When you create a protection group, you choose a snapshot frequency, choose if you want to quiesce VMs before snapshotting, define group membership (VMs) using dynamic queries, set the snapshot schedule, and configure the snapshot retention policy.

When you save the protection group, it begins taking snapshots of group members according to its snapshot schedule, with each snapshot replicating to a cloud file system. The snapshots can then be used in DR Plans for recovery and test recovery operations.

When you create a new protection group, you can choose one of two snapshots frequencies:
Snapshot Feequency Description

Standard-frequency snapshots

Schedule recurring snapshots as frequent as every 4 hours.

Standard-frequency snapshots also allow you to choose the quiesce option, which quiesces the guest operating of the system of a VM before taking a snapshot. Quiescing pauses or alters the state of running processes on the VM to guarantee a consistent state of any applications running at the time a snapshot is taken.

The quiesce option is only available for standard-frequency snapshots, and only for powered on VMs with VMware Tools installed and running.

Linux VMs also need pre-thaw and post-freeze scripts installed. For an example script, see Enabling Quiesing for Linux VMs.

If you want to check if your VMs are compatible with snapshot quiescing, run a quiesce compatibility check.

High-frequency snapshots

Schedule recurring snapshots as frequent as every 30 minutes (supported for on-premises protected sites only). Requires that the on-premises protected site is running vSphere 7.0 Update 3 or the protected VMware Cloud SDDC is running version 1.16.

If you are not sure if the hosts on your protected site are compatible with high-frequency snapshots see, run a host compatibilty check.

If you have standard frequency snapshots and want to convert the protection group to high-frequency, open a standard freqncy snapshot and select the High-frequency snapshot option. Once a protection group is switched from standard frequency snapshots to a high-frequency snapshots, you cannot revert back.

A protection group only supports one snapshot type: standard-frequency OR high-frequency. You cannot mix snapshot frequency types in a protection group.
Note: Once a VM has a high-frequency snapshot, all subsequent snapshots for that VM will be high-frequency even, if the protection group is standard-frequency.

Procedure

  1. From the left navigation, select Protection groups.
  2. From the upper right click the Create protection group button.
  3. In the General page, enter a name for the protection group.
  4. Next, select a protected site and a vCenter instance you want to take snapshots from.
  5. After you select a protected site and vCenter, the protection group automatically checks the protected site for compatibility with the high-frequency snapshot feature. The compatibility check has three possible outcomes:
    • If the protected site vCenter and hosts are compatible, then the Use high-frequency snapshots option is selected and you can start defining protection group membership (step 6).
    • If the protected site vCenter and hosts are not compatible, then this protection group cannot take high-frequency snapshots. In this case, you can leave the Use high-frequency snapshot option deselected. Or, you can upgrade the vCenter Server and ESXi hosts on the protected site.
    • If the protected site you select is "mixed," it means some hosts are compatible with high-frequency snapshots and some are not. In this case, you can run a host compatibility check to find hosts and VMs that are not compatible.
  6. To use quiesced snapshots, deselect the High-frequency snapshots option and then select the Quiesce option. If you are not sure if your protected site VMs are compatible, you can run a quiesce compatibility check.
  7. Next, define the dynamic membership of the protection group using VM name patterns, tags and/or VM folders in a vCenter query. The protection groups will contain all VMs that match the queries.
  8. Under Group membership, click the VM name pattern, Tags, or Folder buttons.
  9. For a VM name pattern query, enter a VM name pattern that is evaluated before a snapshot is taken. You can also enter a name pattern in the query in the Excluding text box for exclusion. (If there is already one vCenter query, then from the Add vCenter query drop-down menu select VM name pattern.)
  10. For a folder query, click the Select folders button. In the vCenter folders dialog box, search the list of folders in your vCenter and click one to add it to the query. (If there is already one vCenter query, then use the Add vCenter query drop-down menu and select Folders.) Folder selection does not include sub folders, so if you want to include sub folders, you must select them specifically. (Note: Protection groups do not support folder based snapshots for VMs that are a part of vApp.)
  11. For a tag query, click the Tags button. In the vSphere tags dialog box, select the tags you want to use for defining the protection group membership. Any VMs that have the selected tags are included in the protection group snapshots. Click OK when you finish.
    Note: Protection groups queries based on vSphere tags are not supported on protected sites running vSphere 6.0. If your protected site is running vSphere 6.0, you cannot create a tag query.
  12. Click Preview VMs to view the VMs currently matching your vSphere queries.
  13. Click Next.
  14. To set the snapshot schedule, click New Schedule.
  15. On the Schedule page, create a snapshot schedule. A protection group can have a maximum of 10 schedules associated with it. The dialog box provides schedule text box for a specific time of day based on the following intervals, depending on whether or not the protection group is enabled for high-frequency snapshots:
    • Standard-freqeuncy snapshots allow you to set snapshots schedules every hour, 4, 6, 8, or 12 hours, daily, weekly, or monthly.
    • With high-frequency snapshots, you can set snapshots schedules every 30 minutes, every hour, 2, 4, 8, and 12 hours, as well as daily, weekly, or monthly.
    Note: Protection group snapshots can exhibit errors if your environment is running other VM backup software that runs at the same time as your VMware Cloud DR snapshot schedule. If a VM is currently being backed up by VMware Cloud DR by a protection group snapshot, and the same VM is also being backed up by other software that uses vSphere Storage APIs for Data Protection (VADP), the snapshot is still taken, but that VM is not included in the snapshot.
  16. Next, set the snapshot retention for this protection group. You can select any number and then select the duration (hours, days, weeks, months, years).
  17. When you have finished adding snapshot scheduled and retention, click Finish. When the protection group appears in the Protection groups list, you can add it to a DR Plan for testing and execution.