How to configure NetBackup policy to backup VMware VMs

By | August 8, 2015

After introduction to NetBackup features for VMware like NetBackup Instant Recovery , NetBackup Accelerator and NetBackup Replication Director this is time to show how to configure NetBackup VMware policy.

To configure a policy to back up the virtual machine please follow steps:

  1. In the NetBackup Administration Console, click Policies and select Actions > New > New Policy:NetBackup policy for backup VMware 1

    NetBackup policy for backup VMware 2

  2. Select the VMware policy type.(1) Select a policy storage unit or storage unit group.(2) To enable the Accelerator, click Use Accelerator.(3) When you click Use Accelerator, Perform block level incremental backups is automatically selected and grayed out. On the VMware tab, the Enable block-level incremental backup option is also selected and grayed out.NetBackup policy for backup VMware 3To enable Replication Director, click Use Replication Director. If you click this, option Use Accelerator will be unavailable and greyed out.NetBackup policy for backup VMware 4
  3. Click the VMware tab.NetBackup policy for backup VMware 5

    a) Enable file recovery from VM backup - allows restore of individual files from the backup. With or without this option, you can restore the entire virtual machine.
    b) Enable block-level incremental backup - For block-level backups of the virtual machine. This option reduces the size of the backup image. For the Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint Agents, enable this option if you use Accelerator. Otherwise, disable this option.
    c) Exclude deleted blocks - Reduces the size of the backup image by excluding any unused or deleted blocks within the file system on the virtual machine.
    d) Exclude swapping and paging files - Reduces the size of the backup image by excluding the data in the guest OS system paging file (Windows) or the swap file (Linux).
  4. Use the Schedules tab to define a schedule (click New).NetBackup policy for backup VMware 6
  5. Use the Clients tab to select the virtual machines to back up. You can specify virtual machines in either of two ways: manually or query. Select manually:NetBackup policy for backup VMware 7Select by query:NetBackup policy for backup VMware 8Also you can validate query by "Test Query".
  6. Click Backup Selections Tab. Depends on VM selection (manually or query) you will see: query or ALL_LOCAL_DRIVES (for manual VM selection)NetBackup policy for backup VMware 9
  7. When you click Apply or OK on the policy Attributes tab, a validation process checks the policy and reports any errors. If you click Close, no validation is performed.

In my opinion, NetBackup policy for VMware is easy to be configured and works pretty well. The most important thing  is validation VMs after configuration of VMware policy. In NetBackup 6.x and VCB, it was a really big Achilles' heel (and so annoying) but now (since NBU 7.x) it works! How's your experience with VMware backup by NetBackup?

Author: Mariusz

Architect (~ 15 years experience based on passion...) with strong background as a System Administrator and Engineer. Focused on Data Center Solutions: Virtualization/Cloud Computing and Storage/Backup Systems. Currently living in Poland.

15 thoughts on “How to configure NetBackup policy to backup VMware VMs

  1. ishant

    i am facing error#156 on VM backup. Policy is scheduled through query.

    Kindly guide me to resolve this snapshot error.

  2. BackupWorld

    Nice blog on vmquery based backups with screenshots
    Have a question here, is there a way to query vm's in datastore with more than a specific size of consumed space for vmdk (ex: any VM more than 300G of vmdk files only)


    1. Mariusz Post author


      thank you for feedback. As I know, there is not available such option in NBU query "out of box". What come to my mind now.. If you really need to backup only VMs with VMDKs > 300g, you can create a powershell script checking all VMs and adding annotation to VMs with VMDKs > 300G. Then you can create a query in NBU to backup only VMs with that annotation.

  3. Ishant


    i want to remove the clients which are backed up through vm query.

    Could you help me with the steps to do this?

    1. Mariusz Post author

      what kind of query you use? Maybe it would be easier to use another query to backup only specific VMs 🙂

  4. Kiran

    I have configured vmware backup and normal backups for the same client to test the speed, but both the speed are same, symantec supports said my lan speed is equal to san speed. but i am getting 100gb in one hour. Anything i can do increase backup speed.

    1. Mariusz Post author

      As I understand, you have the same speed during backup via NetBackup agant and also via VADP (VMware) by LAN?

  5. Mike

    I know this is an older article, but hopefully its still watched. Is there an option to enable encryption for VMware jobs? The option is grayed out entirely.

  6. pishel

    I know this is an older article, but hopefully its still watched. Do you know how to fix problem with orphaned snapshots? Every day after backup is taken for file server (2TB VM), I received an error that NB is unable to consolidate disks, status 36. ATM I have over 80 orphaned snapshots for that VM. Client process aborted error 50.
    In policy I configured that NB remove existing snapshots.
    Thanks in advance.

      1. pishel

        We have vpshere 6 u3 and NB 8. NB appliance restart didn't helped.

  7. AndyL

    We are seeing this with NBU 7.7 and vSphere 6.0 on non-san disks (backup has to be over the wire). I think its either an issue with the VMWare Disk Development Kit (VDDK) or the way that NBU uses the APIs

    The fix for us was:-
    1) ensure the backup policy only uses NDB
    2) storage migrate the VM to another datastore to remove all file locks
    3) run a consolidate
    4) take a snapshot
    5) remove the snapshot
    6) run a consolidate
    7) use SSH to check the original datastore for left over files and VM root directory and delete
    8) storage vMotion VM back to original datastore (if required)
    9) run backup using NDB pollicy only


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