Use protection groups to create recurring VM snapshots and replicate them to a cloud file system, so they can later be used for disaster and ransomware recovery.

After snapshots replicate to a cloud file system, you can use those snapshots in recovery plans for disaster and ransomware recovery. When you configure a recovery plan, you can select protection groups that have scheduled replication to a cloud file system, and when you start a plan you can select snapshots for recovery.

Snapshot Frequency

VMware Cloud DR provides two types of snapshots for protection groups, based on snapshot frequency:
Snapshot Frequency Description

Standard-frequency snapshots

Schedule recurring snapshots as frequent as every 4 hours.

Standard-frequency snapshots also allow you to select the quiesce option. This option 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.

To know 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, which 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.

To convert standard-frequency snapshots to high-frequency snapshots, open a standard freqncy snapshot and select the High-frequency snapshot option. Once you switch a protection group from standard frequency snapshots to high-frequency snapshots, you cannot revert back.

App-consistent Snapshots with Quiescing

For VMs with VMware Tools installed, you can create protection groups that take quiesced snapshots. 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. So when you restore the VM, you recover applications to the state they were in at the time the snapshot was taken.
Note: High-frequency snapshots do not support quiesing.
Requirements for quiescing:
  • VM is powered on.
  • VMware Tools installed and running. VMware Tools requires Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) or protection groups cannot take quiesced snapshots.
  • Linux VMs only: Pre-freeze and post-thaw scripts installed on the VM. VMware Tools must be version 10.2 or later.

Dynamic Group Membership

A protection group query dynamically defines the protection group membership at the time a snapshot is taken. Protection groups provide three types of queries: 

  • VM name pattern. A VM name pattern is a string of characters that matches the names of VMs in your vSphere inventory, either for inclusion or exclusion in the protection group snapshot. Any VMs that match the pattern specified become included (or explicitly excluded from) the protection group for snapshots.
  • Folders. You can add VM folders that are present in your vSphere inventory to a protection group, so that all VMs in those folders are included in snapshots. Folder selection does not include sub folders. To include sub folders, select them manually.
    Note: Protection groups do not support folder-based snapshots for VMs that are a part of vApp.
  • vSphere tags. Use tags to define protection group membership. Any VMs that match the tags you specify are included in the protection group snapshot. You can select any tags defined in vSphere on the protected site. For successful failover operations, ensure that the selected tags also exist on the target Recovery SDDC vCenter, or the compliance check display warnings, and the failback operation fails.
    Note: Creating, deleting, and assigning vSphere tags on VMs are not immediately visible to protection groups. For example, if you create a tag and associate it with 10 VMs, a protection group might not immediately show the VMs associated with this tag. Typically, it can take up to 15 minutes for vSphere tags to appear in protection groups, but usually is much faster.
    Note: Protection groups do not support queries based on vSphere tags on protected sites running vSphere 6.0. If your protected site is running vSphere 6.0, you cannot create a tag query.

Before a protection group takes a snapshot, VMs that match any name patterns evaluate first, and then combine with any defined folder or tag queries.

If you use an exclusion name pattern in your query, it is possible that other Folder or tag queries defined in protection group might override the previously excluded name pattern. For example, if one of your queries excludes a VM by name, if that same VM lives inside a folder you have selected in a Folders query, that VM is included in the snapshot.

To verify the snapshot before a scheduled job, take a manual snapshot.

Note: To create a VM name pattern to match VMs that have name using the following specical characters, they must be escaped (prefixed with \ ) in the specified name pattern: ? , * .

Snapshot Retention

A protection group snapshot retention policy defines how long snapshots remain on the cloud file system. You can set retention for any duration of hours, days, weeks, months, or years.
Note: A 60 day retention schedule might result in higher storage capacity consumption, which is charged as described on the VMware Cloud DR pricing page.