware workflow performs the following actions:
    1. Discovers virtual machines that are running an application that is protected by application-aware backups.
    2. Pushes an application plug-in into the guest virtual machine.

      The application plug-in is installed with the first application-aware backup and is used for any subsequent backups of the VM.

      For virtual machines running SQL Server to support SharePoint, application plug-ins for SQL Server are installed.

    3. Creates an application subclient automatically.
    4. Uses the application plug-in to initiate the application backup.
  2. When the application backup is initiated, the application plug-in performs an application-consistent software snap backup.
  3. After the application backup creates the VSS snapshot, the VSA proxy completes the VSA backup.
  4. The application plug-in indexes the backup data and catalogs the data to support granular restores.

The application plug-in performs the following actions:

  1. Quiesces the application state to disk before the VM backup.
  2. Indexes application data after the VM backup.


  • Backup copies are only available for VMware. For other hypervisors, backup copy is disabled for application backups that are part of an application-aware VSA backup.
  • If an application database is already configured to be backed up by an application agent, it will not be backed up using the application-aware subclient.

Performing the Backup

Perform the backup from the subclient that has been configured for application-aware backups using the standard backup procedure for streaming or IntelliSnap backups.

Backups use the default proxy for the instance or subclient. Streaming backups can take advantage of multiple proxies for load balancing or failover. All proxies that are available for the operation must meet the requirements for application-aware backups.

During the backup, you can see the following jobs for the application-aware backups from the Job Controller or Backup History:

  • A job for the Virtual Server backup.
  • A job for VSAAppAwareBackupWorkflow.
  • IntelliSnap backup jobs for each application.

If you display the Virtual Machine Status tab in Job Details, you can check the App Aware Status value to verify whether applications were successfully backed up as part of the application-aware backup.

To restore application databases, see Performing a Restore from an Application-Aware Backup.

Potential Issues During Backups

You might experience issues with credentials:

  • If you specified common credentials for the instance or for discovered virtual machines in the subclient, you might not be able to connect to the guest VM to perform a remote install or to perform the backup. If a specific VM has different credentials, you must add that VM explicitly as subclient content and specify the guest credentials for that VM.
  • User credentials are used for the remote installation of application plug-ins and for backups. If application credentials are different from the credentials that were specified to access the virtual machine, the application backup fails.