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Setting the record straight on VMware vSphere Data Protection

There has been a fair amount of unsubstantiated speculation and noise around the new VMware virtual machine backup and recovery solution called vSphere Data Protection (VDP). Some of the most inaccurate statements I have read about were along the lines of – and I am paraphrasing – “EMC embeds its storage technology in vSphere” or “VDP is EMC Avamar Virtual Edition”.  I thought it might be good to take a few moments and set the record straight by providing more context as to why VMware introduced VDP, what it is and what use cases it serves.

Let’s first talk about why VMware is replacing VMware Data Recovery (VDR) with VDP. VDR was a first generation solution for the rapidly growing backup market that was first bundled with vSphere 4, and experienced rapid adoption by VMware customers. However, in the constant effort to deliver more value to customers, VMware has been actively working on improving data protection and disaster recovery with enhanced backup and replication solutions. This led VMware to introduce a new, more robust product in the form of VDP.  To maximize customer value, VMware decided to collaborate with the EMC Avamar team who has world-class industry leading expertise in backup and recovery technology to build the underlying foundation for VDP.

Just like VDR, VDP is ideally suited to protect small environments with enterprise-class backup and de-duplication technology. VDP scales to up to 2TB of de-duplicated storage or 100 VMs and leverages a variable-length de-duplication algorithm to deliver de-duplication rates of as much as 99%. VDP is easy to use and is managed directly from the vSphere Web Client, allowing administrators to quickly setup their backup policies and manage backups from a single pane of glass along with their entire virtual infrastructure.

Now on to the hot question at hand: Is VDP a “re-packaged” version of Avamar Virtual Edition (AVE)?  The answer is no.  VDP is an entirely new VMware product co-developed by VMware and EMC. It was designed specifically to be integrated with vSphere and packaged with vSphere 5.1 (Essentials Plus and above).  VDP does leverage Avamar technology “under the hood” to provide a robust and mature solution, but it is an entirely different product from AVE. VDP is only sold as a VMware product, available in the vSphere platform, and is not sold by EMC.

It is important to highlight that VMware continues to foster innovation in the backup space for the virtual environments market, supporting a broad partner ecosystem. VMware is fully committed to continuing investment in the vSphere Storage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) to enable seamless integration of third-party backup and recovery with VMware vSphere.

So there you have it.  VDP replaces functionality of VDR with new robust features and is geared toward protecting small environments. It may not have some of the elements found in other backup and recovery solutions in the enterprise market today, but keep in mind it is bundled with most editions of vSphere 5.1 – i.e. you did not have to pay extra for it.  Please give VDP a try and let us know what you think.


This entry was posted in Uptime, vSphere and tagged on by .
Jeff Hunter

About Jeff Hunter

Jeff Hunter is a Senior Technical Marketing Architect at VMware focusing on availability solutions. Jeff has been with VMware since 2007. Prior to VMware, Jeff spent several years in a systems engineer role expanding the virtual infrastructures at a regional bank and a Fortune 500 insurance company.

120 thoughts on “Setting the record straight on VMware vSphere Data Protection

  1. Andrew Fidel

    Is the 100 VM’s a per-instance limit or a licensing limit to push larger customers to AVE or other backup products? In other words what happens when you need to backup VM number 101.

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  3. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

    The 100-VMs-per-VDP-appliance is a supported limit. If you attempt to back up 101 (or even a few more VMs), it may – or may not – work just fine. In other words, we have done thorough testing up to 100 VMs, but not beyond that.

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  5. Mark Campbell

    Thanks – appreciate the clarity of the article. To follow up on the previous question – trying to understand the intent of the the product.. If I want a solution for 4TB and 400 VMs (or whatever), I should go look at a non-VMware solution? Or can I just solve in a scale-out with two vDPs if I have two Essential+ licenses?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      @Mark Campbell. Responding to your questions “If I want a solution for 4TB and 400 VMs (or whatever), I should go look at a non-VMware solution? Or can I just solve in a scale-out…”, it depends on requirements. You can deploy additional VDP appliances to scale out. If additional functionality is needed – for example, multiple scheduled backups of a VM or group of VMs in a 24-hour period – then it absolutely makes sense to consider other solutions from vendors that have partnered with VMware.

      1. Daniel

        @Jeff Hunter: The thing with the additionally functionality makes sense but what about the question with the more space? To use 4 TB or more of backup space is it possible to deploy multiple instances (or any other way with VDP) or is this also one of the situations where a different backup solution makes more sense?

        1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

          If you need four TB of backup destination storage space, you would have to deploy two 2TB VDP appliances. There is no “awareness” between VDP appliances meaning they cannot share space, migrate backup jobs and data from one to the other, share info with each other on who is backing up what, etc. There is currently no way to deploy a single VDP appliance with more than two TB of destination storage.

  6. Todd Kramer

    Ditto Mark’s question. I guess the heart of it is is this intended as a small business solution or could it be leveraged for the enterprise?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      @Tood Kramer – I expect VDP will be a bit more prevalent in the small business space, but it could certainly be leveraged in enterprise-sized environments.

      1. Eagle


        could you help ? i use the VDP 5.1 to backup all my windows VM ,such as windows2003, windows2008,but failed, and the error information is the same that E10055, failed to attach disk! Thanks!

    1. Abdul Rasheed

      The biggest advantage is that VDP provides ‘real’ data deduplication. Not just CBT based data reduction that was in VDR. Also don’t forget that VDP gives you CBT based restore which a great feature as it improves RTO for full VM recovery. For the price of $0, you cannot beat this deal!

      One thing though. I would not recommend VDR for 1000s VMs. You have a lot more operational costs that will make you go for an enterprise class solution. As VMware PMs clearly articulated in VMworld, VDP is for SMBs.

      1. James

        VDR does full deduplication as it says in the manual to backup the same types of servers i.e. Windows, using the same appliance to save space as the system files will most likely be the same. On a development system I have 3.44GB of non-deduplicated VM’s into 164GB deduplicated as stated in VMR, quite impressive I would say. If nothing else VDP will be useful in the enterprise for test and development systems which typically don’t get backed up due to the costs and CBT restore is quite useful also as you mention. ps our present backup solution provider wants another £80K just for the dedup function license!

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  8. Adam

    The Introduction to Data Protection document mentions three available configurations of storage capacity. Does it mean that this capacity must be provided directly by host on which we are deploying this appliance? Or does it support other methods (for example like NFS destination in VDP predecessor) ?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Yes – storage capacity is provided by the vSphere host. It is not possible/supported to connect to a CIFS share or NFS mount from within the VDP appliance and utilize that storage for backup data.

        1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

          The VDP appliance can be deployed to NFS storage mounted by the vSphere host. VDP does not support mounting a NFS share directly from the VDP appliance – i.e. mounted by the guest OS of the VDP appliance.

  9. Jonas Karlsson

    Hi and thank you for all clarifications!
    Let’s say we have 2 vSphere 5.1 hosts, A and B, each with a VDP appliance.
    Is it possible to backup VMs from host A to VDP appliance in host B, and vice verse?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Yes. VDP is connected to and managed through vCenter Server (vCenter plug-in) and the vSphere Web Client. As long as both hosts are managed by the same vCenter Server, a VDP appliance can back up VMs on either host.

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Currently, there is no way to migrate VDR backup data to VDP, although this is something we are actively exploring. Stay tuned…

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  11. Tyler Hennessey

    If we are backing up to an iScsi connected NAS and our servers go down, would we be able to connect the NAS to other servers with a vDP applicance and restore those backups? Meaning, is the storage and backups tied to a specific vDP applicance or is it flexible in a disaster?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      The storage (.vmdk files) and backup data (on those .vmdk files) are specific to the VDP appliance. In other words, there is currently no supported way to detach the .vmdk files that contain the backup data and attach those .vmdk files to another VDP appliance to perform a restore from that backup data.

      1. Tyler Hennessey

        Great thanks. And I take it the only way to back up to a NAS would be if it was connected to vSphere by iScsi or Fiber right?

        1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

          Correct. NAS would be presented to or mounted by vSphere host. VDP appliance would be deployed to that NAS storage as .vmdk files. Backup data would reside in those .vmdk files.

      2. VM

        So should the VDP appliance also be backed up (using VDP)?

        We could replicate storage of the VDP appliance at the SAN level, but what is the recommended way of ensuring that your backup server (VDP app) is also protected?

        1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

          Backing up VDP with VDP is not supported. Currently, the best way to backup VDP is to shut down the appliance when it is not performing any activity (backups, maintenance, etc.). Probably the best time to do this is late in the backup window – after all of the backup jobs have finished, but before the blackout window opens. Once the appliance is shut down, then copy and/or backup all files (.vmx file, .vmdk files, etc.) that make up the appliance to the alternate location (another site, tape, etc.). Backing up or copying the appliance while it is shut down ensures consistency. I realize this process is not ideal, but it is where we are with this initial release. Once organizations have started using VDP, I am very interested to hear specifics, experiences, etc. Thank you.

          1. Greg W

            Let’s say I have 2 production vSphere 5.1 hosts and 1 vSphere 5.1 host running VDP that backs up the VMs on the 2 production hosts. If one of the production hosts and the backup host both die then there is no NATIVE way of ever restoring the production host VMs that died since the VDP applicance is lost forever even though the VDP backup files may be still accessible?

            Is the only solution to this short-coming backing up the VDP applicance manually as you described above? If that is true then that is a major problem. The VDP backup files should be agnostic to the VDP applicance. I’m assuming the VDP backup files are portable to different hosts but they are bound to a VDP appliance that could potentially die and then the VDP bacup files are orphaned.

          2. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

            Hi Greg – In order to perform a restore, one must have all files that make up the VDP appliance (.vmx, .vmdk, etc.) intact. There is no way to attach certain .vmdk files from one VDP appliance, for example, to another VDP appliance and perform restores. The solution is the manual backup process previously discussed. I also understand the potential caveats with this approach. If this is too much risk for your organization and/or performing manual backups of the appliance does not meet your requirements then I absolutely encourage you to explore other VADP-based backup and recovery solutions. Please understand your feedback is heard and we are looking at ways to improve VDP functionality in future releases.

          3. VM

            We’ve been able to re-attach the backup storage to a different appliance in a different datacenter in VDR.

            Is this “feature” new in VDP?


          4. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

            That is correct. It is not supported to detach the storage from one VDP appliance and attach this storage to another VDP appliance and perform restores, etc. like you were able to with VMware Data Recovery (VDR).

  12. tom miller

    Thanks for the update and clarification. I noticed you specified the WEB client when using this feature. Does that mean it does not work with the installed VI client?


  13. Greg W

    What would be the best way to backup up the VDP backup files to tape? This is a key consideration for rotating the backup of VMs to off-site storate and for DR.

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Hi Greg – I have not done enough testing to provide a definitive answer up to this point, but I envision a process something like this: At regular intervals (weekly? biweekly? monthly?), a scheduled task would perform a graceful shutdown of the VDP appliance. The ideal time to do this would be late in the backup window – after all backup jobs have completed, but before the blackout window opens. That way, there is are no active jobs running in the appliance. Shutting down the appliance prior to tape backup ensures consistency. Shortly after the scheduled task shuts down the VDP appliance, the tape backup solution would start its backup job. Naturally, the goal would be for the tape backup of the appliance to complete just before the blackout window is scheduled to open. Once the tape backup job is complete, another scheduled task would power on the VDP appliance. Depending on your tape backup solution, perhaps pre-backup and post-backup scripts could also be used to gracefully shut down and power on the VDP appliance. I realize just about any method like this can be a bit cumbersome. If anyone reading this post comes up with a good way of doing this, we would certainly like to hear the details.

  14. Gareth Morgan

    So there is no simple upgrade path from VDR to VDP? VDP is good for a small data footprint outfit, once you go past 2tb you can scale out but the environments would be unaware of each other so no global backup? Not “virtual Avamar” but does “leverage” some EMC smarts under the hood?

    Is that all about right?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Hi Gareth – Currently, there is no simple upgrade path from VMware Data Recovery (VDR) to VDP. We are exploring some options to help with this, but as of right now, you are correct. You are also correct in stating that you would scale out (add additional VDP appliances) if more than 2 TB of de-duplicated destination storage space is needed. VDP appliances do not “share” data – i.e. no global backup, as you mentioned in your question. VDP does leverage Avamar technology “under the hood”.

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  16. d_

    What version of vCenter is required, and what version of ESXi is required?

    ie: Can i use vC 5.1 with ESX(i)4.1 hosts? Or vC 4.x with ESXi4.x?

    Looking forward to testing it out.

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      VDP requires vCenter Server 5.1 and the vSphere Web Client 5.1. vSphere hosts can be version 4.0 and higher. Please let us know how your testing goes. Thank you.

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  18. Karthikeyan

    What is underlying technology different between VDR & VDP? as such both was using VADP & CBT capabilities.
    Can you help understanding exact technology different between VDR vs VDP.

  19. Ross

    Hi Jeff,

    some information on how VDP integrates, backs up and restores vApps and VMs provisioned by vCloud Director 5.1 would be useful. My understanding is that VDR could backup vCD presented VMs but the full VM / vApp restore was messy as integration into vCD was the issue.

    Any VDP info on this would be appreciated.

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Hi Ross,

      This is no different with VDP. You can back up VMs that are part of a vApp, but your options for restore would be:

      1. Restore the VM(s) to an alternate location, power down the vApp, move the .vmdk file(s) (only) from the restored VM to the original VM.

      2. Restore the VM(s) that make up the vApp and reimport the VM(s) into the existing vApp.

  20. Aymen ben aissa

    HI jeff,
    I install VDP and when I try to connect this apliance a Error message apear :

    “” La demande la plus récente a été rejetée par le serveur.

    Cette erreur est généralement liée au fait que l’horloge de l’appliance VDP et celle du serveur SSO ne sont pas synchronisées. “”

    how to synchronise horloge of SSO and VDP
    can u help me

  21. VP


    I found a few disadvantages compared to VDR:

    cannot restore ext4 partitions (FLR)
    cannot mount GPT disks (FLR)
    cannot restore anything without vcenter running
    cannot restore with CLI only web access

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Yes, VDR and VDP are not quite equivalent from a feature standpoint. There are also a few things VDP does that VDR does not. For example, utilizing Changed Block Tracking (CBT) for restores and the ability to schedule backups on a monthly basis. Rest assured we are working to further enhance VDP.

  22. Chirag shah

    VDR will be supported in 5.1, mean if need to upgrade from 5.0 update1 to 5.1 then compulsary I need to migrate from VDR TO VDP?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Yes, that is correct and I am sorry to say there is currently no upgrade path from VDR to VDP. As you cut over from VDR to VDP (after upgrading vCenter to 5.1), it might make sense to keep a host at 5.0 and keep the VDR appliance around for a few months to perform a VDR restore, if needed. I realize this is by no means an ideal solution or even a decent workaround.

      1. Karl-Heinz Hildebrandt

        Does that mean, VDR is not supported or will not run under ESXi 5.1 and vCenter 5.1?

        1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

          VDR 2.0.1 technically works for the most part with 5.1 (based on some very limited testing I have done), but it is -not- supported by VMware.

  23. giorgio


    I’ve few questions about vSphere Data Protection 5.1.
    I’ve just posted on backup/recovery forum also..

    In the Admin Guide, installation requirements, nothing is mentioned about SAN/NAS, FC, iSCSI and so on.

    Are there any special requirements or I can deploy the Appliance in any datastore I want like regular VM with its datastore ?

    I’d like to deploy the vSphere Data Protection appliance storage on NL-SAS disk and the VM itself on faster disk such as SAS.

    Reading the Admin Guide I read only possible convert thick to thin, is it possible split the VM itself from the Datastore for the backup ?

    Since is agent-less backup solution, I suppose it does snapshot of the VM, deduplicate and store in its datastore. Is it correct ?

    What is the reasong of this port number ? vSphere Data Protection 111 TCP/UDP VDP ESX/ESXi rpcbind

    Thanks, giorgio

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      The VDP appliance can be deployed to any VMFS or NFS datastore mounted by the host. While it may be technically possible to split the .vmdk files of the appliance across more than one datastore, it is not supported. VDP leverages the vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) and Changed Block Tracking (CBT) – as a result, snapshots are used during the backup process. CBT ensures only changed blocks are backed up. The VDP appliance de-duplicates the data at the destination (the appliance). The rpcbind service running on port 111 is the UNIX port mapper service. Its job its to map ports to services (e.g.80 to http).

  24. Steve Belis

    I’m setting up VDP as we speak, but i already noticed a big issue! You cannot specify which vmdk you want to backup, so you need to backup the entire VM. Normally we only backup our system OS vmdk’s.

    Any chance to do this with VDP?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Hi Steve. Including and excluding specific .vmdk files is currently not supported. We are considering this for a future release, but today your only option is to back up the entire VM. Thank you for the feedback.

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  26. James

    Hi Jeff, lets assume the VDP appliance is being backed up offsite using your example of powering it down and backing up the VDP VMDK’s etc. In a DR situation with total site loss is it possible to somehow restore the VM’s from the VDP appliance without Vcenter being available? We usually have the VCenter server as a VM and will be backing it up using VDP.

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      VDP requires vCenter Server 5.1 and the vSphere Web Client to perform restores.

  27. James

    Second question which relates to previous… We have been looking at ways to backup the VDP server offsite without major service interruption to the VDP appliance itself. Because of VDP’s CBT this makes using tools like rsync ideal to backup the data from within the VDP OS and gladly I have found rsync to be installed in the VDP appliance. We want to ensure the data stays consistent during an rsync backup but haven’t been able to find any documentation of services/(daemons) that would need to be stopped to ensure data consistency. Also it would be great if it were possible to simply slip our rsync backup script into the scheduling process, say before the blackout period begins. Can you provide any information or links that would answer these questions?

      1. James

        Hi Jeff, just following up to see if you have any info to share. I have been poking around a test VDP VM and have noticed when it creates check points it changes it’s access mode to readonly to ensure consistency. This can be seen by “status.dpn”. Using this readonly access mode to perform a backup using rsync looks ideal. Is there a command that can be executed to manually set the access mode? I have been searching for the option to do this in the various scripts on the VDP VM and in A****r documentation.

        1. John Anderson

          bump! This is very interesting to me as well as I need to ensure my client has offsite storage, and could eliminate tapes if it will work.

          1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

            Not recommended or supported. While rsync will copy the data from one system to another, you need the gsan bits (deduped chunks) and the mcs (administration database) to be in sync for the possibility of restore. Assuming that rsync works perfectly (no chunks are read only or in the process of changing), the backup would move to the other system, but the application would not know how to restore it. Unlike VDP, the Avamar replication process takes this into account, and transfers all needed information for restoring a backup. In other words, if this replication functionality is a requirement, you should probably be looking at Avamar, not VDP.

          2. James

            Thanks, in our situation we provide support to a number of small businesses who could not/would not pay for Avamar. “dpnctl –ems_shutdown stop all” seems like it would be sufficient to stop all activitity. Our current intention is to “sync” a copy of the whole VDP VM, the copy resides on a USB disk attached to a Linux box, we take an initial copy by exporting the USB disk as NFS and attach to vSphere. the partitions in the VMDK’s of this “copy” get mounted on the linux machine with the help of kpartx and a python module I have written e.g. /mnt/VDPVM/, /mnt/VDPVM/data01, /mnt/VDPVM/data02 etc. and then we “sync” changes from the live VDP “/” to “/mnt/VDPVM/” on the linux box using rsync, then unount everything afterwards. Multiple backup disks can just be cloned after the initial copy to USB. Being able to slip this into the scheduling on the live VDP VM would be good, any information you had on that would be valuable. I looked at morning_cron_run but that didn’t seem to be triggered.

  28. giorgio

    Hi Jeff,


    Hi Jeff,


    2x ESX host in cluster using SAN iSCSI as main datastore.

    1x VDP appliance deployed to NFS storage mounted by the vSphere host.

    Any problems or restrictions on this ?



    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Hi Giorgio,

      That should work fine. Any feedback you have would be great to hear.

      Thank you,


  29. RickH

    I see a lot of references to backing up the VDP appliance either to tape or offsite. Couldn’t storage replication be used for this purpose? Using replicated storage and setting the replication time to match the maintenance or blackout window work? Once replicated to another storage unit or site then the whole appliance could be backed up to tape for an extra level of protection. Comments?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      While this could technically be made to work, there are a few challenges. For example, the replicated copy will be crash-consistent. When you power on a replicated VDP appliance, VDP will likely “sense” that it was not shut down properly and perform a rollback to the last validated checkpoint. If replication and/or tape support is a requirement, VDP is probably not the right solution.

  30. azzouz

    hi !

    VDP backup VMs. Could it also backup individual files or directory ?
    I m wondering if we could backup only data user for exemple


    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Sorry for the delayed response. At this time, VDP can only be configured to back up the entire VM. It is not possible to back up part of a VM – e.g. only one of three .vmdk files that make up a VM.

  31. Thierry

    I would like to use VDP to protect my VMs but I need to clarify some details before.
    I have 10 small VMs (max 50 GB each) and a bigger one that is a file server with 5 TB (excel, word, …).
    I have 2 questions :
    - A VDP appliance can have a 2 TB datastore max. Is this appliance able to fully backup this 5 TB file server (standard policy, standard grotwth) or not ?
    - Is it possible to backup part of one VM (vmdk1) to one VDP appliance and the other part of this VM (vmdk2) to another VDP appliance ?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      The 2TB VDP destination datastore is 2TB of de-duplicated data – which means it is possible you can back up 5TB of data to that destination datastore assuming that 5TB or data can be de-duplicated down to less than 2TB. I would deploy two VDP appliances in this scenario – one for the 10 small VMs and another for the file server. That would give you the best chance of not running out of destination storage capacity considering the size of the file server.

      At this time, it is not supported to back up “parts” of a VM – e.g. only one of multiple .vmdk files. VDP backs up the entire VM.

      1. Mario Verhaeg

        Hi Jeff,

        “At this time, it is not supported to back up “parts” of a VM – e.g. only one of multiple .vmdk files. VDP backs up the entire VM.”

        We are using a seperate disk for log and trace data (second disk) and only want to backup the OS disk. We made a feature request for this, can you tell me if and when this gets implemented (this is a key feature for us)?

        Kind regards,

        Mario Verhaeg

        1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

          Thank you for submitting the feature request. We do pay attention to these. That feature is high on the priority list. It is possible this may get added in the not so distant future, but of course – no guarantees.

  32. azzouz


    a VDP appliance is link to à datastore backup.

    we supposed that we have previously backup the VDP appliance.

    If i backup the data from the initial datastore backup (witch contain the vdp applinace) to another disk storage and that the first crash, could i import the backuped data from the second storage to a restored appliance one ?


    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Detaching .vmdk files from one VDP appliance and attaching to another VDP appliance is not supported.

          1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

            I have not actually tried it, but based on the information I received from the engineers that code VDP, there are required components with dependencies on each other in both the system/application and the backup data – meaning one is no good without the other.

  33. shirish patil

    I want to download Vshpere Data protection 5.1. While downloading I will get error as ” You are not entitled to download this product. VMware vSphere Data Protection 5.1.1″

    Can anybody help me to download the OVA so that I can implement it.

  34. Don Honabach

    Can you explain how the Reports Tab/Module in the VDP/vSphere Web Client works?

    The information regarding the last successful backup, etc., appear to be old. For instance, instead of matching the latest restore point for a VM as listed under the VDP Restore Tab, the information listed in the Reports Tab will be 1, 2 or even more days behind. What’s weird is that it magically just fixes itself and periodically catches up.

    Is the Report Tab tied to a successful ‘rollback point’/black out window, integrity check process, or ???

    Is there a way to limit the number of concurrent VDP backup jobs? I believe the default is 8 will run concurrently. Any way to reduce the max to say 4 or 6 instead?

    The error reporting and general integration into vCenter makes troubleshooting failed backup jobs difficult. Any suggestions on how to easily get to the real information on what a job failed, etc.?

    Any way to stop the nuisance reporting of when the VDP goes into READ ONLY/FULL ACCESS mode? This gets flagged as an error with a nice big red X in vCenter. I’m assuming this is a nuisance error? That said, the last thing I want to do is get in the mode of ignoring events marked as ‘errors’ with big red Xs on the them.


    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Hi Don,

      Clicking the “Refresh” button toward the top just below the tabs of the VDP UI should force an update of information. Otherwise, the information gets populated/refreshed when you connect the vSphere Web Client to the VDP appliance.

      The Reports tab is not tied to an integrity check, checkpoint, etc. This information is based off of backup jobs that have run and are refreshed, as mentioned above.

      There is currently no way to change the number of concurrent VMs being backed up – the maximum is eight. Do you have a specific need to limit this number? If yes, please provide details.

      Yes, I agree there is room for improvement when it comes to error reporting. I strongly suspect we will see some improvements in this area with the next release of VDP. Please call VMware Support anytime you have issues, failures, errors, etc. Not only can we help you troubleshoot the issue, but this also provides us with data on potential bugs and opportunities for improvement.

      It is fairly important to know when the appliance is switching modes. However, I can see where the constant alerting could lead to a “cry wolf” behavior. Rumor has it there will be improvements to alerting in the next release of VDP.

      Thank you,


      1. Roy

        Every time I run VDP it causes extreme stress on my NAS, is there a way to make VDP run in a “friendlier” mode? Say not have 8 parallel backups running but have all the backups run in a nice sequential way?

        1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

          It is possible to change the number of proxies in use by running the registerproxy.sh script located in /usr/local/avamarclient/etc/. Please understand this is something that has not been tested and it is NOT SUPPORTED.

  35. Pingback: VMTN Blog: VMware Communities Roundtable Podcast – Show Notes #211 – Cost/App Calculator, vSphere Data Protection | Virtualization

  36. Jim

    Can someone recommend a way to monitor vdp? We just realized that our backups haven’t been running for sometime and are looking for a good way to prevent this from happening again.

    1. george


      this is very important to know whats happening

      i was looking @ cpu usage of the vdp vm to see if it is running for the 1st time

  37. John Sloan

    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for the info. My comments here, I hope you take into account and hopefully can implement in VDP at some stage.

    We have loved VDR especially the latest version as it worked much better than before.

    We have Essentials Plus, we are a small business and can’t afford all the expensive backup techiques and SAN arrays that others may need. However we need to provide near enterprise level Disaster Recovery.

    We wanted to upgrade from vSphere 4.1 to 5.1 (in fact we have already paid for it).

    Daily all our vms get backupped by the VDR appliance to 2 spearate NFS Datastores (.vmdk’s on these attached to VDR appliance).

    The NFS Datastores are sitting on Open Indiana zfs filesystems, this allows us to perform site to site replication of the underlying file system (via snapshots on the zfs FS) and its free! The great thing about VDR was that if our DC blew up I could power on a VDR appliance in the DR site, power on the backup ESXi host and SAN and instantly restore our entire VM estate in a matter of hours by connecting the vmdk’s to a new appliance.

    The fact that the VDP appliance is completely tied to the backup store in my opinion is a big caveat in its design and something you should rectify asap. What made VDR awesome was the fact you didn’t need the appliance. A new appliance would pick up the backup destinations (any attached vmdk’s from and VDR appliance) and whala, you’re back in business.

    One of your statements of providing better DR with VDP, cannot be strickly true if this limitation is permitted to remain! DR in its very nature requires off site reconnection of the backups!

    Can you explain specifically what happens in the brain of VDP when it is powered up in a new DC with same drives attached, but not powered off properly (because the underlying storage was snapshotted). Also how resilient is it to recover its backups (for eg the last backup is corrupted but the rest are fine)

    This is very important to us and is holding back our move to 5.1, which means hypervisor is quickly becoming a option again as we cant host windows 2012 servers.

    Thank you

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Hi John,

      Thank you for the feedback. Here at VMware, we do listen to feedback from customers and partners of all shapes and sizes. I agree that VDR was a pretty good backup solution (especially for the price) and we are hoping to make things even better with VDP. We have heard similar feedback around being able to use CIFS and NFS shares as backup data destinations – i.e. separated from the appliance. This is something we are looking at very closely and it is high on the priority list.

      When VDP is not shut down gracefully, the appliance will roll back to the most recent validated checkpoint when it is powered back on. Powering on a replicated copy of a VDP appliance is not different as the replicated copy would be a crash-consistent copy. This behavior is to help prevent data corruption. Any backups (or more specifically, restore points) created after that validated checkpoint will be lost. A checkpoint is created when an integrity check finishes. These integrity checks and the rollback mechanism build considerable resiliency into the product.

      Thanks again,


  38. karlochacon


    is there any way to export backups jobs? I have plenty of them and I have to make some changes and this will remove all backups jobs in my VDP I just need the backups jobs no the data. is there a way at the command line or something?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      There is currently no supported way to export/import backup data, backup job configurations, etc. with VDP.

  39. Mark Greenaway

    I can manually backup all my VMs using VDP5.1. However, none of them backup automatically, even though they are scheduled to backup daily. I read KB 2037003 that said it didn’t like datasotres that are not attached to any host. Don’t have any of those, although I do have a datastore that is not attached to any VM.
    Any ideas, as I have run out of clues.

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Hi Mark. Please open a support request (SR) with VMware Support. That should help you get an answer sooner and also provides important data to VMware to address issues (“bugs”) that may exist. Thanks.

  40. Adrian_YCH

    I recently tried, and in fact is still trying out VDP 5.1 on 6x ESXi 5.1.1 Std edition hosts.

    The fact that there is some bug with Win2008R2…..the backup does not seem to run unless some changes are made.

    I do understand the 2TB limitation but it makes sense that this can be considered as the 1st line of backup, or as a near-line backup for smaller application servers.

    However, the scheduler might be made to have a more narrow starting time as we might have a daily window of 8pm to 8am, but certain VMs may only be free at 11pm for example.

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Hi Adrian. The Windows Server 2008 R2 issue is a known issue – it will be corrected in VDP Advanced (coming very soon) and the next release of VDP (also coming soon). We have heard that it would be good to have more granularity with the scheduler. One possible workaround is to deploy a few VDP appliances with different backup window schedules – for example, one appliance with a backup window that opens at 8:00 PM, another appliance for the other VMs where the backup window opens at 11:00 PM. Thank you for the feedback.

      1. Adrian_YCH

        I would like to have a few VDP Appliances but there are several limitations and costs.
        1. I do not know if I can “expand” a 500GB VDP App to 1TB or 2TB later.
        2. each 2TB VDP App uses 3TB space
        3. I seem to be able to connect to one VDP app at a time.
        4. How do I actually deploy a 2nd VDP app ? (FYI, I kinda new to the web console)

        1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

          1. It is not possible to “expand”, i.e., add capacity to a VDP appliance. It is possible to add capacity to a VDP Advanced appliance. The admin guide discusses this.

          2. You are correct. The 2TB refers to the amount of de-dup’d backup data capacity, not the actual amount of storage consumed by the appliance.

          3. That is correct. Each VDP or VDP Advanced appliance is managed individually, one at a time.

          4. Deploying additional VDP and/or VDP Advanced appliances is done the same way as deploying the first appliance.

  41. Mike

    Hi Jeff, we are looking to implment vDP in our environment, we have two hosts in total, each at seperate sites backing up VMs at the opposite site.
    Our backups would be fairly frequent and I would like to keep the backup traffic off the primary network link which provides management and VM traffic and send backup data across private network between the two hosts. Can I add a second vNIC to the vDP appliance and use this for backup traffic?
    I can’t seem to find any info related to network reconfig for the vDP appliance. Can you help?

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Hi Mike,

      It may be technically possible to configure the appliance with multiple vNIC and modify the routing table (static entries) to make this work, but it would be a workaround at best – in other words, not supported by VMware Support.

      However, we have many customer who have requested the ability to either store or move backup data to an offsite location using VDP Advanced. This is something we are considering for a future release. Of course, no promises on when and if this will happen for sure, but it is top of mind for product management.

  42. Adrian_YCH

    Some other feedback I have on VDP would be :
    1. add more details (or columns) in the backup screen such that we can see stuff like retention periods or number of backups
    2. enable multi-item editing eg. if we want to change retention periods for 2 or 3 items. (FYI, I did not know how big the backs will be, so I set my weekly backups to be retained for only 15 days. After 15 days, I found out that it took up less space than expected, so I extended to 2 mths, but I had to do job by job.)

    BTW, what happens if the VDP appliance runs out of space ?

  43. Mathias Tauber

    Hi Jeff,

    is it possible to backup the same VM from multiple VDP appliances and won’t get CBT messed up with this?

    And are there some new ideas for doing an offsite backup of the VDP?


  44. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

    Hi Mathias,

    Although I have not actually tried it, I am pretty sure it is ok to backup up the same VM with multiple appliances. CBT change IDs are incremented every time a VM snapshot is performed – regardless of whether it is a snapshot taken by backup software or a user-initiated snapshot. If VDP did not support this, that means user-initiated snapshots would also cause problems. However, make sure there is no chance the backup jobs will overlap. If a VM has an existing snapshot, the backup will fail.

    There are some new ideas for moving backup data offsite, but I cannot discuss them openly quite yet. Be sure to check out my VDP session at VMworld, if you are going to be there.


  45. Brian

    Can non admins have access to VDP? we have an operations team that monitors backups but do not want to grant them virtual center admin just to manage the backups.

    1. Jeff HunterJeff Hunter Post author

      Yes, this is possible, but the list of required permissions is specific and fairly long. Locate a copy of the white paper entitled “EMC Avamar 6.1 for VMware User Guide” and see the section called “Create dedicated vCenter user account”. There you will find the specific list of permissions required for Avamar – this list should be the same for VDP.

  46. xinity

    we are currently evaluating Data Protection, until now, we are using ghettoVCB + freeNAS to do our backup.
    backups are stored in a ISCSI datastore provided by freeNAS.
    is there anyway to use VDP and backup vms using ISCSI network instead of “production” network ?

    Thanks for your precious answer,


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