vCloud Director Backups: The VMs are the easy part!

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There is one thing that we all can agree on, vCloud Director is materially different from what we’ve done in vSphere by itself. With the rich capabilities of self-provisioning, virtual data centers, additional storage options and more; there is more than just getting a virtual machine stood up.

The vCloud Director constructs such as vApps, Fast Provisioning configuration, leases, security ownership and more are key areas that need protection. The underlying vSphere infrastructure is, in some regards, materially the same as it has been for years; as that is where a key set of APIs are available for data protection: the vSphere APIs for Data Protection or VADP. Aside from VADP, there are additional APIs and web services to interact with. The vCloud API is a new set of APIs that are clearly on top of the vSphere APIs; including VADP. The vCloud API provides interactions in the following categories:


  • Exploring a Cloud
  • Provisioning an Organization
  • Deploying and Operating vApps
  • Creating and Managing Organizations
  • Managing and Monitoring a Cloud


These align critically to the actions in the vCloud Director Web interface and what may have been done from a provider or an organization in the vCloud Director environment. So, with all of that being said; what do I need to know about backups?

With Veeam Backup & Replication v7 (disclosure: Rick Vanover works for Veeam and this is a guest blog post), there is now enhanced support for vCloud Director backup and restore capabilities. It’s also important to note that you can even backup vCloud Director VMs (including the vCloud metadata) with Veeam Backup Free Edition.

Now with Veeam Backup & Replication v7; vCloud Director VMs can be backed up with full awareness of the vCloud API constructs. Communication to vSphere for the VADP APIs is also performed with really the same effect as doing backups with Veeam as you may have done them before. The figure below shows the vCloud metadata being saved for a backup job that backs up every vApp (and VM) within an Organization VDC from one vCloud Director Cell:




That’s the critical step, backing up the VM’s configuration within the vCloud Director construct. The vCloud API doesn’t provide a loose equivalent of VADP; so to protect the VM the platform (vSphere) still provides VADP to back up the VM. In this example, the backup job backs up everything in two different vCloud Director Organizations; including any VMs or vApps that are added. That’s important in a world of self-provisioning. The figure below shows where VAPD kicks in to back up the VM:




Now that’s really the easy part, the backup of the VM. Sure, there is awareness to capture the vCloud Director information such as owner, lease, fast provisioning configuration, etc. But when it comes to restoring this backup; companies need options.

The restore options of Veeam Backup & Replication support restores to different vCloud Director Cells, different vApp networks, different Fast Provisioning configurations and more. Of course, the VMs (and vApps) can be restored right back to where they came from. The figure below shows the restore wizard:




All of this is put together with Veeam’s advanced vSphere processing engine that provides built-in compression and – of the backups, the ability to write backups to any storage and to off-site locations; including cloud targets.

What is your biggest challenge with backups of vCloud Director VMs? Share your challenges below and let’s discuss.


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BIO: Rick Vanover (vExpert, MCITP, VCP) is a product strategy specialist for Veeam Software based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick is a popular blogger, podcaster and active member of the virtualization community. Rick’s IT experience includes system administration and IT management; with virtualization being the central theme of his career recently. Follow Rick on Twitter @RickVanover or @Veeam.


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  1. Hey Rick,
    do you have any insight as to when Veeam will support replication into vCloud Director? There are good use cases for this for hybrid cloud customers.

  2. Hi John – We’ve not announced it and I don’t have any information on when / if we’d do such.

    • martinboel on 01/14/2014 at 7:45 am

    Hi Rick,
    Are there any plans from Veeam to offer a multitenant solution, so customers of a cloudprovider can make backups/restores themselves?

  3. Hi Martin – we have a technique now with the RESTful API and Web-based interface where tenants can restore their own files and VMs.

    It doesn’t apply to creating backups, however.

    • jgreenback on 02/14/2014 at 2:43 pm

    Great post!
    Do you know why there’s no way to backup an organizations catalog(s)/vApp Templates in Veeam 7 currently? Seems like that functionality would be a big part of vCloud backups.

  4. Good and fair question, @JGreenback

    I can tell you we are floating around a lot of ideas for vCD additional features, but I can’t announce any of them here.

    I’ll tell you however I’ve previously suggested some catalog integration, so take that for what it’s worth, I see the value!

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