A beginners guide to VMware Data Recovery

October 18, 2009 — 1 Comment

On with the vSphere blogging competition, the winner of round 2 was announced on Friday and I was extremely surprised to see it was me! All the details can be found here http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2009/10/winning-post-from-cycle-2-distributed-switch.html I would also like to point you in the direction of Hany Michael’s entry on his blog which as per usual was a fantastic source of information http://www.hypervizor.com/2009/10/vsphere-40-vnetwork-distributed-switch-vds-video-demonstration-architecture-diagram/

Onto the third round of the vSphere blogging contest VMware Data Recovery

The Problem

Often when working with SMB’s a key factor in any project is the cost, with lots of companies understanding the benefits of virtualisation the project soon gets of the ground but often is restricted by budget. This often leads to the core system being impletmeneted and features that are seen as nice to have are left until further funding can be allocated. With many companies already having licences for backup products the traditional style of backup (agent inside each VM) is left in place and the added benefits that virtualisation can bring to backup are missed.

The Solution

In steps VMware Data Recovery,

Whilst there are already many excellent backup products on the market for virtualisation, these all mean an additional cost when the budget has already been spent, Data Recovery is included with VMware vSphere Essentials Plus and from VMware vSphere advanced and up.


VMware Data Recovery works on the basis of a virtual appliance that you deploy from the packaged ovf and a plug-in that you install within your vSphere client to manage and administer the backups. Setup and configuration of your first backup jobs can easily be configured within 30 minutes. VMware Data Recovery can backup a maximum of 100 VM’s and these can be written to a maximum of two datastores at once. Your data will be de-duplicated whilst it is being backed up ultimately saving you space and Data Recovery also makes use of the changed block tracking within vSphere so only has to backup the changed blocks since the last backup, a feature that we are only just seeing introduced in some of the leading products now.


Now prior to writing this blog post VMware Data Recovery was not a product I had ever used, I am pleased to report that VMware have done a fantastic job making the installation as pain free as possible.

You will first need to download Data Recovery from the download page on VMware’s website.


You need to deploy the OVF file that is on the Data Recovery ISO to your datacenter, this is done easily with vSphere using the Deploy OVF template option from the file menu.

Once you have deployed the OVF, you can add a hard disk to it to act as a datastore for your backup or skip this step until later, alternatively you are able to use a CIFS share or RDM as your datastore.

You will now need to boot up the Data Recovery appliance and configure the networking.

Once this is complete all is left is to install the Data Recovery plug-in to your vSphere client and configure the plug-in to see your appliance, before you start configuring your backups.

Below is a short video to show you through these steps if you need a little more assistance. Please excuse the poor quality as this is the first video like this I have made, also please excuse my West Country accent! It maybe easier to watch the video straight from Vimeo here >> http://www.vimeo.com/7126178

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “A beginners guide to VMware Data Recovery“, posted with vodpod

Things to be Aware of

Be aware of where you are storing your backups, there is little point to storing them on the same storage device as the VM’s you are backing up. For this reason a CIFs share on a physical server or NAS maybe a good idea. Data Recovery has no ability to be able to backup your VM’s to tape.

Network Destinations Must Be specified Using IP Addresses – Using DNS-resolved names to specify network destinations is not supported with Data Recovery. When adding network destinations using Configure > Destinations, enter an IP address. For example, use \\\share rather than \\example\share. It has also been reported that by typing your username like There is a file level recovery option but this is only experimental, as such you should not be counting on this in a production enviroment.

Must Read Documents

All the documents relating to Data Recovery can be found at the link here >> http://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vdr_pubs.html I highly recommend reading all the release notes and admin guide before undertaking and installation of Data Recovery.

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