VMware Template Protection Considerations

ISSUE

 

VMware VM templates can be protected using periodic on-demand full backups. Because there are no regular changes to capture in the template backups, templates are not eligible for incremental backups and also are not eligible for inclusion in an Incremental Forever strategy.

Details

With VMware’s vSphere client and other tools you can create templates of virtual machines for situations when it is necessary to deploy VMs frequently. (See VMware’s documentation Working with Templates and Clones for details.) Unitrends releases 7.3 and higher support protection of VMware templates. Consider the following when using this feature of the Unitrends system:

  • You must use the Unitrends Virtualization Protector for templates. Server-based protection of templates is not available.
  • With VMware’s tools, you can create a template by cloning or converting a VM. In both cases, the template copies the VM, operating system, and any data saved to this VM. After the template is created, it exists independently of the original VM, so changes made to the template do not affect the VM, and vice-versa.
  • If you want to back up a virtual machine and its template, you must perform backups for both. If you clone a VM as a template and then backup only the template and not the original VM, you could lose data.
  • To protect your templates, you must register your vCenter Server as an Asset to the Unitrends backup system. If you register the ESX nodes only, your templates will not display in the Navigation pane.
  • Only full backups of templates can be executed. Because data in a template cannot be altered, there are no changes to capture in an incremental or differential backup. However, it is possible to schedule a template for incremental backups at this time, the incremental backups will fail with a clear indication.
  • If you include a template in a schedule that contains incremental's or Differental's you may see the error “Failed to queue: This backup type is not supported for VMware Templates" as CBT is not avaliable for VMWare Templates. You should create an additional schedule that includes the vm's and run's fulls only. 
  • VMware templates and other VMs can be in the same schedule so long as full only backups are configured.
  • When restoring a backup of a template, you can choose to restore the template or deploy it as a new VM.
  • Templates display in the Navigation pane with a [ ] icon as opposed to the standard VM icon. Additionally, pointing the mouse cursor at the icon next to the VM name will present a “template” vs “Virtual Machine” pop-up indicator for clarity. Unlike the Recovery Console, templates are not sorted into a subfolder but are listed alphabetically with all VMs for the same VMWare Asset. For easiest reference, it is recommended that when creating a template you use a file name that clearly identifies it as a template.
  • The Recent jobs page and backup reports do not differentiate VM vs Template other than by the Asset Name . For details about these UI features and reports, see and .
  • SAN-direct backups, HotAdd backups, application-aware backups, and instant recovery are not supported for templates.
  • For details about protecting templates, see Executing Backups of VMware Templates or Restoring VMware Templates
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