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VM Backup backs up the entire disk

Created: 24 May 2013 • Updated: 02 Jul 2013 | 16 comments
This issue has been solved. See solution.

I have BackupExec 2012 installed with service pack1 and hotfixes, VMWare ESXi 5.0 update1. We are running the Essentials license of VMWare which gives us the vStorage APIs. The virtual machine has VMWare Tools and RAWS agent. 

I have added the vCenter server to BackupExec, I create a backup job from the vCenter server, select one virtual machine, backup to disk, I have tried it with GRT enabled and GRT not enabled. The backup is a full 56GB (the size of the disk which is Thick provisioned). I was under the impression that the backup would only backup the amount of data that was 'used' in the virtual machine?

Can someone confirm or deny that?

Operating Systems:

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pkh's picture

Did you enable changed block tracking?

CanadianMade's picture

Hi PKH, no, change block tracking is not enabled for any of my VM's.

Dolly's picture

Basically, netbackup for vmware quiesce the datastore housing the data using the vstorage API and take the snapshot of the data which will then be backed up or transfer via the backup host( in this case the media server) to the storage unit. Back to your question, netbackup for vmware would only take the snapshot of the data in the allocated datastore to a vm for backup.

pkh's picture

The user is using BE, not NBU.

Dolly's picture

Pkh...my bad. I am so engulf with netbackup that some time i miss points relating to other environment.

Canadiamade: I believe this link will be helpful to your question:

http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?page=content&id=HOWTO74443

Cheers.

CanadianMade's picture

Hi Dolly, thanks for your help but I don't see anything in the HowTo that I'm doing different or that points out my problem?

ZeRoC00L's picture

You can try to change the registry value below, is was helping in BE 2010, maybe it still works in BE2012.

 

- The following registry key will need to be manually adjusted on the Media Server to a value of "1"

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Symantec\Backup Exec For Windows\Backup Exec\Engine\VMware Agent\NTFS Used Sector Tracking Preferred

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CanadianMade's picture

Thanks, I saw that before and it is already set to 1 on my system.

ZeRoC00L's picture

Was the disk filled with data in the past ?
If so you can run sdelete to scanning a drive and zeroing out blocks from deleted files so that they can be reclaimed as free space.

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CanadianMade's picture

Sorry to report but I ran sdelete with -z to zero out the free space and ran a backup again but the size was the same. Does it matter that I have the disk thick provisioned?

ZeRoC00L's picture

Not sure, but do you have this issue with all machines, or just one ?

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CanadianMade's picture

All of the machines I have tested so far have the same behavior. They all backup the full disk instead of just the used space.

ZeRoC00L's picture

It may be worth contacting Symantec Support for this, they can remotely gather some information about your environment that can help them investigating this issue.

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CanadianMade's picture

Ok, I'll try that. Thanks for all your help!! I'll post back what happens.

CanadianMade's picture

Ok, thanks for all your help. I spent weeks going back and forth with logs and recreating the descriptor file. It turns out there isn't a problem at all, in BackupExec 2012 I was looking at the Backup Sets tab in the Disk Storage section which showed the size as 56GB while I know there is only about 23GB being used on the disk. After weeks of dealing with support I finally just looked closer at the job log and it showed only 23GB being backed up. When I told the support 'engineer' he said it is by design that the backup set shows the full size of the disk plus some. This shows you the "worse case scenario" if your VM filled up. In the end the lesson here is check the logs very carefully before contacting support and let them know what screen you are looking at!

SOLUTION