5 1 0:Nutanix AHV Backup

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As of SEP sesam v. 5.0.0 Jaglion, SEP sesam provides efficient data protection for Nutanix Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV). The Nutanix AHV module is supported on SEP sesam Linux Server and on SEP sesam Windows Server, using a Linux Client as a data mover.

You can easily back up and restore Nutanix AHV VMs in the SEP sesam GUI. SEP sesam uses changed block tracking (CBT) mechanism to provide support for all backup levels (FULL, INCR, DIFF and COPY) and better backup performance. It also provides disk exclusions for backups. Currently, only one VM can be backed up with the same task.

Note that you can simplify the backup of multiple Nutanix VMs by automatically creating tasks for VMs that are connected to the same host; you can also automatically create clients for VMs to which the created tasks and ACLs can be assigned. It is recommended to use these features when a new hypervisor is added and many new VMs need to be backed up. For details, see Automating Backup Process.

Nutanix snapshot types

SEP sesam for Nutanix AHV supports both types of Nutanix snapshots: crash-consistent and application-consistent snapshots, which differ in consistency of the captured data. Which backup is performed depends on the Nutanix configuration.

Crash-consistent snapshots
If the source VM does not meet the Nutanix criteria for application-consistent snapshots, SEP sesam creates a crash-consistent backup that runs with a warning: A crash-consistent backup is performed because there are no guest tools installed on the virtual machine. For more details, see the Special arguments section below.
Application-consistent snapshot
If the source VM meets the Nutanix requirements for an application-consistent snapshot, such as an installed Nutanix Guest Tool, SEP sesam creates an application-consistent backup. For details on the requirements for application-consistent snapshots, see the official Nutanix documentation Conditions for Application-consistent Snapshots in the Prism Web Console Guide.


  • Check SEP sesam OS and Database Support Matrix for the list of supported Nutanix AHV versions.
  • Nutanix AHV license, see Licensing.
  • SEP sesam Linux Server v. 5.0.0 Jaglion or higher. Check Hardware requirements for SEP sesam Server and SEP sesam Client.
  • Installed SEP sesam Linux Client v. for data mover.
  • Depending on the transport mode used, you may need to install the open-iscsi administration utility (iscsiadm) on the SEP sesam Linux Client for data mover. This utility is only required for the iSCSI client connection (and not for HotAdd transport mode).
    For example, to install the utility on Debian, use the following command:
     apt-get install open-iscsi

    To install iscsi on RHEL, use:

     yum install iscsi-initiator-utils
    The iSCSI initiator on SLES 12 is installed by default (packages open-iscsi and yast2-iscsi-client). If you have to install it manually, see How To Configure iSCSI Initiator on SLES.
  • For the transport mode ISCSI, Nutanix must have an ISCSI Data Services IP Address assigned. This IP address must be be reachable by the data mover. For more information see Nutanix Support & Insights.
  • Single file restore (SFR) of backups from virtualization platforms requires the guestfs-tools package to be installed on Linux in order to access and mount VM disk image on Linux. If the package is not installed on your SEP sesam Server or Linux RDS, it is not possible to mount VMDK and perform SFR. Refer to Installing guestfs-tools on Linux.

SEP sesam data mover for Nutanix AHV

A SEP sesam data mover is required to perform a SEP sesam backup and restore in a Nutanix AHV environment. A data mover role for Nutanix AHV can be combined either with a SEP sesam Linux Server or Linux Client (for SEP sesam Windows Server), or in the case of using HotAdd transport mode, the data mover must be a SEP sesam Client installed on Nutanix. Each of them can serve as SEP sesam data mover to transfer (send or receive) data between SEP sesam Server and Nutanix AHV.

Note that your data mover must match the version of your SEP sesam Server. This means that you need to update the data mover to the same version as your SEP sesam Server every time you update the server.

To ensure efficient data protection and restorability of your data, configure your Nutanix data mover with a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). This step should be performed before adding your Nutanix AHV as a client to the SEP sesam environment.

To verify that your data mover is configured correctly, follow these steps:

  1. From the Main selection -> Components -> Clients, double-click your data mover for Nutanix.
  2. Check the Interfaces field: make sure that a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) is specified for your client. If the FQDN is not yet specified, enter it on a new line, e.g, dm_ntx_comp.de, and click OK to apply the changes.
  3. Ensure that the FQDN is resolvable by using sm_setup tool from the command line. For syntax details, see Using sm_setup check_resolution. The returned addresses and hostnames must match. If the reverse resolve returns a different name than the name specified on the command line, there will be problems with backing up the client.
  4. A regular path backup has to work. For details on typical backup configuration, see Standard Backup Procedure.

Transport modes

SEP sesam supports the following transport modes for backing up and restoring Nutanix AHV data:

  • By default, an iSCSI session is established to back up Nutanix virtual disks. For each virtual disk of a VM that is backed up, an iSCSI client connection is established from SEP sesam data mover to the Nutanix volume group.
    SEP sesam data mover reads disk data over the iSCSI connection during backup. During restore, data mover writes data to virtual disks over the iSCSI connection. When the backup/restore operation is complete, the iSCSI connection is closed.
  • HotAdd transport mode: If SAN is not available, HotAdd mode can achieve performance close to that of SAN mode. To use HotAdd mode, specify it in the Backup options/Restore options field ("-a trans=hotadd") as shown in the backup task procedure (step 4). There are special requirements for using the HotAdd mode:
    • A Linux VM (hotadd proxy VM) must be installed on the Nutanix cluster, and the hotadd proxy VM on Nutanix AHV that will serve as the data mover must have the SEP sesam Client installed.
    • The VM name of this proxy VM (data mover) must be a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). For more information, see the section above SEP sesam data mover for Nutanix AHV.
    The backed up virtual disks are attached to the proxy VM. SEP sesam Client that is installed on the proxy reads the disk data during backup and writes the data during restore. After the backup/restore process is complete, the attached disks are detached from the proxy VM. In case of restore, the disks are attached to the restored VM.
Watch a short demo on how to configure, backup and restore Nutanix AHV: Simple Backup and Restore of Nutanix AHV.

Adding Nutanix AHV as a client to SEP sesam environment

To protect your virtual machines, you must configure your Nutanix AHV as a SEP sesam Client.

  1. From Main Selection -> Components -> Clients, select the relevant location and click the New Client button. The New Client window opens.
  2. From the Platform drop-down list, select Linux. When you select the platform, the Linux operating system is automatically set.
  3. Select the Virtualization server check box, and then select Nutanix-AHV from the Virtualization server type drop-down list. Note that the access mode is automatically set to PROXY.

  4. Switch to the tab Nutanix-AHV Access and enter the root/admin credentials for Nutanix. From the Data Mover drop-down list, select the data mover. The VM name of the proxy VM (data mover: SEP sesam Linux Server or Linux client (for SEP sesam Windows Server) must be a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). For more information, see the above section SEP sesam data mover for Nutanix AHV.

  5. Click OK to add the new client.

Backing up Nutanix AHV VMs

Create a new backup task for the Nutanix AHV client that contains the virtual machines. Note that you can configure only one VM per backup task. For details on general backup configuration, see Standard Backup Procedure.

  1. From Main Selection -> Tasks -> By Clients, select the Nutanix AHV client and click New Backup Task. The New Backup Task window opens.
  2. Specify the Source. Click the Browse button (large arrow) and select the VM you want to back up. Note that you can only select one VM per backup task. Selecting the source automatically sets the Nutanix-AHV task type and task name.
  3. Optionally, in the Exclude list, select one or more virtual disks that you do not want to back up by using the large Browse button (next to the Source and Exclude fields) and selecting the source(s) to exclude. The excluded disks will be displayed in the Exclude field, e.g., -x scsi.1,sata.1,sata.2.

  4. Perform this step only if you want to change the transport mode to HotAdd: Switch to the Options tab and enter the following in the Backup options field to change the transport mode to HotAdd:
  5.  -a trans=hotadd

  6. If you want to specify other options, such as the pre/post backup and restore commands, encryption or compress data, etc., click the corresponding tabs in the New Backup Task window.
  7. Click OK to create the task.
  8. If you want to start the newly created task immediately, right-click the task name and click Immediate Start. If you want to schedule the task, click New schedule at Main Selection -> Scheduling -> Schedules. For more details, see Creating a Schedule.
  9. Tip
    You can also add your backup task to an existing schedule by double-clicking the backup task, selecting the tab Schedules, and adding it to one or more schedules.
  10. After you configure a schedule, you must create a new backup event for it. Go to Main Selection -> Scheduling -> New Backup Event, and configure the options as required. For a detailed procedure, see Creating a Backup Event.

Special arguments

If there is no Nutanix Guest Tool installed on the VM (see above section Nutanix snapshot types), the backup will run with a warning: A crash-consistent backup is performed because there are no guest tools installed on the virtual machine.

This is the default setting used in accordance with the Nutanix certification process, which requires that a backup of a VM with no guest tools installed (NGT) finishes with a warning, if the -a qui value is not set by the user (default: -a qui=1). You can set the following values:

-a qui=0 Switches off the warning (see next line) about a crash consistent backup if a VM has no guest tools installed.
-a qui=1 Default; a backup of a VM with no guest tools installed will end with a warning: A crash-consistent backup is performed because there are no guest tools installed on the virtual machine.
-a qui=2 If the VM has no guest tools installed, the backup fails with the error: There are no guest tools installed on the virtual machine and -a qui=2 is set. For VMs with this setting, only application-consistent backups are allowed.

Monitoring backups

You can view the status of your backup jobs in the GUI (Monitoring -> Last Backup State or Job State -> Backups) or SEP sesam Web UI. The backup status overview provides detailed information about the last run of backup jobs, including the task name, start and stop time of the last backup, backup level, data size, throughput, assigned media pool, etc.

See also

Standard Backup ProcedureAutomating Backup ProcessNutanix AHV Restore

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