Symantec Backup Exec 2010 – Removable Backup To Disk Folder

A nice feature of Symantec Backup Exec is it’s ability to backup directly to removable media, such as USB hard disk drives. This can be extremely handy if your primary backup device, such as as tape unit, develops a fault. To create a removable backup to disk folder and re-target your current backup job(s) perform the following:

1. Ensure you have connected your removable media and that it has been formatted and assigned an appropriate drive letter in your Windows operating system.

2. Open Backup Exec 2010 and click the “Devices” tab. In the devices sub window, right click your server name and then select “New Removable Backup-to-Disk Folder” from the available context menu.

Backup Exec 2010

3. Follow the Backup to Disk Wizard, and when prompted for a path to your backup to disk folder click “…” to browse and select your removable media drive from the resources window.

Backup Exec 2010

4. Complete the rest of the wizard, filling the the values as required. The maximum file size is generally set the size of the removable storage device, the maximum backup sets per file can be left at the default of 100, and the low disk space threshold can be left at it’s default also.

5. Once the creation of the backup to disk folder is completed, you will now notice a new device listed under the “Devices” tab in Backup Exec. If you did not name your device during the creation wizard you will see it listed as “Removable Backup-to-Disk Folder 1”. If you expand the device you will notice a folder will be visible (FLDR000001) denoted by the USB symbol. “Right click this folder and select associate with media set”. From here you can place the folder in the media set that your backup job is targeted at.

Backup Exec 2010

6. Now you have associated the removable backup to disk folder with your media set, it is recommended you re-target you backup job to point to the removable media device we have created. To do so click the “Monitor” tab in Backup Exec and double click your required backup job. When the backup job properties window opens, select “Device and Media” from the sub menu’s located on the left. Using the drop down menu available under the device section, select your removable media drive and click “Submit” to save your changes. This will now re-target your backup job to your removable media.

As a side note, if you are backing up a large volume of data expect your job completion time to exceed 12 hours. Typically you won’t receive a data rate higher than 300 megabytes a minute using a removable media device. More information on this process can be found at the following Symantec knowledge base article:

VMware – Thin Provisioning Woes

Recently I found myself in a situation where someone had deleted the contents of a SAN LUN that was used to host a proportion of virtual machines for a VMware vSphere infrastructure. Thankfully, there was a full backup of all virtual machines at my disposal. After restoring a virtual machine to an alternate location and then uploading it to the datastore, I experienced the following error when attempting to start the VM:

“Failed to open disk scsi0:0: Unsupported and/or invalid disk type 7. Did you forget to import the disk first?Unable to create virtual SCSI device for scsi0:0, ‘/vmfs/volumes/4a8075b3-4e4bf1b8-28e40017a48d6112/VMFolder/VirtualMachine.vmdk’ Module DevicePowerOn power on failed.”

After some research, it emerged that this issue was due to the fact all of the virtual machines were thin provisioned when created. When restoring a backed up virtual machine that has been created using a product such as Symantec Backup Exec 2010, a 2gbsparse disk is created that cannot be used with virtual machines hosted in ESX, which causes the error listed above. To resolve this issue we need to essentially convert the thin provisioned disk to a thick provisioned disk. This can be achieved by performing the following:

1. Log into the root of an ESX host using an SSH client

2. Change directory to the location of the restored virtual machine

3. Run the following command: vmkfstools –i “Thindisk.vmdk” -d zeroedthick “Thickdisk.vmdk” . Please note, replace thindisk with your restored vmdk file name, and replace thickdisk with the new name for the vmdk file.

4. The clone operation will now start and a percentage complete indicator will be displayed. Once this is finished the thick provisioning of the vmdk will be complete and you will now be able to start your virtual machine. Please note that you will need sufficient space on your LUN to allow for the thick provisioning.

For reference, here’s VMware’s slightly unclear article on the procedure:

Symantec Backup Exec 2010 – VMware Virtual Machine Issue

Since upgrading from version 12.5 of Symantec Backup Exec, my virtual machine backup job had consistently failed. As highlighted by a colleague of mine, Backup Exec 2010 no longer utilises VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) as it’s method of VM backup, but a new API called vStorage.

Due to this, the methodology of backing up virtual machines through vStorage is very different to that of VCB, and as such generated an error for each of my virtual machines during backup:


The virtual machine has a physical disk error (V-79-57344-38297), as shown in the above screenshot, was being reported for each virtual machine that has a Raw Device Mapping. In order to resolve this issue each Raw Device Mapping had to be changed from physical mode to virtual mode. The following actions were performed to achieve this:

1. Log into VMware vCenter as an administrative user.

2. Locate an affected virtual machine and safely power it down.

3. Right click on the virtual machine and select “Edit Settings”.

4. Locate the virtual hard disk drive that has been configured as a Raw Device Mapping.

5. Click remove and then when prompted select to delete the file. Please note this does not remove the data stored on your SAN LUN, this is simply a reference file used by the virtual machine itself.

6. Click OK, and wait for the Raw Device Mapping to be removed.

7. Right click on the virtual machine and select “Edit Settings”, select Add, and then select Hard Disk. Following the wizard, re-add your LUN or LUN’s and ensure that you set the compatibility mode to virtual and not physical.

8. Repeat for all affected virtual machines, and your all done!

For reference here’s VMware’s KB article on switching between RDM physical and virtual modes: