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Top 3 VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) Utilities

In our previous article, “What you need to know about VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB)“, we provided an overview of how VCB can help you. In this article, we will explore the command line utilities provided with VCB. There is no GUI interface for VCB so these tools are THE tools that you get with VCB. Because of that, if you are using VCB, you must know how to use these CLI tools well. Let’s take a look…

Intro to VCB CLI utilities

All executable VCB commands are located in the directory C:’Program Files’VMware’VMware Consolidated Backup Framework. As I said, there is no GUI for VCB so if you are using VCB, you have to know how to manipulate options and switches for these CLI utilities.

With that, let’s get started…

#1 mountvm.exe

The mountVM utility is used to mount VMware VMDK (virtual disk) files that have been either backed up with the VCBmounter or have been restore to the VCB server with your backup utility. In other words, the mountvm command takes the VMDK disk file and mounts it as a virtual disk on top of your existing hard drive’s filesystem. By doing that, you can go and browse the VMware virtual disk and copy files in/out of it.

The mountvm tool is a great tool to use to restore a file (or a few files) from a VMware virtual disk to your local hard drive. Let’s take a scenario. Say that you have a virtual file server that is backed up with VCB & your backup application each night. One day, you are asked to restore 1 file from that virtual disk. You could restore the entire virtual disk, back to the VMware ESX server and have to import the entire disk image. Or, you could use moutnvm to mount the disk image (virtual disk), on your hard drive, copy the file you need from it, then delete it – restoring only the 1 file. That is a huge time saver, is it not?

Here is an example of use:

At this point, I can go and browse the files on this mounted virtual disk and copy them to my local system. Here is a DIR of the restored and mounted C drive:

#2 VCBMounter.exe

Of all these utilities, the most popular and frequently used is vcbmounter. When you think of VCB, vcbmounter is really the “meat” of VCB – it performs the core function of VCB.

While it may sound similar to vmmount, it is not. vcbmounter doesn’t perform virtual disk mounts at all. Vcbmounter can do either image level or file level backups of your VMware ESX servers. Typically, vcbmounter would do the following:

  • Quiesce the file system on the virtual guest operating system
  • Changes the VM’s disks to snapshot mode & takes the snapshot- ensuring that the current virtual disk is available for backup and any changes are written to the snapshot file
  • For image-level backups, the VMDK is moved to the VCB server then backed up with your backup software. For file level backups, the VMDK is mounted as a directory on your VCB server, then backed up with your backup software.
  • All the while the virtual guest OS continues to function as normal
  • When the backup is complete, the changes in the snapshot file are reintegrated

As you can imagine, the vcbmounter command has a number of command line options. Here is a sample of what a vcbmounter full backup command looks like for a single virtual guest system:

#3 vcbVmName.exe

It sure would help you know what virtual guest operating systems are out there & their details, wouldn’t it? That is what the vcbvmname command tells you. It reports the VMware URL, VMware UUID, system name, IP address, and more. Here is an example:

Note: in order to focus on the 3 most popular VCB commands, I did leave out 2 of the 5 VCB executable commands – vcbsnapshot and vcbexport.

Summary

In summary, if you are going to use VCB, you must be prepared to get to know the CLI commands because all VCB processes are done with the CLI commands. We learned about mountvm.exe (to mount VMDK files), vcbmounter.exe (to snapshot and mount or copy disks or files), and vcbvmname.exe (to report detailed information on your virtual guest operation systems).

You can find more information on these tools, consider the following websites:

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