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Q. How do I enable application-consistent virtual machine (VM) backups with VMware Data Recovery?

A. Backing up running VMs seems like a dead simple process: Just install a backup solution like VMware Data Recovery then kick off the backup. However, some backups aren't as simple, such as those for VMs that run certain applications. Applications in VMs that rely on transactional databases won't back up in a consistent state unless they're properly quiesced first. This quiescence relies on the efforts of the backup client in cooperation with the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) that's natively a part of every Windows OS.

Many administrators don't know that application-consistent backups with VMware Data Recovery are automatically enabled only when a VM was created in vSphere 4.1. If your VM was created with an earlier vSphere version, you'll need to complete a few extra, manual steps to get the application-consistent backups you need.

On page 38 of the VMware Data Recovery Administration Guide you'll find the steps to complete for each VM:

  1. Start the vSphere Client and log in to a vCenter Server.
  2. Select Virtual Machines and Templates and click the Virtual Machines tab.
  3. Right-click the Windows Server 2008 VM for which you're enabling the disk UUID attribute, and select Power, Power Off. The VM powers off.
  4. Right-click the VM and click Edit Settings.
  5. Click the Options tab and select the General entry in the settings column.
  6. Click Configuration Parameters... The Configuration Parameters window appears.
  7. Click Add Row.
  8. In the Name column, enter disk.EnableUUID.
  9. In the Value column, enter TRUE.
  10. Click OK then Save.
  11. Power on the VM.
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