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VMware Incremental Restore not functioning

Created: 17 May 2010 • Updated: 18 Jun 2010 | 7 comments
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Hi All,

We have an installation of BEX2010 with a deduplication store attached which we are using to backup VMware virtual machines to using the detault full/incremental template provided with BEX 2010.  The full and incremental backups seem to go off without a hitch. 

When it comes to restoring (always with redirection to a developtment Virtual Center server) the full backup restored OK. However, whenever I choose the incremental backup to restore the process goes through but only data the size of the incremental backup is written to the "restored" virtual machine and is unusable.  I would have expected the restore process to restore the last full backup worth of data and then supplement it with any required incremental backups up to the selected point in time.

Has anybody else seen this problem or solved this problem?


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sazz.'s picture

If you are just selecting the restore of incremental data it will not automatically restore the full and the incremental, it will only restore the incremental data.

Incremenatal data is data that was changed after the last full backup for example if you are backing up a file that was changed after a full backup then it will be backed up in the incremental and if you restore the incremental then you will get that file restored.

The restore of full and incremental is only done when you need the complete data intact, in that case you have to restore the full and then the subsequent incrementals to be restored in the same order they were backed up.

pkh's picture

When you restore an incremental restore, you have to first restore the full backup and then all the subsequent incremental backups until the one that you want.  For example, you do a full backup on Sunday and incremental backups on Mon, Tue, etc.   If you want to restore the server to the time of the Thu backup, then you have to restore the Sun. full backup and the incremental backups for Mon., Tue, Wed and Thu.  After doing the restores, you have to manually delete whatever files that have been deleted between Sun and Thu.

tech29's picture

one correction in Sazz's comment:

"Incremenatal data is data that was changed after the last full backup"

actually Incremenatal data is data that was changed after the last full backup or the last incremental backup.

because if you just say that incremental data is the data that was changed after the last full backup, then this backup will be called as differential backup.


Lachlan Tailby's picture

Hi Guys,

thanks for all the answers, I was happily familiar with the way incremental backups work at the file system level. The problem is that when watching the posted videos for restoring incremental vmware backups they touch on the fact that selecting only an incremental backup for a VMWare virtual machine will automatically rebuild the full VMDK from the full backup before it. But this does not seem to be the case when I try it. The only data that is written back to the VMware host is the incremental part.

This video explains what I thought would happen when I tried to restore from an incremental backup (from 2min 10 sec to 2 min 40 sec).


Lachlan Tailby's picture

Well it seems that restore from incremental for VM's does work as shown in the video from my previous post- but only if the data IS NOT residing on a deduplicated storage folder.  I tested this by doing a full and incremental to a regular backup to disk folder and the restore from incremental worked perfectly.
Now I have to go back and decide whether I always do full backups to De-dupe storage or Full+Incremental to regular disk storage for maximum space efficiency.