in today's blog post we'll go through the process of browsing and restoring backups created with VMcom Backup Appliance. It is a very simple procedure so to keep things entertaining, I'll cover some background facts and trivia that are outside the scope of a typical guide.
Assuming you already have VMcom deployed, installed and have created your first backup, you might now wonder how to restore virtual machines and individual files in case something goes wrong. VMcom aims to keep things simple, yet fool-proof and offers some nice features that are easy to miss when reading a normal guide.
After you log in to VMcom, select Browse Backups left menu item. You should now see a list of virtual machines which have backups in the system. Please note that tenants with limited privileges can only see backups from their own backup jobs, master users like admin get to see everything. Click Browse button to see individual restore points and virtual disks.
You now have three options:
1. Browse and restore individual files
This is the safest option as it does not influence the original virtual machine in any way. Using the embedded file browser you can select files and folders to restore and VMcom will create a nice ZIP archive for you to download. Use ctrl+click (or cmd+click on Mac) to select multiple items.
This can also be handy for non-IT personnel in your company to retrieve older versions of their documents etc. Simply give them the most basic user role File Restore Operator and you can be sure they cannot mess up anything while having the ability to restore themselves. As an administrator I love to delegate these tasks to users and they like having the tools to perform them.
This feature is available for both Windows and Linux filesystems and does not require any agents or OS credentials.
2. Restore entire VM
This option is most useful when something is critically wrong with the primary virtual machine. Eg. kernel update fails, you cannot boot and you simply have to fix it now.
In order to make sure this type of restore is not used by accident, VMcom requires you to power off the original virtual machine in vSphere. To play on the safe side even more, it creates a snapshot of the current state before the restore operation begins. Should the restore fail or should you change your mind about this, you have 3 days to use the snapshot manager in vSphere client in order to safely revert this operation. After 3 days, the emergency snapshot is removed automatically. You may also delete it manually after you verify the restore has been successful.
Please note that the emergency snapshot can take up some space on the datastore which is why VMcom requires some additional free space to perform this operation.
3. Restore VM into a new location
The last option basically creates a new virtual machine from the selected backup. This operation should be always performed by the administrator and is disabled for tenant users.
If you have multiple vCenters or ESXi hosts configured in VMcom, it is even possible to restore to another vCenter or ESXi. The only limitation is free datastore space and supported virtual hardware. When restoring to the same host and network as the original, make sure virtual machines' IP addresses do not colide after you power up the new one :-)
This restore method is preferred to the previous one as you can keep the original virtual machine running until the restore operation fully completes.
As you can see, VMcom aims to never disrupt the primary infrastructure. Even when you try to overwrite the original data, it creates an emergency snapshot. It does not require any OS changes, agents, additional services or credentials to do stuff inside your VMs.
The main message here is ease of use and robustness. Packed up in a nice web GUI.
If you like what you see, you can download a free trial and give it a go.