VMware Consolidated Backup Release Notes 1.5

VMware Consolidated Backup 1.5 | 08/01/2008 | Build 102898

Last Document Update: 08/01/2008

Check frequently for additions and updates to these release notes.

What's in the Release Notes

This version of the release notes covers VMware Consolidated Backup version 1.5. The following topics are included in this document:

What's New

This section covers recent improvements to VMware Consolidated Backup version 1.5.

SSPI Authentication

Consolidated Backup can now authenticate using SSPI when it is configured to connect to VirtualCenter. With SSPI, passwords do not need to be stored as plain text in config.js.

Password Storage in Registry

With this release of Consolidated Backup, if you do not want to or cannot use SSPI for authentication, you can store a password in the registry rather than storing it in config.js.

Transport Mode "hotadd"

Consolidated Backup introduces the transport mode "hotadd." This transport mode can be employed when Consolidated Backup is used in a virtual proxy. Because it uses the ESX I/O stack to move data, hotadd is more efficient than the transport mode LAN. Before using hotadd, refer to the Virtual Machine Backup Guide to configure the following roles: VMware Consolidated Backup User and VMware Consolidated Backup Proxy.

VSS Quiescing

Consolidated Backup now uses VSS for quiescing on ESX Server 3.5 Update 2 hosts when backing up Windows Server 2003, Vista, and Windows Server 2008 virtual machines. To use this feature, VSS components must be installed on the virtual machine as part of updated VMware Tools. The VSS components in the tools perform application-level quiescing on Windows Server 2003 and file system-level quiescing on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 virtual machines.

Consolidated Backup continues to uses SYNC driver for quiescing on pre-ESX Server 3.5 Update 2 hosts.

New Backup Software Support

The integration modules provided by VMware to enable Consolidated Backup support the following backup software:
  • IBM Tivoli Storage Manager 5.4
  • Legato NetWorker 7.4
  • Symantec Backup Exec 11d, 12
  • Symantec NetBackup 6.0
Many backup software vendors have produced their own integrations to enable Consolidated Backup to work with their applications.

Windows Server 2008 Proxy Support (Experimental)

Consolidated Backup offers experimental support of Windows Server 2008 on a physical or virtual proxy.

Resolved Issues

For this release, a number of critical issues have been fixed, improving general performance, reliability, and robustness of Consolidated Backup. The most significant resolved issues are the following:

Disk lease renew retry

When performing backups in SAN mode, Consolidated Backup renews disk leases every few seconds to ensure that a lease renewal occurs at least once within the maximum required timeout period. If a disk lease cannot be renewed within the maximum timeout period, Consolidated Backup tries to reacquire the disk lease up to 5 times, rather than failing the entire operation. If the disk lease is successfully reacquired, the operation continues.

Disk lease privilege no longer required on root object tree in VirtualCenter

In the previous release, backups in SAN mode could fail if the "Virtual Machine > Configuration > Disk Lease" privilege was assigned only to the virtual machines that were backed up using Consolidated Backup (but not to the root of the object tree in VirtualCenter). In this release, the assignment of the "Virtual Machine > Configuration > Disk Lease" privilege is required only by virtual machines that are backed up with Consolidated Backup.

vcbMounter crashes when connection to the server is lost

Previously, in some cases, the vcbMounter process crashed abnormally if the proxy lost its network connection to ESX Server or the VirtualCenter server during a mount operation. This behavior has been corrected so the loss of a network connection is handled appropriately and fails gracefully.

SYNC driver uninstalled on Vista, Windows Server 2008

When installing the previous version of VMware Tools, the SYNC driver was installed on unsupported operating systems, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. When you upgrade VMware Tools to the version included with ESX Server 3.5 Update 2, the SYNC driver will be uninstalled (if present).

vcbSnapAll fails immediately if destination folder does not exist NEW

When calling vcbSnapAll on the ESX Server service console in previous releases of Consolidated Backup, if the destination folder did not exist, Consolidated Backup tried unsuccessfully to create snapshots of all virtual machines in the inventory. Now vcbSnapAll checks if the destination folder exists, and if it does not, the command fails immediately.

Quiesced snapshots fail on ESX 3.5 for non-Windows and non-Linux virtual machines NEW

Previously, the quiesced snapshot operation on non-Windows and non-Linux virtual machines was failing. The operation no longer fails.

Pre-command script fails when transport mode is set to "nbdssl" in config.js NEW

When setting the transport mode in config.js to "nbdssl", the pre-command script was failing with the following error message: "Illegal value for config option TRANSPORT_MODE: nbdssl". The script no longer fails.

When upgrading from a previous version of Consolidated Backup, the installer stops responding NEW

If the vstor driver has been used to perform a file-level backup, the driver fails to unload during a subsequent upgrade to Consolidated Backup 1.5. This issue has been resolved in this release, but it will still occur if you upgrade from pre-1.5 versions of Consolidated Backup. To work around this issue, restart the proxy before performing an upgrade from a previous release.

ESX Server, VirtualCenter, and VMware Consolidated Backup Compatibility

Consider the following factors when choosing versions of ESX Server and VirtualCenter to work with VMware Consolidated Backup:

  • Consolidated Backup 1.5 is compatible with ESX Server 3.0.2 and higher, managed by VirtualCenter 2.0.1 P1 and higher.
  • Consolidated Backup 1.0.2 and Consolidated Backup 1.0.3 do not work with VirtualCenter 2.5. To address this issue, VMware provides patches for these versions of Consolidated Backup.
  • VirtualCenter 2.5 and Consolidated Backup can coexist on the same system. However, because the Consolidated Backup proxy should be locked down as much as possible, VMware does not recommend this setup.

Known Issues

The following sections describe the known issues for this release of Consolidated Backup.

Consolidated Backup and storage VMotion are mutually exclusive

Because Consolidated Backup operates on snapshots of virtual machines and Storage VMotion does not work for virtual machines with snapshots, you cannot migrate a virtual machine while it is being backed up by Consolidated Backup.

Storage VMotion, on its part, disables snapshot operations for virtual machines it migrates. As a result, an attempt to back up such a virtual machine with Consolidated Backup fails with a resource in use error.

VSS not installed by default on Windows Server 2003 during VMware tools upgrade on ESX 3.5 U2

ESX Server 3.5 Update 2 introduces quiescing support using VSS. However, VSS components are not installed when upgrading VMware Tools on a Windows Server 2003 virtual machine. You can install VSS components manually by performing an interactive tools upgrade with the VI Client:
  1. In the VMware Tools installer, select Modify > Drivers > VSS.
  2. Complete the installation process.
  3. Restart the virtual machine to make sure VSS components are installed and running.

VSS not installed by default on Vista and Windows Server 2008

ESX Server 3.5 Update 2 introduces quiescing support using VSS. However, VSS components are not installed by default on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 virtual machines. You can install VSS components manually by performing an interactive tools upgrade with the VI Client:
  1. On the drive where the VMware Tools CD is mounted, locate the redist folder.
  2. Install vcredist_x86.exe (or vcredist_x64.exe on a 64-bit operating system).
  3. In the VMware Tools installer, select Modify > Drivers > VSS.
  4. Complete the installation process.
  5. Restart the virtual machine to make sure VSS components are installed and running.

VSS quiescing failures

If quiescing with VSS fails, Consolidated Backup will be unable to successfully complete the mount operation. Check the system and application event log to find the reason for the quiescing failure, and take the necessary steps to correct the problem.

Consolidated Backup will default to using the SYNC driver for quiescing if VSS components are uninstalled. To uninstall VSS components:
  1. On Windows operating systems, navigate to Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs > VMware Tools.
  2. Click Change, and select Modify > Drivers.
  3. Deselect the VSS option and complete the installation wizard.

Hot-add fails with "Could not locate device nodes for new disks"

Some applications install a virtual adapter in the guest operating system. These virtual adapters could interfere with the ability of Consolidated Backup to detect a disk that has been added while the machine is running (or "hot" added) in the proxy virtual machine when performing a mount operation. If the error, "Could not locate device nodes for new disks," occurs during a hot-add mount operation, check the Windows device manager to see if any SCSI controllers other than those for LSI Logic or Buslogic are installed.

Hot-add fails with "Failed to allocate SCSI target ID"

Consolidated Backup allocates SCSI target IDs to disks from the backup virtual machine that will be added while the machine is running (or "hot" added). If all target IDs in the proxy virtual machine are in use, the mount operation will fail with the following error: "Failed to allocate SCSI target ID." Consolidated Backup cannot add a SCSI controller while the machine is running, so you must power off the proxy virtual machine to add SCSI controllers. The proxy virtual machine can be configured with up to four SCSI controllers. To add more than four, add a disk and use the VI Client to assign a target on a new SCSI controller.

Proxy virtual machine used with hot-add transport mode fails to power on

During a hot-add mount operation, Consolidated Backup attaches the snapshot disks of the backup virtual machine to the proxy virtual machine. During a hot-add unmount operation, Consolidated Backup removes the snapshot disks of the backup virtual machine from the proxy virtual machine. If the unmount operation is performed manually — for example, a snapshot of the backup virtual machine is manually deleted — the operation can invalidate the disks that are still attached to the proxy virtual machine. As a result, the proxy virtual machine will fail to power on. You must use the VI Client to reconfigure the proxy virtual machine manually, removing any disks attached to the virtual machine that did not originally belong to it. After the offending disks are removed, you can power on the machine. You can avoid this situation by using Consolidated Backup for the unmount operation on proxy virtual machines.

Backup Fails with "Cannot use hotadd transport to mount virtual machines with independent disks"

When using hotadd transport to back up a virtual machine with an independent disk (including physical compatibility RDMs), the backup will fail with the following error: "Cannot use hotadd transport to mount virtual machines with independent disks."

File-level backups fail if vmdk is expanded using vmkfstools -X NEW

If you use vmkfstools -X on the ESX Server 3.5 service console to expand the size of a virtual machine's disk, Consolidated Backup cannot run a file-level backup on the virtual machine; it can only run a fullvm backup. Attempts to run a file-level backup fail with an error message: "unable to open disk." This issue occurs because cylinder values are not updated by vmkfstools, and Consolidated Backup is unable to determine the size of the disk.

To work around this issue:
  • (Preferred) Use the VI Client wizard, rather than vmkfstools, to expand the size of the virtual machine's disk, which will not change the cylinder's value.
  • If you have already used the vmkfstools -X option, you can manually modify the cylinder's value (use this method with caution):
    1. Navigate to /vmfs/volumes/storage/vm-name.
    2. Open the vm-name.vmdk file for edit.
    3. The file contains lines similar to the following:
      RW 8388608 VMFS "vm-name-flat.vmdk"
      ddb.geometry.cylinders = "261"
      ddb.geometry.heads = "255"
      ddb.geometry.sectors = "63"
    4. Change the number of cylinders accordingly.
    5. For example, if the size of the vmdk file was 4GB before you applied the vmkfstools -X option (RW 4194304 ...), and the new vmdk size is 8GB (RW 8388608...), the number of cylinders should be doubled from 261 to 522.

      RW 4194304 VMFS "vm-name-flat.vmdk"
      ddb.geometry.cylinders = "261"

      RW 8388608 VMFS "vm-name-flat.vmdk"
      ddb.geometry.cylinders = "522"

Consolidated Backup does not adhere to the SNAPSHOT_DELETE policy NEW

When using SNAPSHOT_POLICY as "createonly" or "manual", Consolidated Backup incorrectly deletes the snapshot when the post-command script is called.

Incomplete "hotadd" setup information in Virtual Machine Backup Guide for User role and Proxy role NEW

To use "hotadd" transport mode, the Consolidated Backup User role must be updated to include the following privileges:
  • Datastore > Browse Datastore
  • Virtual Machine > Configuration > Disk Lease
  • Virtual Machine > State > Create Snapshot
  • Virtual Machine > State > Remove Snapshot
  • Virtual Machine > Provisioning > Allow Virtual Machine Download
  • Virtual Machine > Provisioning > Allow Read-only Disk Access
  • Virtual Machine > Provisioning > Clone

The Consolidated Backup Proxy role must have the same privileges as the Consolidated Backup User role, in addition to the following:
  • Datastore > Browse Datastore
  • Virtual Machine > Configuration > Add Existing Disk
  • Virtual Machine > Configuration > Remove Disk
  • Virtual Machine > Configuration > Change Resource

vcbRestore and vcbResall commands fail to register virtual machines with disks connected in persistent or non-persistent mode NEW

After you back up a Windows virtual machine, if you attempt to restore it using the vcbResAll or vcbRestore command, and the virtual machine has a persistent or non-persistent disk connected to it, the operation fails.

Executing pre-backup.bat for a non-existing virtual machine returns "0" instead of "16" NEW

When pre-backup.bat is executed for a non-existing virtual machine, the return code is "0", which incorrectly indicates that the file executed successfully. The return code should be "16".

This issue occurs when the PREEXISTING_VCB_SNAPSHOT option in config.js is equal to "delete". When the option is not "delete", the script incorrectly returns "1" for a non-existing virtual machine. In this case, the return code should be "16".

Windows freeze/thaw scripts not called for ESX 3.5 U2 guest virtual machines with updated tools NEW

When you update an ESX host and its guest virtual machine's VMware Tools to ESX Server 3.5 Update 2, the scripts in C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\backupScripts.d are called with a freeze or thaw argument during quiescing. However, the scripts c:\windows\pre-freeze.bat and c:\windows\post-thaw.bat are no longer called.

To fix this issue, port the scripts (pre-freeze.bat and post-thaw.bat) to the new script format as required by VMware Tools for ESX Server 3.5 Update 2, installed in C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\backupScripts.d. Refer to the Virtual Machine Backup Guide for more information.