Project:Amanda Enterprise 4.1 > VMware Vsphere and ESX

VMware Vsphere and ESX

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VMware ESX Server Backup  


Amanda Enterprise allows you to backup VMware ESX images to various media supported by Amanda. The backups are performed in a file system in a consistent manner.  These backups can be used for restoration of guest VMs running on the ESX server and can be restored to alternate ESX server. The VMware is backed up using VMware Virtual Disk APIs (vStorage APIs). 

Full and incremental backups of the VM are supported. The incremental backups contain only the changed data blocks in the virtual machine. 

Zmanda recommends using Amanda client to backup files from guest VM, if file level backup of VMs is needed. 

Amanda Enterprise VMware ESX application supports licensed (paid) versions of vSphere 5 and VMware 4.x (or called vSphere). VMware ESX 3.x is not supported because vStorage APIs are not available for ESX 3.x. If you are using ESX 3.x, please contact Zmanda support for a solution. 

Amanda Enterprise VMware ESX application does not backup VMware independent disks or RDM (Raw Device Mapping) disks. According to VMware, "snapshots of raw disks, RDM physical mode disks, and independent disks are not supported". For more information, refer to the vSphere Basic System Administrationguide, Section 17. They have to be backed up by installing Amanda client from another machine. 


Requirements for VMware Server Backup and Restore  

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Software that should be installed on Amanda server  

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  • Amanda server must be running  Linux distribution listed on the Zmanda Network Supported Platforms page. 

  • Amanda Enterprise 4.0 (includingdependencies) must be installed on the Amanda server. Make sure Amanda Enterprise server and Zmanda Management Console is functional before installing and configuring VMware ESX application. Amanda VMware ESX application agent performs the backup from the Amanda server. No additional Amanda client software is required. No software is required on the ESX server. 

  • Install Amanda Enterprise VMware patches (from Zmanda Network). 

  • You need to install the following: 

  • VMware vSphere vCLI (VMware-vSphere-CLI-6.7.0) from VMware. Install the 64-bit version if the Amanda Enterprise server is 64-bit, or 32-bit version if the server is 32-bit. 

  • VMware vSphere VDDK (VMware-vix-disklib-6.7.2) from VMware. You will need to use VMware VDDK 6.7 package for Amanda Enterprise 4.0 or later. 

Please check supported platforms for VCLI and VDDK in their release notes (Example: VCLI 6.7 release notes). 
Amanda Enterprise server should run on these supported platforms for backing up VMware virtual machines. 

The VMware packages have following operating system dependencies: 









On SLES 11, the above dependencies are required except for the openssl-devel package.  Instead of the openssl-devel package, please install the following dependencies from SLES SDK distribution (DVD 1) 



These dependencies can be installed using yum or yast or apt-get tools available in the Linux distribution. The actual names of the packages might be different in different distributions. 

On RHEL/CentOS/Oracle Linux systems, you can install these dependencies using: 

# yum install fuse-libs fuse perl-Crypt-SSLeay perl-URI curl openssl-develperl-XML-LibXML libxml2.i686 

To install VCLI 5.1.x package on CentOS 6, you will have to install following packages. You can use the following command: 

# yum install make gcc libuuid-devel libxml2-devel 

On Ubuntu 8.04, following command can be used: 

# apt-get install fuse-utils libfuse2 libcrypt-ssleay-perl liburi-perl curl 

There are additional dependencies for some Ubuntu platforms. Following 32bit packages are also required: 

libcrypt-ssleay-perl libclass-methodmaker-perl libxml-libxml-perl libwww-perl libxml2:i386 

VMware vCLIis available at the VMware web site. You can install the VMware packages as follows: 

# <extract from VMware-vix-disklib tar archive> 

# <extract from VMware-vSphere-CLI tar archive> 

# ./vmware-vix-disklib-distrib/ 

# ./vmware-vsphere-cli-distrib/ 

Please set http_proxy and ftp_proxy to (empty string) in the user shell before running VCLI installer, if Amanda server has direct access to internet. If there is a proxy server, the environment variables - http_proxy and ftp_proxy must be set to proxy server IP address. 


Guest Virtual Machine and Other requirements  

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  • All guest VMs being backed up should have Change Block Tracking (CBT) enabled for all the disks. Amanda configuration check in the ZMC Backup What page will automatically enable CBT on the guest VM disks. Please see Zmanda knowledge base article on how to enable Change Block Tracking manually. 

  • The ESX server must be running on VM hardware version 7 or greater. Older hardware levels are not supported. 

  • In Amanda Enterprise 3.3.5 and earlier, Amanda VMware ESX application requires temporary space to store the backup images on the Amanda server. (See Configuring VMware Server Backups section below). The space required should be equal to the size of the guest VM images being backed up. This space requirement is temporary and required only during backup. The amandabackup user should be able to read and write to this directory on the Amanda server. 

  • It is also important to remove all VMware snapshots before configuring the guest VM for backups. 

  • For good backup performance, there should be no snapshots of the Guest VM being backed up. 

  • It is not possible to restore backups to a virtual machine with datastore name containing following characters - &, (and ). 



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Amanda ESX VMware application is installed as part of Amanda server. Separate software is not required.  

The application is licensed. Amanda VMware license must be a part of Zmanda License file on the Amanda server. 

If the VMware commands (vmware-cmdvmkfsvmware-diskmanager, are not installed in default locations (/usr/lib/vmware-vcli for VCLI and /usr/bin for vmware-diskmanager), you will have to modify /etc/zmanda/aee4/zmc_user_dumptypes to fix the application properties (VCLI-PATH, VCLI-BIN-PATH and VDDK-BIN_PATH). 


Configuring VMware Server Backups  

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Configuring VMware guest VM backups requires steps in both Zmanda Management Console and some manual steps. 

  • Zmanda recommends creation of separate backup set for backing up guest VM images. 

  • It is also important to change TEMP-WORKING-DIR location in the /etc/zmanda/aee4/zmc_user_dumptypes file forapp_amvmware_user. This location should have sufficient disk space to hold a single uncompressed copy of the largest ESX VMware image that will be backed up. The default value is /tmp/amanda and should be changed because /tmp file system can become full during backup process. 

  • Create a backup set for the guest VMs in the Zmanda Management Console. Use ZMC Source page to add Sources for ESX servers. Select Source Type HyperVisorin Add Source to begin configuring a VM backup. Click Save to save the configuration after providing the details. 


ESX/vCenter Hostname is the name of the ESX server whose guest VMs are being backed up or the VMware vCenter that manages the ESX server.  It can be the IP address or the IP name. 

VM Name is the name of the guest VM that should be backed up. You should not use the IP address of the guest VM.  This is the VM Display name (not the name of the data storage folder on the ESX server) as shown in the left panel in the Vsphere Client. This value is case sensitive. If ESX Host Name is VMware vCenter, the VM can reside on any ESX server managed by the vCenter. 

Datastore Name is the name of the VMware datastore used by the guest VM. This field is mandatory. 

VCenter/ESX Username and VCenter/ESX Password is the authentication information for the ESX server or VMware vCenter server. These credentials are used to perform backup and recovery. The password should not contain white space characters. The VMware user privileges that are required are described in Creating ESX Backup User section below. The user name and password must be the same for the ESX server where the VM is running and VMware vCenter server. The user account must be local to the ESX server (login to ESX server and create the VMware user) not a vCenter-wide/domain account used on the ESX server. 

The backup data can be encrypted and/or compressed or deduped. The compression, encryption and Deduplication are performed on the Amanda server and can consume significant CPU/memory resources. 

It is a good idea to Disable Staging for VMware DLEs because they do not add any performance for VMware application. 

  • Please resolve any configuration errors found by the ZMC Source page. 


Scheduling Backups of VMware Server  

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You can schedule backups using Zmanda Management Console Backup When page or run immediate backups for the backup set from the Backup Now page. 

The status of the backup are shown in theMonitor page. Backup reports will be available under the Reports tab in the Zmanda Management Console. 

The backups of the guest VM are performed by taking snapshots of the disks associated with the guest VMs. Snapshots are removed after the backup data is copied over. Under certain circumstances, the snapshots are not removed. It is important to remove the backup snapshots. 

Performing VMware Server Restores using ZMC  

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Zmanda Management Console can restore the VM directly to another or the original ESX server. 

The ZMC recovery process starts at Restore What page. Enter the Backup Date - the timestamp of the backup run. The Host Name in case of VMware is always Enter the Alias/Directory/Path (guest VM name) in \\<esx or vCenter server name>\<datastore name>\<guest VM name> format. It should be exactly same as what was entered in ZMC Source page. 


In the Restore Where page, Select Destination Host as localhost. The Destination Directory can be one of the following: 



  • Original: Backup to the original ESX server with the same guest VM name. Please make sure the guest VM no longer exists on the original ESX server. Guest VM backed up using VMware vCenter cannot be restored to original ESX server. 

  • Destination Directory: A directory on the Amanda server which sufficient space to store restored images. Only level 0 backups (full backups) can be restored to the Amanda server directory. Level 1 backups contain only changed data blocks and cannot be applied without VMware. Example: /vmware-restore 

  • VMware: The VM to be restored to should be specified in format //<esx server name>/<datastore name to restore to>/<guest vm name> if the VM has to be restored to the ESX server and started on the ESX server. The guest VM name and ESX server can be different from the original VM name and the ESX server. You cannot restore to the original VM name unless it is removed from the inventory. The guest VM name can only have a-zA-Z_- characters. You cannot use VMware vCenter name, and a specific ESX server must be provided. 

If you are restoring to an alternate ESX server (not the original ESX server from where backup was performed), the /etc/amanda/<backupset name>/esxpass file should contain ESX user name and password for the ESX server being restored to. 

An example esxpass file is shown below: 

//  root%root_password is the IP address or the name of the ESX server. root is the user on the ESX server used for the backup and restore operations and password for the user is root_password. The password must not be encrypted. 

After reviewing the entries, Click Restore button on the Restore Now page to start the restore process as shown below: 




When errors occur, the temporary space used for restoration (Destination Directory) is not cleaned up after restoration. This should be done manually. 

The CDROM device file name on the restored VM may not be correct. It should be verified on the restored VM. 

Please log in to ESX server to see the restored folder and to troubleshoot restore issues. You may not be able to see the restored datastores from the vCenter server. 

Performing VMware Server Restores/Recovery using Command Line  

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This section describes how to use Amanda recovery command amrecover to perform ESX guest VM recovery.  This procedure can be used to restore guest VM to the original ESX server. These steps can be used instead of the procedure described in the previous section. 

  1. Run amrecover command on the Amanda server as root user. You will need to provide the backup set name as a parameter. The values for options -t and -s will not change. 
        # amrecover -C <backup set name> -t localhost -s localhost 

  1. Set the host to localhost and the disk to DLE name that was used in the backup set configuration. The DLE name will have //<ESX server name>/<name of the guest VM>. The setdisk parameter must match the name (include escape characters) that was specified in the disklist.conf configuration file. 

amrecoversethost localhost 

200 Dump host set to localhost. 

amrecoversetdisk // 

200 Disk set to // 

  1. To restore the VM to a different ESX server or to different VM name, user setproperty sub-command. If this property is not specified, the VM will be restored to original ESX server and original VM name. 

amrecoversetproperty directory // 

The syntax of directory value is //restore-esxi/datastore/target-name/orig-name/backupsetname 


  1. You list the files in the backup using ls command. Add all the files to be restored and run extract command to restore the files. 


amrecover> ls 

2010-03-03-17-22-35 rhel4-32.vmx 
2010-03-03-17-22-35 rhel4-32.vmdk 
2010-03-03-17-22-35 . 

amrecover> add * 
Added file /rhel4-32.vmx 
Added file /rhel4-32.vmdk 

amrecover> extract 


  1. The VMDKs will be restored to the ESX server and the datastore.  


Creating Backup and Restore user for Amanda backups  

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If you are backing through a vCenter server, the same username/password combination being used on the vCenter server must also exist with the same privileges on each ESX server that is ultimately hosting the virtual machines being backed up. 

The backup and restore user privileges required depends on whether you are using vCenter or ESX server directly. It will be easier to use non-root user with Administrator privilegesas the user for backup and restore. If you have to restrict the privileges, create a backup user role with specific privileges.  

The example set of privileges required for backup are (please note this list may not be complete):  


  Allocate space 

  Browse datastore 

  Low level file operations 

[Virtual machine] 


    Disk change tracking 

    Disk lease 


    Allow read-only disk access 

    Allow virtual machine download 


    Create snapshot 

    Remove snapshot 

    Rename snapshot 

The example set of privileges required for restoration are (please note this list may not be complete) 


  Allocate space 

  Browse datastore 

  Low level file operations 

  Update virtual machine files 


  Assign Network 


  Assign virtual machine to resource pool 

[Virtual Machine] 


   Add new disk 

   Add or remove device 


   Change resource 

   Disk change tracking 

   Disk lease 

   Host USB Device 

   Modify device settings 



   Create New 




   Allow disk access 

   Allow virtual machine files upload 

Please note that the ESX user should have administrator role on the whole ESX server not just the specific Virtual Machines being backed up. 

  1. Select View > Administration > Roles 

  1. Select Add Role.  Select an unique name for the role. For example: backup-role 

  1. Select the list of privileges for this role as shown below and click OK to save the role configuration. 

VMware-Backup-Privileges (1).png 

After creating the role, assign the role to specific user that can be used for VMware backups. 

  1. Using VMware Vsphere Client, Log in to the ESX server. 

  1. Select the host in the inventory and click on the Permissions tab. 

  1. Select the user name and use the right-click menu to select Properties. 

Assign the backup role to this user. 


Performing VMware server File Level Recovery using ZMC

Zmanda Management Console can recover file/files on Amanda server’s temporary path and to another user mentioned location.

Pre-requisites for File Level Recovery:

-       Software that should be installed on Amanda server

o   guestmount” is contained in following packages per distro:

§  Ubuntu/Debian: libguestfs-tools

§  OpenSuse: guestfs-tools

§  CentOS / Fedora: libguestfs-tools-c

§  After install the “libguestfs-tools-c


o   Secure copy (scp) package

-       User need to configure ssh key for server and copy to machine on which files need to extract. Follow below steps to configure the ssh :

              1. Switch to root user on the host machine(where aee is installed)                                                                                    2. Generate a public-private key pair on the local system: 

                             ssh-keygen -t rsa                

Accept the default location and filename for the key pair.

Optionally, you can enter a passphrase to protect the private key         

                3. Copy the public key to the remote system using ssh-copy-id command: 

ssh-copy-id remote_username@remote_host 

Enter the password for the remote user account when prompted.

 For more reference please follow below link : )


The ZMC recovery process starts at Restore What page. Enter the Backup Date - the timestamp of the backup run. The Host Name in case of VMware is always Enter the Alias/Directory/Path (guest VM name) in \\<esx or vCenter server name>\<datastore name>\<guest VM name> format. It should be exactly same as what was entered in ZMC Backup What page.

From Restore Preferences, out of two options 1. Restore Virtual Machine 2. Search Specific Files, for file level recovery select Search Specific Files option

For Search Specific Files option, specify the file/Pattern to restore

Copy the public key to the remote system using ssh-copy-id command:  




In the Restore Where page, select Temporary Location, Temporary Mount Location and update the Destination Directory as shown below: