To define dynamic group membership when configuring a protection group, you can use VM name patterns (for inclusion and exclusion).

These VM name patterns are used at the time of taking snapshots to determine protection group VM membership.

A VM name pattern is a string of characters. VMware Cloud DR uses glob syntax matching for VM name patterns. For example, the pattern windows[1-5 matches the set of virtual machines with names in the sequence of windows1..windows5. The search is case-insensitive.

Important: A protection group evaluates VM name patterns first, and then combines those results with folders queries before the protection group takes a snapshot. Keep in mind that if you use an exclusion name pattern in your vCenter query for a protection group, it is possible that other folder queries defined in protection group might override the previously excluded name pattern.
Note: If you want to create a VM name pattern to match VMs that are named using the following special characters, they must be escaped (prefixed with \ ) in the specified name pattern: ? , * . .

The following table provides a brief description of the special characters that you can use in a virtual machine name pattern.

Virtual Machine Name Patterns – Special Characters



A single asterisk matches any string of zero or more characters, excluding the slash character ( / ).

For example:


matches all virtual machines with names that start with the string windows.


A question mark matches any single character, excluding the slash character / .

For example, the pattern:


matches any virtual machine with a name that starts with the string linux followed by any single character.

[ ]

Square brackets enclose a set of characters.

The brackets specify a match of exactly one character out of the set. The character set can include one or more ranges of characters.

For example:


matches anything in the datastore root that begins with the string linux and ends with a single digit.

There are two types of virtual machine name patterns you can set in the protection group configuration:

  • Inclusion patterns. VMs to be selected. You must specify at least one inclusion pattern.
  • Exclusion patterns. VMs to be excluded from the results of inclusion pattern selection. An exclusion pattern begins with the exclamation character !.

The order of patterns in a pattern list does not matter. A pattern list uses a comma , as a delimiter.