VDP Backup tips

Love VDP since from the start.  We use Veeam backup before but we found out VDP is better suited for our environment.  No offense to Veeam, I think they wrote a very good piece of software but as far as simplicity, future proof and $$ you can’t beat VDP.

In the past I get error and they are all mainly due to stale snapshots related.  My goal is just to share how I troubleshoot and delete stale snapshots.  You must be really, really carefull when you are manually deleting snapsthots in the datastore, the best bullet-proof advice is that to make sure the VM is “ON” and running during deletion of stale vmdk.  Why? VMFS, locks the files he is using when running so any attempt to delete/rename/move to the vmdk will be unsuccessful, which is what we want.

1.  Delete all snapshots you have from snapshot manager that you are using.  99 percent of the time I tend to clean-up all my snapshots on the server as best practice.  RUN VDP

2.  Run “Consolidate” if necessary. RUN VDP

3.  If you still get VSS error or something like “Cannot take a quiesced snapshot”.  STALE SNAPSHOTS – Navigate to the datastore that this particular VM resides and look for something like “VM000002.vmdk”.  Remember that we deleted all snapshots so there should be nothing like this there.  Before you delete it, double check the date.

4.  VMware agent and third party VSS contention.  Be aware of any third party backup agent that has its own VSS like Backup-exec.  VMware agent  can use backup-exec agent without a problem, the issue is the order you install the Backup-exec agent.  Backup-exec agent should be the last to be installed.  Gotchas…  Be aware of this when you are upgrading the VMware agent, you will need to reinstall the backup-exec agent again if you start getting backup error.

Good luck…


VSphere 5.1 Web Client


This is interesting “The vSphere Web Client is now the core administrative interface for vSphere”.  I’m a little excited/surprise to see this.  The word “Now” implies to me that they made major improvements.  I honestly thought it would take a while for VMware to move to the web client as the primary management.  I evaluated the web client on the vCenter 5.0 appliance late 2011 and I find it as a stripped down brother of the full blown Windows client so I revert back to the fat Window client.  I remember that I had to configure the Cluster/Storage/Network infrastructure first using the fat client and only then where I find the web client usable for day to day administration.  I wonder how the plugins are integrated to the webclient like the Update Manager, VSA, VDR, etc.  I do not use the Windows vCent variant so I’m going to apply the 5.1b patch on my vCent Linux appliance and I will see if VMware’s release note can stand on all four.

Part of me says that I’m going to be disappointed, but the other part of me is optimistic.  Optimistic because I saw what VMware did to vCloud Director v1.5 and the new v5.1.  VCD web interface is feature rich and if they can do it to VCD then they can apply the same code to vCent web interface as well.    By the way, for those that do not use the vCent appliance, the appliance has the web client built-in by default.  It can’t get any easier than that.

Check back this week for the findings.

Update:  Oops!  I think I spoke too soon with this.  It does not look like VSphere 5.1 download is out yet, I got v5.1 mixed with v5.0 U1b that was just release two weeks ago.  And reading from other sources that evaluated the beta release, it looks like the web client is as good as Vmware advertised.  VDR appliance is facing out and being replaced by VDP, built-in to vCenter (nice touch).  The plugins need to be rewritten for the web client, I don’t know how the third party vendor going to welcome the extra work ahead of them.  I hope that they release the vCent appliance at the same time with the Windows variant.  This last patch for the appliance took about 6 months, but I think that’s because of the DB2 to vPostgres database issue.  There’s so much new features that I’m going to write a series of articles on my favorite new feature.  This is really the last time I’m going to buy books, the 2 VMware books I bought 3 months ago are now out dated.