Archive:VSphere Single Item Restore

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Restore of a single item (file) from a full VMWare backup

  • VDDK mount utility
  • VMDKs must be saved in RAW format to a Sesam data store
  • Mount should be done from a data mover with same kind of OS as VM
  • Apply CBT information to Sesam DS saveset

Single Item Restore

  • VMDK is saved in RAW format, so a Sesam saveset on datastore is a exact clone of the flat VMDK file
  • file systems on this VMDK can be mounted using vmware-mountutility (or VDDK API)
  • files can be copied directly from this mounted FS

Single Item over VM

  • Create a small VM
  • Boot it
  • Attach VMDK files via NFS to this VM
  • Mount file systems
  • Copy files

Instant recovery

  • Create VM from config backup
  • Attach VMDK files via NFS to this VM (instead of creating ones)
  • Boot VM

VMDK Meta Data Backup

For both features we need the necessary meta information to create the VMDK. There are several ways to this. For IR current solution using VIJAVA works. An exiting VMDK can be attached to a running VM, if it is a SCSI disk (IDE disk can be attached to an offline VM only)

For single item restore we have no vSphere on Sesam Server, so we need another way. We can for example download the VMDK config files (like .vmx ..) during backup. Also we already create a meta file during non raw VMDK backup, which includes same information (perhaps we to extend them a little bit).

So our next step will be:

Backup of VMDK meta data during RAW VMDK backup

1. Meta file is created in tmp/_vadp_ ...saveset directory during RAW backup and will be saved by VSPHERE_CONFIG: backup, which will be executed as last step. To do this we have to extend -a switch by main saveset if to transfer it to sbc (-s savesetid will be certainly different).

Then meta data file will be created in the following directory. Usually this directory already exists, because it will be created by sbc_jvm to copy some config files to data mover

Working with local VMDK

In case of CBT backups, we've to apply changes to a local VMDK. VDDK should be able to this. So we only have to extend sbc command line to specify the path to VMDK file

Prepare VMDK

Save original saveset

In case of a read/write mount or if CBT information will be applied to Sesam saveset, original saveset should be saved. The easiest why will be using of snapshots (LVM, Filer snapshot ...). After restore saveset can be reset (how to do this for one saveset ?).

Direct mount

The VMDK file will be directly mounted by Sesam Server (or RDS). No vSphere is required. Server mounting the VMDK should have same OS then OS using VMDK.

Attach to VM


  • VM with a installed Sesam client (Appliance)
  • One VM for Windows and for Linux
  • Sesam datastore must be exported as NFS volume


  • Copy and adopt meta file
  • Create VMWare NFS datastore with same name as Sesam DS
  • Attach VMDKs to helper VM
  • Re-scan SCSI bus in VM (Remote command in Sesam client)
  • Mount partitions
  • Call dir command
  • Copy files
  • umount
  • detach
  • remove VMWare DS
  • -c: Client name of VM in Sesam DB
  • -s: Saveset id of VMDK backup
  • -V: <vCenter>:<DC>/<VM> (vCenter has to be configured as Sesam client)

Helper VM

To have a defined OS installation SEP should deliver a Linux based VM template, which can be deployed on DC where restore takes place (most other products using same way).

  • quite recent Linux version to mount all kind of file systems
  • path variable of sm_ctrld must include system programs ('/bin','/usr/bin' ....)
  • only one system disk VMDK without LVM -> all further VMDK are foreign attached VMDKs
  • Appliance configuration before (Fixed IP, DHCP ..)

Restore Wizard

Using Sesam saveset directly as VMDK brings a lot of new features into GUI.

If a RAW VMDK saveset stored on a DS is selected in RW, some more functions have to be offered:

  • Single file over local mount
  • Single item over helper VM (SHV)
  • Attach VMKDs to any other VM

Restore over SEPsesam helper VM

  • If the main saveset will be selected, all VMDKs will be attached
  • If VMDK saveset will be selected, only this single VMDK will be selected
  • instead of calling sm_lis_items, sm_vmdk_interface has to be called.
  • if '-o mount' option is set, Sesam will try to mount all recognized partitions (tbd.)
  • sm_client dir /<mnt> on SHV
  • select files
  • Restore -> sm_copy_files
  • Show log
  • detach VMDKs, including some information about "detach" process.

Local mount

  • sm_vmdk_interface mount -s <ssid>
  • sm_client dir gv_rw_tmp:_vadp_/mnt
  • select files
  • restore
  • umount VMDK:

Start VM directly

VMDKs will be assigned directly to a VM during restore process. VM can be created in the usual manner from a vShere config backup. Creation and restore of VMDKs will be replaced by direct attach of saveset files.