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Backing up AD in a VMWare VM Using GRT Causes Job Warnings - Safe to Ignore??

Created: 16 Oct 2012 • Updated: 17 Oct 2012 | 7 comments

Hi Everyone,

Apologies if this has come up before, but I had a search through and couldn't find anything.

We're backing up VMWare Virtual Machines on an ESX host using GRT. Some of those virtual machines are domain controllers, and we want to ensure AD is being backed up. I've selected the option in the job "Enable GRT for Microsoft Active Directory on virtual machines", but the job always completes with a warning. The warnings we're receiving are as follows, and appear for every domain controller:

V-79-57344-38724 - Directory 'E\SYSVOL\staging areas\' does not support Granular Recovery Technology (GRT).  Granular restores cannot be performed for items in this directory.

V-79-57344-38724 - Directory 'E\SYSVOL\sysvol\' does not support Granular Recovery Technology (GRT).  Granular restores cannot be performed for items in this directory.

Is it safe to ignore these warnings? If we had a complete system failure and had to rely on the backup, could I restore AD to a working state without these directories?

Many thanks in advance for your help.

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sazz.'s picture

Have you looked at this article:


RahulG's picture

Yes you can perform the Restore of the AD, You cannot perform  Granular restore of a individual object and also the GRT  selection list would not be visible > To perform GRT backup of AD you would need the active directory agent  license installed on the media server.

Orangoutang's picture

Thanks for the really fast responses, I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

RahulG, we have the Active Directory Agent installed and licensed on the media server and have successfully restored individual AD items in the past. I'm really just worried that in the event of a complete system failure, where the backup is our last hope, that we may not be able to recover AD as those directories have flagged warnings. Looking at the link Sazz suggested (thanks for that Sazz), it suggests that we would be able to recover the whole VMDK anyway, so I'm guessing that it shouldn't be an issue.

Would you guys recommend creating another backup job to backup AD directly from the VM (using the agent), rather than relying on VM GRT? Or is that not necessary?

Thanks again.

RahulG's picture

It is not actually required but there is no harm in doing so , as far as it confidence that your backup can restore the stuff you want.

sazz.'s picture

Yes you would be able to recover the complete vmdk but not the single user or OU in AD if needed be. As you have the AD agent license you should be able to get a successfull backup without these exceptions unless there is some limitations.

This is one of them


What version of ESX are you on? Cleint OS? VM is running on thin/thick?Is it a dynamic disk?

Also try to backup of this client as physical machine backup just to check if it works. I mean not from vmware but the normal way and check if it works fine.

Orangoutang's picture

I think to be on the safe side I'll run a daily backup using the agent, leaving VMWare out of the equation.

Sazz, we're using ESX 5.0.0, 821926. The BE media server and the domain controllers are all Windows Server 2008 R2. All the domain controller VM's are thin provisioned and they use basic disks. I'll try a direct backup tonight using the agent and we'll see how it goes.

Thanks for all your help, you've both been great.

Orangoutang's picture

The AD backup (using the agent) was successful, so I think to be on the safe side I'll run both jobs every evening - the VM GRT backup job and a direct AD backup using the agent. Thanks again for your help.