VMware Data Recovery 1.2 Linux file level restore client

Latest VMware Data Recovery release 1.2 brought file level restore capability (aka FLR) for Linux VMs. Windows FLR client has been officially supported since 1.1, see my previous blog post about it. I did a quick review of using Linux FLR on CentOS Linux.

VMware Data Recovery 1.2 documentation says that Linux FLR client can be used in following Linux distributions, including both 32-bit and 64-bit versions

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.4/CentOS 5.4
  • Red Hat 4.8/CentOS 4.8
  • Ubuntu 8.04
  • Ubuntu 8.10
  • Ubuntu 9.04

I have successfully tested it on 64-bit CentOS 5.5, and because so many versions of Ubuntu are listed I’d guess that FLR client works on any recent Debian releases also, just make sure it has support for FUSE 2.5 or later. If you have custom kernel make sure you have all FUSE dependencies compiled in. Note that even though your Linux distribution may be 64-bit version, 32-bit version of FUSE is required. Note the absence of any SuSE or Novell SLES distrubtions from tested and supported list, not that FLR client won’t work on them though, I am sure it will.

Before you begin you should know that FLR client needs to access VDR appliance TCP port 22024, if your VM and VDR appliance are in different networks make sure that any possible firewalls between them allow this. You also need root privileges on Linux VM to be able to execute FLR client.

To install Linux FLR  client you need to mount VMware Data Recovery appliance ISO to your Linux VM, then cd to LinuxFLR directory on that ISO and untar VMwareRestoreClient.tgz in to a directory you want to install it in, I decided to install FLR client in /opt/vdr.

Like previously brought up Linux FLR client uses Linux FUSE API for accessing the restore point, for FUSE to work on CentOS Linux you need to have “fuse” and “fuse-libs” packages installed.

On CentOS Linux with access to yum repository, required FUSE packages are installed as simply as

# yum -y install fuse fuse-libs

Linux FLR client does not come along with SELinux so you need to either disable it or configure it in a way so it will allow FLR client to function. Disabling SELinux will have impact on Linux VM security and may violate your company security policy so you have to fully understand what you are doing if you chose to disable it, because of this I am not showing you an example how to disable SELinux.

Make sure that you have at least one restore point available (one backup made),  then execute FLR client as root with “/path/to/VdrFileRestore -a ip-or-name-of-vdr-appliance“, note capital V on FLR executable.

VdrFileRestore will show you all available restore points, and query which restore point you wish to access

Type in restore point index and press enter

Once restore point is mounted you need to open second session to this Linux host for accessing backup file set. After logged in you can see that there is now new file systems mounted to your system, restore point is mounted under root-user home directory into directory matching backup date and timestamps.

Because restore point is mounted to root-user home directory no-one without root privileges cannot access backup file set, which is a good security measure.

For a system with multiple file systems you should see “Mount1, Mount2, Mount3 ..” etc directories for each mount point. This example system is a CentOS default install with /boot and / file systems, /boot is mounted to Mount1, / is mounted to Mount2. CD to mount directory which matches the file system you need to restore files from

Copy files you wish to restore with normal Linux commands and at the end remember to change directory out of backup file set directory. Note that even though backup file set is mounted with read/write access any file changes or deletes from it will not change or remove files from actual VDR backup storage, file changes are simply visible in run-time restore point mount.

After you have copied all files you need, and changed working directory out of backup file set, you may bring up VdrFileRestore session window and close restore point with “unmount” command

That is simply how you can restore invidual files from VDR backup store.

You can embed FLR client into Linux templates but you should always use matching versions of FLR client and VDR appliance.