One of the main Xopero ONE features is VMware backup. The system allows you to backup multiple or selected virtual machines hosted on your ESXi/vCenter server. This article is dedicated to VM backup plan creation. Before you start reading it, check the article that describes VMware Management in Xopero ONE in order to add your VMware to the platform: VMware Management.
Backup plan creation
To create a new backup plan open the Plans tab and click button in the top bar. After that the system will display a new panel under the name Create backup plan.
Define the name of a backup plan and set the Backup type section to VM backup.
In this section select the Virtual Machines that you want to include in the backup process, click the Which VMs Do you want to protect... button. That will make another view - Your servers - appear.
At this point you can select one of available ESXi/vCenter servers (from those that are already connected to Xopero ONE) and select which virtual machines you want to protect. You can choose between two options: Protect all, which will take into account all VMs available on the selected server or Select VMs that will allows you to add only chosen VMs.
VMware backup options
This is the most important section if it comes to the safety, efficiency and reliability of your backup plan.
Xopero ONE gives you several features in order to keep your data consistent, you can backup only what's needed and use the fastest way to do so.
By clicking the Edit button next to VMware backup options section you can configure following options:
Application aware - VSS-based feature that creates consistent backup of Virtual Machine and the applications running on it (Windows Server operating systems running applications like Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Active Directory).
Using Xopero ONE you can Enable application-aware backup on supported guest operating system (recommended), but also Continue backup in case of application errors (if the switch is set to ON, then the application will continue the backup in case of Application-aware feature error only).
Changes processing(CBT) - a feature that allows you to configure the way how the differential/incremental backups will be performed. You can select your choice between:
- VMware CBT(recommended) - is a VMkernel feature that keeps track of the storage blocks of virtual machines as they change over time.
- Xopero ONE Classic method - isn't very efficient, but very helpful way in case when VMware CBT fails. This option compares the data block by block to define the changes between the previous and the current backup.
There're two additional settings dedicated to the first choice (VMware CBT) - you can automatically Enable CBT in VMware for all VMs included in backup and Reset CBT every full copy to prevent any issue related to CBT.
Virtual machine state - an optional feature that allows you to select the status(or statuses) at which the backup should be performed. If the machine is in a different state than selected, then it won't be included in the backup process.
Transport method - defines how Virtual Machines should be transferred between the VMware and Worker. There are four options to choose from:
- Automatic (recommended) - Xopero ONE will verify what options are available for specific worker and and there will be used.
- HotAdd - available only for Virtual Appliance worker(read more about virtual appliances in this article: VMware Management). It takes a snapshot and creates a linked close of the target virtual machine. The disk is being attached to the worker, which reads the linked clone's virtual disks for backup.
- SAN - this mode requires applications to run on a backup server with access to SAN storage containing the virtual disks to be accessed. a SAN backup worker must be a physical machine. The data in this mode is read directly from the VMware LUN storage where a virtual disk resides.
- LAN - also known as NBD/NBDSSL. In this mode, the ESXi host reads data from the storage and sends it across a network to the worker; it's usually used when no other transport method is available.
Skip SWAP and empty blocks - Xopero ONE gives you a possibility to reduce the copy size by using two additional options:
- Skip SWAP files and partitions - if this option is switched ON, then Xopero ONE will skip swap partitions and files, which works as 'virtual memory' and stores the temporary data that is not in the use by RAM memory.
- Skip empty blocks -in case if that option is ON, the application will skip empty blocks (that are not needed in backup) and reduce the backup size.
Worker - is a device that is directly responsible for the backup process of your Virtual Machines. You can have many workers and use different workers for each backup plan. A worker can be both a physical machine or a virtual machine.
In this part, select one of the locations assigned to your Xopero ONE as a storage.
If you have no storage added to the platform, see more about storage management: Storage management
The last part of creating a new backup plan is to define its schedule. Start by selecting a suitable policy type.
- Basic - is the simplest type of schedule offering a high amount of versions compared to the used storage space.
Basic uses two backup cycles for:
- Full copy - made every month by default,
- Incremental - usually on a daily basis.
- GFS (Grandfather-Father-Son) - policy dedicated for a long-term archiving. It provides a possibility to store data over an extended period of time while keeping a small amount of versions.
GFS is a multi-level scheme using multiple backup cycles for different time periods:
- Full copy ("Grandfather") - made with greatest time interval (least often - monthly by default),
- Differential ("Father") - performed more often than a full copy (weekly),
- Incremental ("Son") - the most common with the smallest interval (daily).
Other schedule settings
Backup window - time frame during which specific backup plan can operate. If the policy exceeds the allowed timeslot, it will be automatically terminated.
Start delay - defines the time how long Xopero ONE must wait before starting backup of the next repository / device in the list.
Don't suspend while performing a backup - prevents your device from going into suspended mode.
Last part of the schedule section is to define data retention policy. You can set one of three rules to define a period of time you want to store your data.
Keep infinitely - versions won't be removed,
By time - choose different retention periods for each kind of a copy,
By number of copies - total number of versions to store.
Run cleanup - decides when to enforce retention policy:
- After the backup - cleanup will only run when new version is ready and saved in the storage,
- Before the backup - outdated versions will be removed when new backup starts.