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One of the most popular feature requests for vSphere Data Protection (VDP) 5.1 and vSphere Data Protection Advanced (VDP Advanced) 5.1 was the ability to restore a virtual machine (VM) directly to a vSphere host when vCenter Server and/or vSphere Web Client were offline. VDP 5.5 was announced at VMworld in San Francisco and, as you may already know, this feature was introduced. It is called Emergency Restore. VDP Advanced 5.5 was recently announced at VMworld in Barcelona. VDP Advanced 5.5 is not available for download yet, but as you would expect, Emergency Restore will be a feature of VDP Advanced 5.5. This article takes a closer look at Emergency Restore and discusses a few use cases.

Emergency Restore is accessed by logging into the VDP Configure user interface (UI) with a supported web browser.

The Emergency Restore tab shows the virtual machines (VMs) available for restore. Clicking the small arrow next to a VM expands the list of available restore points (date and time) for that VM. To initiate a restore, select a restore point and click the Restore button. The progress of the restore job can be monitored on the Emergency Restore tab.

It is important to understand the requirements and limitations around using Emergency Restore:

  • DNS must be available and configured properly for the VDP appliance and the vSphere host on which the VDP appliance is running.
  • Emergency Restore can only restore a VM to the vSphere host on which the VDP appliance is running.
  • A restored VM is placed in the root of the vSphere host inventory.
  • VM is restored as a new VM – ensure that the name provided for the VM is not already in use on the vSphere host to avoid overwriting an existing VM.
  • Restored VM will be in a powered off state – the VM can be manually powered on after the restore is complete.
  • The vSphere host running the VDP appliance must be disassociated from vCenter Server for Emergency Restore to work. This can be accomplished by using the vSphere Client (not vSphere Web Client) connected directly to the vSphere host. “Disassociate host from vCenter Server…” is located in Host Management on the Summary tab (when the host is selected in the left window panel of the vSphere Client). This must be done prior to performing the Emergency Restore.

It is no secret that VDP and VDP Advanced utilize EMC Avamar technology. A significant amount of development work on VDP and VDP Advanced is done by EMC engineers. A couple of the QA engineers at EMC have written an excellent document that covers Emergency Restore in greater detail. This paper also discusses best practices for properly protecting and restoring vCenter Server and a Microsoft Windows Server 2012 AD domain controller with VDP 5.5 and VDP Advanced 5.5. Some of the information in this article was taken from this document which can be viewed here:

VDP Emergency Restore

Thank you to Mohammed Samad and Vemuri Krishna for creating and making this document available!

@jhuntervmware