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Tuesday 30 December 2014

Auditing VMware backups

A customer asked me to report on whether every virtual machine in their VMware environment was getting backed up.

HP Data Protector includes a report on the last successful backup for various objects, but it doesn’t provide a convenient way of tying that in with what is on a VMware cluster.

So I wrote a program, imaginatively called You can get a copy from

This program queries the vcenter-server given as a command-line argument, and identifies all the virtual machines on that server. It uses the VMware Perl SDK to do this (there's a program called which is makes use of.)

It also queries the Data Protector internal database for the last 14 days to find out what objects have been backed up during VEAgent backups. It then prepares a list of virtual machine names and shows when they were last (successfully or unsuccessfully) backed up. 

If the virtual machine has never been backed up successfully in the time frame , the message no full backup completed cleanly will be shown. Otherwise, the relevant session IDs will be shown in reverse chronological order.
This is the kind of output it gives:

[LaptopDatacenter:linuxvm1] 2014/12/29-6 (Full) 2014/12/29-5 (Incremental)
[LaptopDatacenter:unbacked-up-vm] <no full backup completed cleanly>
[LaptopDatacenter:linuxvm3] 2014/12/29-6 (Failed Full) 2014/12/29-5 (Incremental) 2014/12/28-1 (Full)

In full honesty, there are some obvious short-comings:

  • It doesn’t correctly handle two virtual machines with the same name in the same data center. This is probably impossible anyway, so doesn’t matter. If they are in different data centers it is able to distinguish them.
  • It’s not smart enough to understand that a virtual machine might be getting cloned or replicated between data centres.
  • It might not cope very well with mixed Hyper-V and VMware environments. It might not cope very well with two instances running simultaneously.
  • It has only been tested on a version 9.02 Linux-based cell console, talking to a Windows cell manager. It won't be hard to get working on anything else, but I just haven't done it yet.

If these matter to you and have a budget to cover fixing any of these, please get in touch and I'll see what I can do.

Greg Baker is an independent consultant who happens to do a lot of work on HP DataProtector. He is the author of the only published books on HP Data Protector ( He works with HP and HP partner companies to solve the hardest big-data problems (especially around backup). See more at IFOST's DataProtector pages at

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