Archive:Single Item Restore from VMware vSphere Backup

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This article is relevant for SEP sesam version 4.4.1/4.4.2 and describes how to restore a single item from a vSphere backup. Note that this is not the latest version of SEP sesam VMware documentation and, as such, does not provide information on features and procedure introduced in 4.4.3 and described in VMware Single File Restore.

SEP sesam provides two opportunities to restore a single item of a vSphere backup:

1. Attach VMDK to a virtual machine

2. Mount VMDK to a device server


  • This option is recommended by SEP!
  • Advantage: Single item restore for Windows and Linux is possible with one SEP sesam server/RDS.

Graphical scheme of single item restore with attach scenario:
SEP sesam instant-recovery and single-file-restore 04 attach 03.png


  • Advantage: Fewer steps to configure.
  • Disadvantage: Only possible with a Windows SEP sesam server/RDS

Graphical scheme of single item restore with mount scenario:
SEP sesam instant-recovery and single-file-restore 03 mount 03.png


In order to use single file restore with SEP sesam, please read the prerequisites carefully.

General requirements

  • SEP sesam server version 4.4
  • Backup must be done to SEP sesam Datastore (not to an Si3 Datastore)
    • SEP sesam Datastore via UNC path is not supported. Volume must be visible as local attached storage (not as a network drive letter). Only iSCSI, SAN and local connected drives can be used as local attached storage.
  • Backup must be split into several savesets (see below at Configure task)
  • Backup must not be encrypted or compressed
  • Backup must not exist on migrated medium only. Just the original backup on SEP sesam Datastore can be used
  • Encrypted file systems within the virtual machine can only be read if the system (proxy VM), which mounts or attaches the virtual disk, is able to decrypt the data.

Requirements to attach a VMDK to virtual machine

  • The system that stores the VMDK files into the SEP sesam Datastore (this can be SEP sesam server or SEP sesam RDS) must offer NFS (network file system) services
    • In the event NFS service is on Windows, SEP recommends using Windows 2012(R2)
  • At least one virtual host of VMware vCenter needs to be added as a SEP sesam client with SEP sesam version 4.4 to attach VMDKs
    • When using virtual Linux and Windows hosts, it is recommended to add one virtual Linux and one virtual Windows host due to file system compatibility
  • Only 64 bit platforms are supported

Requirements to mount a VMDK to device server

  • VDDK 5.5.x must be installed on the system that stores the VMDK files into the SEP sesam Datastore (this can be a SEP sesam server or a SEP sesam RDS)
    • This system needs to be able to read all types of file systems.
    • When using a Linux data mover to mount the VMDK, it must be able to read Linux and Windows systems. However, it is not recommended/supported to mount Windows VMDKs with Linux data mover because of possible ACL problems.
    • When using a Windows data mover to mount the VMDK, a second data mover configured as SEP sesam RDS with VDDK 5.5.x on Linux must be configured. Virtual Windows hosts must be stored on Windows RDS and Linux virtual hosts must be stored on Linux RDS.

Supported file systems

  • SEP sesam supports all file systems, as long as it is supported by the operating system. For example, a restore of files on a Windows ReFS is only possible if the system that attaches a disk is able to read this file system. Furthermore, if the file system on an OES Linux is NSS, the system that attached the disk must be able to read the NSS file structure.

Recommendations for Windows proxy

  • Use a separate, non-production Windows VM
  • Use Windows 2012(R2) as the operating system (this recommended due to better handling of NFS functionality, file system support)

Recommendations for Linux proxy

  • Use a separate, non-production Linux VM

OES Linux proxy VM (for restore from NSS file systems)

  • VM with OES11 SP2 or higher
    • OES pattern to install: NSS (all other dependencies will be selected automatically)
    • NetIQ eDirectory (installation in existing tree or new tree is possible; a separate tree is recommended)
    • Static IP address (required by NetIQ eDirectory)
    • Only minimal system is required, X server is not required
    • Size of file system only for SLES11 SP3 + OES11 SP2 (or higher versions)
    • Current SEP sesam client for SLES11

Recommendations for OES Linux

  • Use a separate, non-production OES VM
  • Install the NetIQ eDirectory as a separate tree
  • Do not add NSS pools and volumes to the OES server -> we activate all non-active pools and deactivate the pools after restore
  • Do not change the mounted NSS file systems -> THIS IS YOUR BACKUP

Configure task

The task must be configured to split the backup into separate savesets, described below:

VSphere SF separate savesets 4.4 en.jpg

The check box VM Single File and Instant Recovery option must be checked to use single file restore.

Restriction with check box

If this check box is selected, backups of this task in mode FULL will be done in mode COPY automatically, which means no CBT (change block tracking) will be used for this task in COPY or FULL backup mode. Backup modes INC and DIFF can use CBT for this task. If COPY and FULL backups are requested, two tasks have to be configured. One task with the check box selected and one task without.
NOTE: VMs backed up with mode COPY are stored with the configured size of the disks despite of the used disk space!

Attach VMDK to VM

Configure a client to attach VMDK to virtual machine

In order to attach a VMDK file to a virtual host, SEP sesam needs to know where to attach the VMDK file(s). At least one virtual host must be added as a SEP sesam client and this system must be assigned to the virtual host.

VSphere SF assign client VM en.jpg

First the check box "Client is a virtual machine" must be selected. Then a vCenter can be chosen at "VM Host" and the virtual machine can be chosen at "VM Name."

Prepare the NFS share

SEP sesam automatically creates a VMware Datastore to attach the VMDK file(s) to a virtual host. On Windows 2012, SEP sesam creates the required NFS share automatically. On Windows 2008(R2), the NFS share needs to be added manually. Add a new NFS share via the Windows Server Manager. The name of the NFS share needs to be equal to the name of the SEP sesam Datastore where the VMDK files are stored. In addition, the path of the NFS share needs to be equal to the path of the SEP sesam Datastore.

VSphere SF Datastore en.jpg

The name of the NFS share in the screen shot above must be "NFS-Store1" and the path must be set to "E:\nfs." Also, the "No server authentication" option with sub option "Enable unmapped user access" and radio button "Allow unmapped user access by UID/GID" must be set as authentication for the NFS share. The share permission must be set to "Read/Write" and Root Access must be allowed. The share permissions can be set for all machines or just for the vCenter server. On Windows 2012, adding this share should be done automatically by SEP sesam. If the NFS share is not added automatically, adding it manually (described below) should solve the problem.

NFS server on SEP sesam server or SEP sesam RDS on Windows 2008(R2)
  • This example references to the SEP sesam DataStore example given above
  • Log into the system that is used to store VMware backups (either SEP sesam server or SEP sesam RDS)
  • Run "sm_installnfs.ps1" as administrator via Powershell at <sesam-root>\bin\sesam to install NFS server role. Powershell Version 2 is necessary to install NFS role automatically.
  • On Windows 2008(R2), open the Windows Server Manager and select "Roles," "File Services" and then "Share and Storage Management" (see screen shot below)

NFS Server share.jpg

  • Click "Provision Share" to create a new NFS share step by step
  1. "Shared Folder Location": Use browse button to select share location. This is the path where SEP sesam DataStore is located.
  2. "NTFS Permissions": Use predefined NTFS permissions
  3. "Share Protocols": Select NFS and set share to the name of the SEP sesam DataStore.
  4. "NFS Authentication": Use predefined settings -> next
  5. "NFS Permissions": Set Access to Read/Write and allow Root-Access -> next
  6. "Review Settings and Create Share": Leave as it is -> next
  7. "Confirmation": Close Window
NFS server on SEP sesam server or SEP sesam RDS on Linux
  • NFS server must be installed and NFS service must run
  • Exports will be created dynamically during restore by SEP sesam


  • Exports can be created manually by editing /etc/exports file too. Exported path has to match location of SEP sesam DataStore or any of its parent directories on same file system
  • All ESX servers must be allowed to mount the directory
  • Read/Write permission should be set

Restore Procedure with Attach of VMDK to VM

First, the specified backup that is requested to be used for single restore must be chosen. The check box "Attach virtual disk(s) (VMDK) to a Proxy-VM via NFS server" must be selected for this step.

VSphere SF attach mount 4.4 en.jpg

In the next step, all options, except for "NFS interface," must be filled with content to continue. The option "NFS interface" is only necessary if the host that attaches the disk(s) in next step uses multiple network cards.

VSphere SF select vm 4.4 en.jpg

The column "vSphere server" describes the vCenter where the virtual host (column "vSphere internal name of proxy VM") is running, which is assigned as client SEP sesam client (column "Sesam client name of the proxy VM").

After this step, only the drives of the chosen VMDK(s) are shown in the next tab. It can take about 20 seconds to show the list. SEP sesam automatically enables the automount function of Windows on host, which attaches the VMDK(s). The automount function of Windows assigns a drive letter to a new disk drive without interaction of a user. Additionally, SEP sesam sets all connected drives on this particular host to Online.

VSphere SF list drives en.jpg

If no drives are shown, either an invalid partition was chosen (for example, if a Windows host tries to attach Linux partitions) or the drives did not start in expected time. In this case, the refresh button on right of the window may help. This will show all drives, local drives and the attached drives.

In last step of the restore wizard, only the client and the destination must to chosen.

VSphere SF restore options en.jpg

Then the restore can be started.

Mount VMDK to Device Server

This method will mount the VMDK file(s) on the local system that is used as the VMware data mover and SEP sesam RDS with Datastore. The VDDK is able to mount a VMDK and represent it as a local drive. This function is used when mount is chosen instead of attach. The check box "Mount virtual disk(s) via VMware API" must be selected for this step.

VSphere SF attach mount 4.4 en.jpg

The next step of the restore wizard shows only the mounted VMDK drives, no local drives. Choosing the files and adjusting the place to restore the files is exactly the same as the to last two steps of the attach function described above.

Restore files from NSS file system

  • Files from a native NetWare VM can be restored only to an OES Linux or native Linux target

Restore of trustees

  • Before backup, activate on the backup source OES servers the extended attributes on NSS (see Novell OES documentation for NSS)
  • The restored files will keep the original trustees (regardless of the tree of the Proxy OES VM you used for restore)
  • This works if you restore to a server in the original tree and on an NSS filesystem
  • Trustees from native NetWare VMs cannot be restored because native NetWare has no extended attributes to store the trustees in the file system

Known Restrictions

  • Restore of files from the DOS boot partition of a native NetWare server is not possible
  • The attach scenario does not work with a virtual SEP sesam server or with a virtual SEP sesam RDS to itself. Example: A virtual SEP sesam server stores the virtual disk(s) on the SEP sesam DataStore. Attach scenario is not possible with this virtual SEP sesam server, but with each other virtual machine.

Known Issues

  • If a VMware backup is stored on a SEP sesam server or RDS on Linux, SEP recommends to use the attach option instead of Mount due to issues with the guestmount command.



The Mount Option of VMDK file does not show any partition information on Windows proxy

  • No drive letter is shown with the mount option


  • Either sbc_vmware_mount service is not able to start or sbc_vmware_mount is not able to mount specific VMDK file.


  • If the sbc_vmware_mount service does not start
    • Service can be started manually by typing the command "sbc_vmware_mount -S localhost -D" as administrator at <sesam-root>\bin\sesam of Windows proxy. The service must start successfully. After starting the service manually, it can be stopped by typing the command "sbc_vmware_mount -S localhost -K."

  • If the sbc_vmware_mount is not able to mount VMDK file
    • A specific VMDK file can be mounted manually via sbc_vmware_mount on Windows proxy. The command has to be executed as administrator at <sesam-root>\bin\sesam of Windows proxy. This command will mount the partitions directly and if something goes wrong, it will show an error. The syntax of the command is "sbc_vwmare_mount -S localhost <absolute path to meta.vmdk file>."

sbc_vmware_mount.exe -S localhost F:\Qsbox1Store\REMOTE-DS\REMOTE-DS00001\VC20140627160340311_kSW1e_y0XLQ.meta.vmdk