5 1 0:VMware Backup Using Hardware Snapshots

From SEPsesam

Welcome to the latest SEP sesam documentation version 5.1.0 Apollon. For previous documentation version(s), check documentation archive.


VMware vSphere provides support for various architectural solutions, including hosting disks on storage systems, such as HPE Nimble Storage, Pure Storage, Huawei OceanStor or other SAN storage systems. This robust virtualization infrastructure offers the capability to perform efficient and fast backups utilizing hardware snapshots.

Hardware snapshots capture the precise state of a VM's virtual disks at a specific point in time, ensuring a consistent view of the VM's virtual disks during the backup process. SEP sesam utilizes hardware snapshot capabilities offered by the underlying storage systems. This eliminates the need for a VM snapshot to be active throughout the entire backup execution, thereby significantly enhancing backup performance. Hardware snapshots facilitate uninterrupted VM operation during the backup process, minimizing downtime for critical applications and ensuring uninterrupted business continuity.

In the event of data loss or VM failure, the VMs can be restored from a backup using hardware snapshots in the same way as a regular VMware restore. By following the standard VMware restore procedure, the desired VM can be selected and the appropriate restore point chosen from the available backup tasks with hardware snapshots.

How it works

When performing a backup of a virtual machine using hardware snapshots with SEP sesam, first a VMware snapshot is created in VMware vSphere environment. This snapshot captures the current state of the VM and serves as a reference point for the backup process. SEP sesam stores the configuration and metadata of the VM, allowing the VM snapshot to be deleted and the VM to resume normal operation.

Using the data obtained from the VMware snapshot, SEP sesam communicates with the underlying storage system to create a hardware snapshot of the virtual machine. SEP sesam data mover accesses the hardware snapshot and backup is performed.

This approach minimizes impact on VM performance and enables efficient backup process.


  • Open-iSCSI tool is required on a data mover. Note that on Windows, it is already included with the OS, while on Linux it must be installed manually. For more information, see www.open-iscsi.com.
  • For this type of backup, all virtual disks of the target VM must be hosted on a single volume of a SAN storage system. Distributing the virtual disks of a single VM across multiple volumes of a SAN storage system is not supported. To meet this requirement, a single VMware datastore needs to be configured as SAN storage to host all the virtual disks of the VM being backed up.
  • In the configuration process the iSCSI addresses will be required for the data mover and the SAN storage server.

Supported storage systems

For the list of storage systems that are supported with VMware vSphere, see SEP sesam Storage Hardware Support Matrix.

Note that HPE Nimble Storage and HPE Alletra 5000/6000 are fully compatible. When configuring HPE Alletra as a SEP sesam Client, select HPE Nimble Storage as the OS.

Configuring VMware backup using hardware snapshots

This section provides specific information for configuring VMware backup using hardware snapshots. For requirements and restrictions for backing up VMware environment, see VMware Requirements & Restrictions, and for general VMware backup procedure, see Vmware Backup.

Overview of the configuration procedure:

  1. Configure the storage system to establish connectivity with SEP sesam.
  2. Configure the storage system as a SEP sesam Client.
  3. Create the VMware backup task.

Configuring the storage system

For hardware snapshots, SEP sesam supports various storage systems, for example HPE Nimble Storage, Pure Storage or Huawei OceanStor, which can host virtual disks in a VMware virtual environment.

To establish connectivity between a storage system and SEP sesam, add a SEP sesam data mover on the storage system and enable access to the VMware datastore. These configuration steps are performed in the management console of the respective storage system.

For detailed description of the configuration procedure, refer to the article for your particular storage system:

For more detailed explanations and instructions, explore the documentation provided by the respective storage system.

Configuring the storage system as a SEP sesam Client

To enable backing up your virtual environment, you need to add the storage server as a SEP sesam Client:

  1. From Main Selection -> Components -> Clients, select your location and click the New Client button. The New Client window opens.
  2. Configure the client:
    • In Platform drop-down list, select STORAGE for HPE Nimble Storage or Pure Storage Array, or NDMP for Huawei OceanStor.
    • In Operating system drop-down list, select the OS of your storage server, for example HPE Nimble Storage, Pure Storage Array or Huawei OceanStor.
    • In Access Mode drop-down list, select PROXY.
    • In the list of interfaces, add the iSCSI IP address of your storage server (for example, iscsi://
  3. Screenshots

  4. Click the tab Proxy Access and enter the password for the storage server user. Note that you can use the same account used for login to storage web console, or you can configure a separate account for SEP sesam on the storage server. Then select the data mover system.
  5. Screenshots

For more details on how to configure a SEP sesam Client, see Configuring Clients.

Creating the backup task

For general information on backup configuration and prerequisites, see VMware Backup. This section deals only with specific information for VMware backup using hardware snapshots.

  1. From Main Selection -> Tasks -> By Clients, select the vCenter client and click New Backup Task. The New Backup Task window opens.
  2. Specify the backup options as required.
  3. Click the tab Options and enter the name of the storage server in Backup options (server side).
     -a svcenter=<storage_server>
  4. Screenshots

You can start the backup task immediately, or you can automate the backup process by creating the backup event and assigning it to a schedule.

Restoring from hardware snapshots

Restoring virtual machines (VMs) from a VMware backup with hardware snapshots follows the regular VMware restore procedure.

See also

VMware Backup - Automating Backup Process - VMware Advanced Configuration - Troubleshooting

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