Virtual disaster recovery to VMware VMDK
The virtual disaster recovery feature lets you create a VMware machine in a local directory and recover your system there.
You will find the following files in the target directory after recovery:
- VMX - the primary configuration file, that can be opened with VMware Player/Workstation.
- VMDK - a virtual disk file, that stores the contents of the virtual machine's hard disk drive. The number of VMDK disks equals the number of hard drives in the source system.
Before you initiate virtual disaster recovery to VMware VMDK, make sure both of the systems involved are supported and properly configured.
- Source system – the system that has been backed up with the Backup Manager and is now going to be recovered.
- Host system – the system that the recovery software is installed on. It can coincide with the source system.
All the supported Windows versions are suitable for virtual disaster recovery to VMware VMDK.
- Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10
- Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2 and 2016
Backup selection requirements
To make your system suitable for virtual disaster recovery to VMware VMDK, back up the following:
- The system state of your computer (the System State data source).
The whole system disk –
C:\or another disk that has your operating system and that the operating system boots from (the Files and Folders data source).
- Any other data that is important to you. Supported data sources: Files and Folders, MS Exchange, and MS SQL.
It is possible to back up a system containing dynamic disks, though it should be noted that these are converted to basic disks during virtual disaster recovery.
If in doubt concerning the selection of files, please perform a test restore or contact customer support for assistance.
Optional settings (for better restore speed)
If the data transfer speed through the Internet is not high enough, you can benefit from enabling the LocalSpeedVault in the source system.
Planning to perform recovery from another machine? Then consider placing the LocalSpeedVault folder on any of the following:
- A removable storage drive that you will be able to attach to the host machine
- The host machine (if it is located on the local network)
- Another machine on the local network that is accessible from the host machine.
The host system that virtual disaster recovery is performed from must meet some requirements. It can be the same system that is being recovered or a different one.
You can initiate data recovery to VMware VMDK from the following versions of Windows (64-bit only):
- Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10
- Windows Server 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2 and 2016
The host system must not be older than the source system. For example, if you want to restore Windows 8, you must install your recovery software on Windows 8 or a newer version.
The host machine must have 64-bit virtual disaster recovery software installed (the Backup Manager or the Recovery Console).
- Machine name – the name to assign to the virtual machine.
- Restore to – the directory where the virtual machine will be created.
Set boot disk size to ...
Use this setting to customize the size to the system disk created on the virtual machine (by default, the new disk is the same size as the original).
If the disk contains several partitions, you cannot reduce the original size by more than the amount of free space on the last partition. For example, if the total size of the disk is 100 GB and the last partition has 10 GB of free space, you can set the value to 90 or more.
Use restore-only mode on target machine
Helps prevent unwanted backups from running on the recovered virtual machine.
Skip files that have not changed
Helps optimize data recovery operations and increases recovery speed. It applies to subsequent restore sessions (not the initial restore session in which the whole amount of data is transferred).
Create only volumes that are selected for restore
- If the setting is on, the target virtual machine will contain only those disks that have data selected for recovery.
- If the setting is off and no data from a disk is selected for recovery, the virtual disk is created without any data.
The setting is ignored if the disk you have excluded from recovery contains critical data. Such a thing can happen if your recovery selection includes MS Exchange or MS SQL and some files belonging to these data sources are located on the excluded disk. In this case the disk is created and populated with the files required by MS Exchange and MS SQL.
Repair files replication service
If you are restoring Active Directory with multiple domain controllers, you should change the FRS and DFSR services to authoritative in the domain controller that will be started in the first place. Avoid marking several FRS/DFSR services as authoritative in the production environment as it can result in data loss. When the feature is on, the FRS and DFSR services are started on the target VM in the authoritative mode. The NETLOGON and SYSVOL shares become available, so the Active Directory and DNS services become functional again.
More information about FRS/DFSR is available in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Article IDs: KB2218556, kbinfo KB290762.
The local VMDK files created by the virtual disaster recovery have the "VMware workstation 8" format. Such files cannot be copied to the ESXi. You need to convert them to an appropriate format using the VMware vCenter Converter.