I came across a few discussions lately around using folders with vSphere Data Protection (VDP). If you have used VDP, I imagine you know that it is possible to select “container” objects such as a cluster or resource pool when creating a backup job. The question that continues to come up is “Can I select a folder when creating a backup job?” Well, the answer is a bit more complicated than yes or no…

The VDP Administration Guide says a folder can be selected. With that in mind, I navigated to “VMs and Templates” in the vSphere Web Client, created a folder, and moved a few virtual machines (VMs) into my newly created folder. I then proceeded to create a backup job in VDP, but quickly realized my folder is not showing up as an object to select in the backup job wizard.

After discussion with some other individuals very familiar with VDP, we collectively realized that VDP uses the Hosts and Clusters view when parsing the vCenter Server inventory. To prove this, I created a Host and Cluster Folder using the vSphere Web Client.

Sure enough, it showed up as an object I could select when creating a backup job.

As you can imagine, one can put hosts and clusters in a Hosts and Cluster Folder, but not VMs. When I try to move a VM into that folder, I get this error message: “The type of the selected target is not relevant.”

So, technically, the VDP Administration Guide is accurate – you can select a folder when creating or editing a backup job. The catch is, the folder must be a Host and Cluster Folder. Unfortunately, a Host and Cluster Folder has very little value when it comes to organizing VMs for backup using VDP. Hopefully, we will see new and unique ways to organize and protect VMs in the future. I think the use of tags is quite intriguing. Here I created the tag “Accounting” and tagged two of my VMs with it…

…and now I can quickly and easily search for all objects with the “Accounting” tag in the vSphere Web Client…

It would be excellent if we could specify a tag when creating a backup job which would back up all VMs with that tag. For more details on tags, see the VMware vSphere 5.1 Documentation Center. If you agree this is a good idea or have a good idea of your own, please submit a feature request and let us know what you think.