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…
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:
C:'Program Files'VMware'VMware Consolidated Backup Framework> mountvm -d e:'mnt'blackberry'scsi0-0-0-blackberry.vmdk -cycleId -sysdl c:'mnt'blackberry Opened disk: e:'mnt'blackberry'scsi0-0-0-blackberry.vmdk Proceeding to analyze volumes Done mounting Volume 1 mounted at c:'mnt'blackberry'digits'1 (mbSize=7161 fsType=NTFS ) Volume 1 also mounted on c:'mnt'blackberry'letters'C C:'Program Files'VMware'VMware Consolidated Backup Framework>
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:
C:'mnt'blackberry'letters'C>dir Volume in drive C is os Volume Serial Number is C4E1-C0BF Directory of C:'mnt'blackberry'letters'C 03/23/2006 10:25 AM 2,974,116 238157_ENU_i386_zip.exe 10/29/2004 05:37 PM 0 AUTOEXEC.BAT 10/29/2004 05:37 PM 0 CONFIG.SYS 03/14/2007 08:27 AM Documents and Settings 07/22/2007 02:46 AM 13,272 dump_dbns.log 03/23/2006 11:34 AM hotfix 05/16/2005 01:11 PM Inetpub 01/12/2007 03:56 PM install 03/21/2006 05:12 PM 6,100,504 MDAC_TYP.EXE 01/12/2007 04:24 PM Program Files 02/21/2007 11:43 AM Research in Motion 06/20/2005 02:42 PM scripts 09/20/2005 01:01 PM SFU 09/21/2005 04:06 PM temp 01/23/2007 03:47 PM Update 08/14/2007 10:52 AM WINDOWS 10/29/2004 05:38 PM wmpub 05/16/2005 12:29 PM WUTemp 5 File(s) 9,087,892 bytes 13 Dir(s) 1,123,737,600 bytes free C:'mnt'blackberry'letters'C>
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:
vcbmounter -h virtualcenter -u vcbadmin -p MyPassword1 -a name:blackberry -r c:'mount'blackberry -t fullvm -m san
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:
C:'Program Files'VMware'VMware Consolidated Backup Framework> vcbvmname -h virtualcenter -u vcbadmin -p MyPassword1 -s Any: [2007-08-16 16:12:26.266 'App' 3216 info] Current working directory: C:'Program Files'VMware'VMware Consolidated Backup Framework Found VM: moref:vm-5289 name:blackberry uuid:50311891-3561-f846-7a87-73a059a40fb6 ipaddr:10.2.1.20 Found VM: moref:vm-337 name:powerpoint uuid:564d9a2d-0b49-aa2a-e0dc-87020ec965a7 ipaddr:10.2.1.7
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.
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:
- VMware ESX Virtual Machine Backup Guide
- John’s Tidbits – VMware Consolidated Backup
- Baeke.info Blog – Playing with VMware Consolidated Backup
- Scott Lowe – VMware Consolidated Backup
- Scott Lowe – Restoring VCB Full backups with VMware Converter
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