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VMware : [FAQ] Frequently Asked Questions

Post by Gostev » Nov 16, 2011 12:32 pm

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General FAQ
This topic below covers general information about the product, and core features which are not hypervisor-specific.
READ THIS FIRST : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Microsoft Hyper-V FAQ
The following FAQ covers Microsoft Hyper-V specific questions.
Hyper-V : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (pending content collection)

VMware vSphere FAQ
This topic covers VMware vSphere specific questions.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 23, 2011 3:29 pm


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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 23, 2011 3:37 pm

System Requirements

For complete list of the system requirements and supported configurations for all product components and protected VMs, please refer to the System Requirements section of the Release Notes document that comes with your download, and available on product page under Resources tab.

VMware Versions

Q: Is vSphere 5.5 fully supported?
A: Yes, starting version 7.0 R2

Q: What are the earliest VMware version supported?
A: ESX(i) 3.5 and vCenter Server 2.5.

Q: Is vCenter Server presence required?
A: No, standalone ESX(i) hosts are also supported.

Q: Is ESXi fully supported?
A: Yes, licensed (paid-for) ESXi is fully supported.

VMware Licensing

Q: Is free ESXi (also known as vSphere Hypervisor) supported?
A: Free ESXi is not supported, because it has vStorage API for Data Protection and other management APIs locked down specifically to prevent ISVs from being able to backup/manage such hosts.

Q: What is the minimum VMware licensing required?
A: vSphere Essentials.

VMware Infrastructure

Q: Is processing of VMware vCloud Director provisioned virtual machines supported?
A: Yes.

Q: Is DVS (distributed virtual switch) supported?
A: Yes.

Q: What are the minimum privileges for the service account?
A: Please refer to the following topic: vCenter Server Granular Permissions

Veeam Backup Server

Q: Is running a Veeam B&R components in a VM supported?
A: Yes, we fully support this, moreover we provide “Virtual Appliance” processing mode that is specifically optimized for virtual backup proxy.

Q: How typical is it to run Veeam in a VM among existing customers?
A: This is typical for non-24/7, or low consolidation ratio environments, which have host resources mostly unused during the night. 24/7 shops with high consolidation ratio prefer using physical servers and direct-from-SAN backups to completely offload backup processing activities from production hosts.

Q: Where can the best performance be gained? With Veeam Backup installed as a physical or virtual server?
A: About same. Performance mostly depends on actual Veeam Backup server performance (number of CPU cores, and memory throughput). Veeam Backup running in VM on modern ESX host hardware is often faster than one running on older physical server.

Q: If the Veeam Backup server is running as a virtual machine, is there a 2TB limit backup target for each backup server?
A: No, there is no such limit in the product. Limit solely depends on your chosen backup target.

Storage

Q: Does the product support backup directly from FC and iSCSI SAN?
A: Yes, via direct storage access.

Q: Does the product support restore directly to FC and iSCSI SAN?
A: Yes, via virtual disk hot add (data goes to the storage through the host's storage I/O stack).

Q: Any plans to support direct storage access for restores to FC and iSCSI SAN?
A: There are severe performance issues using vStorage API for Data Protection to restore thin virtual disks, making such restore approach unreasonable. Hot add restores do not suffer from this issue.

Networking

Q: Are there any TCP/IP ports required to communicate between the Veeam B&R components to the VMs in order to successfully back up the VM?
A: No.

Q: Do you encrypt network traffic?
A: You can optionally encrypt all network traffic between hosts and backup proxy.

Virtual Machines

Q: Is v5 compatible with Windows 2000 Server, and 2000 Pro guests, Linux servers?
A: Yes, we support any OS supported by VMware.

Q: What types of virtual disks are supported for VM?
A: All disks except RDM in physical mode, and disks mounted via in-guest iSCSI initiator. Such disks are skipped during the backup. Additionally, independent disk are skipped, because they are excluded from VMware snapshot.

Q: Is VMware snapshot a requirement?
A: Yes, this is a requirement of vStorage API for Data Protection. This in turn means that Veeam B&R cannot protect VMs for which VMware snapshot cannot be created (for examples, VMware does not support snapshots of VMs with disks engaged in SCSI bus sharing).

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 24, 2011 12:34 pm

Upgrade from v6

Q: Do I have to use multiple proxies and repositories distributed across different servers?
A: No, you can have "all in one" deployment only configuring one local proxy and one local repository. In fact, the setup will create default local backup proxy and repository automatically for you. This deployment architecture is sufficient for environments with just a handful of VMs to protect.

Q: Do I need to perform clean install and re-create all jobs, or can v6 upgrade my existing Veeam Backup install?
A: We support in-place upgrade from any 6.x version. If you are running older versions, please contact our support for assistance with performing an upgrade.

Q: Can v6 and v7 be installed on the same server?
A: No. You can, however, run v6 and v7 in parallel on different servers while processing the same VMs without any issues (as long as jobs do not overlap). This is the approach most of our customers choose for POC testing of new versions before upgrading their production deployment.

Q: Can Enterprise Manager v7 collect data from Veeam Backup & Replication 6.x servers?
A: Yes. Enteprise Manager v7 can collect data from both 6.x and v7 backup servers.

Q: Can I restore backup made with v6 using v7? Can all new functionality be used with backups made by v6?
A: Yes. v7 can restore backups made with any version of Veeam Backup & Replication starting from v1.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 24, 2011 2:50 pm 1 person likes this post

Technology

VM Data Access Overview

Q: Does v6 use vStorage API for Data Protection to read and write VM data?
A: Yes. Veeam was the first 3rd party vendor to leverage vStorage API starting from version 4.0 released in October 2009.

Q: Does vStorage API support ESX(i) 3.x?
A: Currently used version of vStorage API for Data Protection supports ESX(i) 3.5x and later hosts.

Q: Does v6 still support VCB (VMware Consolidated Backup)?
A: No, support for VCB has been discontinued.

Q: Does v6 still support legacy service console agent based backup mode?
A: No, support for this backup mode has been discontinued in light of ESXi becoming the only hypervisor going forward.

Q: Does v6 still support legacy service console agentless mode?
A: No, support for this backup mode has been discontinued, because vStorage API network processing mode (NBD) works identically, and even provides optional traffic encryption.

Changed Block Tracking (CBT)

Q: Will the changed block tracking "break" if I backup and replicate the same VM? Or, if I backup the same VM with different jobs, or from different backup servers, or with different backup products?
A: There will be no issues, as changed block tracking is designed to handle such usage scenarios.

Q: Does changed block tracking work with ESX(i) 3.x hosts?
A: No, this functionality requires ESX(i) 4 or later host, and hardware version 7 or later virtual machines. Until you upgrade to ESX(i) 4 and version 7, you can continue using legacy, Veeam's proprietary changed block tracking mechanism for incremental backup and replication. However, fast incremental backup and replication do require changed block tracking.

Q: Does changed block tracking work with NFS?
A: Yes, changed block tracking supports all types of storage - except RDM disk in physical mode.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 24, 2011 3:21 pm

Direct Storage Access Mode

Q: How does it work?
A: Backup proxy server retrieves protected VM's virtual disks directly from production storage over SAN fabric, thus providing LAN-free data retrieval mechanism that does not affect production ESX(i) hosts or management network.

Q: How to configure the new backup proxy server for direct strorage access?
A: Disable automount (done automatically when backup proxy server components are installed), install and configure SAN HBA card (or iSCSI Software Initiator), give the backup proxy server machine access and read permission on VMFS LUNs (if applicable to your SAN), and ensure that you are seeing your VMFS volumes in the Windows Disk Management snap-in. Refer to the following thread for more information specific to certain SAN makes and models: Configuring new VEEAM Backup Server for SAN.

Q: I added new LUNs and can see them in the Windows Disk Management snap-in, but the backup proxy cannot seem to "see" them?
A: Right-click the Backup Infrastructure node in the management tree, and choose the Rescan Storage command to force the storage detection on all backup proxy servers. This operation also happens automatically once every 24 hours.

Q: I have FC SAN and running Veeam Backup in a VM. Can I use direct SAN access mode via NPIV?
A: No. VMware supports NPIV for RDM disks in physical mode only. Veeam Backup does not support backing up pRDM disks, because VMware does not support snapshotting such disks. You can, however leverage NPIV to mount LUN to VM as pRDM disk, format it with NTFS and use as target for your backups, thus making you backups completely LAN-free. This makes it perfect backup target!

Q: I have iSCSI SAN and running Veeam Backup in a VM. Can I use direct SAN access mode?
A: Yes, you need to configuring direct SAN access using Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator bundled with Windows. Our customers report best results with Windows 2008 R2. If your Veeam Backup is installed on Windows 2003, be sure to review the corresponding known issue in the Release Notes document that comes with your download, and also available on product page under Resources tab.

Q: I have never configured Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator, settings seem too complex.
A: See the following step-by-step guide: The Mission Manual Part 1: Veeam B & R Direct SAN Backups (courtesy of Justin Paul)

Q: Any tips on improving iSCSI network throughput on Windows 2008?
A: See the following guide: Improving direct-from-SAN backup speed with iSCSI SAN (courtesy of our iSCSI guru joergr). If this does not help, you may want to try some other settings mentioned in this discussion Poor vStorage iSCSI SAN speed after Windows 2008 Upgrade. I don't recommend making these changes unless you actually have performance issue.

Q: Any tips on tuning of Software iSCSI initiator built into Windows?
A: Based on my experiments, the currently shipping version works great out of box. Be sure that the backup proxy server is not starving on CPU (I found that Software iSCSI Initiator is quite hungry on CPU resources). Also, I believe that having good Intel NIC that supports TCP offload does help a lot. For example, in my lab I did not have to do anything to "stock" Windows 7 SP1 to get max possible read throughtput from low-end Drobo iSCSI SAN in direct SAN access mode (75 MB/s with standard MTU, and 90 MB/s with jumbo frames enabled - which is as fast as this SAN model gets, as Drobo had confirmed).

Q: Can I use Direct Storage Access mode with NFS storage?
A: Yes. While natively VDDK SAN mode supports only block storage (FC and iSCSI), starting v9 Veeam provides proprietary NFS client for direct access to NFS storage.

Q: What is the expected backup performance for VDDK SAN mode?
A: Depending on configuration (physical or virtual proxy, hardware HBA or software iSCSI initiator), full backup performance reported by users is at least 45MB/s for iSCSI SAN (dedicated 1Gb Ethernet), and at least 75MB/s for FC SAN (4Gb Fibre Channel) for a single job. Lower performance is most oftenly caused by underpowered backup proxy server (check CPU load while backup is running), issues with multipathing software, or backup target performance.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 24, 2011 3:29 pm

Virtual Appliance Mode (Hot Add)

Q: How does it work?
A: Backup proxy server uses SCSI Hot Add capability of VMware to attach disks of backed up VM directly to itself, and thus get direct access to data stored inside. As a result, data is retrieved directly from storage via ESX(i) storage stack (bypassing network stack), which allows for significantly better performance. Coupled with new, rewritten iSCSI initiator in ESX(i) 4.0 (I have tested and confirmed significant improvements personally), this allows to dish out very decent numbers.

Q: How do I configure a backup proxy VM for Virtual Appliance mode? What host should I run the VM on?
A: No special configuration is needed for VM, however we recommended that you add additional virtual SCSI controller to the VM (edit its virtual hardware settings). The host running backup proxy server VM must have all datastores where protected VMs' disks reside connected to it, otherwise hot add will not be possible.

Q: What is the expected backup performance for Virtual Appliance mode?
A: Depends primarily on production storage performance and connection. For 1Gb iSCSI SAN, the performance should be similar to one that would be achieved from direct SAN access mode. For 10Gb iSCSI SAN, or FC4/8 SAN, you would typically get better performance with the direct SAN access mode.

Q: Can I use Virtual Appliance mode with local storage?
A: Yes. Any storage is supported, as long as it is connected to the ESX host running Veeam Backup VM. Which in turn mean means that if you only have local storage, you have to dedicate at least one VM on each host to be your hot add backup proxy (you can use your existing VMs for this).

Q: Can I use Virtual Appliance mode with NFS storage?
A: Yes. In fact, it is the single best mode to use if your production storage is NFS. Customers report up to 3x better full backup performance comparing to the network mode. And v6 further improves the performance, thanks to source data retrieval optimizations.

Q: Virtual Appliance mode fails to process some of my VMs and fails over to network mode, any idea why?
A: Click here for the complete list of current vStorage API limitation around Virtual Appliance.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 24, 2011 3:56 pm 1 person likes this post

Network Mode

Q: How does it work?
A: Backup proxy server retrieves source VM data from production storage through ESX(i) network stack over management network.

Q: When it is recommended to use Network processing mode?
A: To enable a single backup proxy server to process VMs from multiple hosts with local storage. Unless you have 10Gb Ethernet, expect very slow performance (so with large amounts of data to process, consider using Virtual Appliance mode with one backup proxy VM per host instead).

Q: Why this mode is so slow on ESX 4.0?
A: Network backup slow on vSphere ESX 4.0 (the issue is resolved in ESX 4.1)

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 24, 2011 4:12 pm

Architecture

Backup Proxy

Q: How does the product interact with VM data?
A: Veeam B&R uses proxy architecture. Both reading and writing VM data is done via backup proxy server (this includes restore and replication).

Q: Do backup proxy servers ever talk with vCenter?
A: No, backup proxies are simply data movers. All management tasks are performed centrally by backup server.

Q: What happens if backup server cannot contact backup proxies in the remote site, will they still run jobs?
A: No. For each VM, backup server assign proxy is assigned dynamically in the run-time. If some proxies are unreachable, backup server will consider them offline and will not assign tasks to them.

Q: Do I have to set up multiple backup proxies?
A: No, it is not required - but highly recommended for redundancy, and allow for significantly reduced backup window when you have multiple jobs setup and are running them concurrently.

Q: How backup proxy is selected in cases when there are multiple proxies available?
A: For each VM in the job, backup server classifies all backup proxies available to the job into 3 groups by access type they have to the VM's disks: SAN (1), hot add (2) and network (3). Proxy with least tasks currently assigned is picked from group 1, and if responding, VM processing task is assigned to this proxy. Otherwise, the next least busy proxy is selected from group 1. If all available proxies group 1 are already running max number of concurrent tasks, selection process switches to group 2 and repeats. Group 3 is only used if groups 1 and 2 have no responding proxies. For group 3, proxy subnet is also considered when picking the best proxy.

Q: What if no proxy is available to process the specific VM at the moment?
A: If no proxies are available in either group, selection process "sleeps" for 60 seconds - or less, if some proxy reports to backup server that it has finished processing a task - and then retries. Proxy selection algorithm will wait for backup proxy to become available for up to 23 hours by default, and then fail the job processing.

Q: What is considered a "task" when you say "concurrent tasks".
Q: A task is a VM for sequential processing, and virtual disk for parallel processing. Keep in mind that the same proxy can lose task slots to replication (acting as a target proxy), as well as to restore operations. Moreover, restore tasks have the highest priority, and are first to be assigned to proxies as soon as they become available.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 24, 2011 4:13 pm

Replication

If you are planning to use replication extensively, view this recording of the Advanced Replication webinar (Session #3) to learn about new replication architecture and functionality. The content of this webinar is not covered in Q&A below, so please be sure to view it.

Q: What is the maximum amount of restore points supported?
A: You can have up to 28 replica restore points (4 weeks of daily replicas). If you need more restore points to keep, use the backup job instead.

Q: What happens if replication job fails in the middle of the incremental run.
A: Existing restore points remain intact, and new (unfinished) restore point will be automatically removed by the following job run.

Q: I want to test replica failover. Can I simply power on any replica restore point with vSphere Client?
A: Yes. Because each restore point is a snapshot, its content will remain intact, because all disk changes inflicted by the running VM will go into the new snapshot file that host automatically creates to protect the selected snapshot's state (standard VMware snapshot tree functionality). For the same reason, Veeam replication job will not be affected either. Starting v6, testing replicas is really a breeze - thanks to the new way of storing replica restore points.

Q: What do I lose if I perform failover by powering on the required restore point in vSphere Client or with PowerCLI script (i.e. outside of Veeam UI)?
A: Re-IP rules, if defined, will not be applied - and you will not be able to perform advanced replica operations such as failback or permanent replica failover. Additionally, existing replication jobs will not be automatically updated to exclude the failed over VM, and will start failing.

Q: Does failback transfer changes only?
A: Yes.

Q: Why using replication when there is Instant VM Recovery feature for backups?
A: Unlike instantly recovered VMs, replicas are created in native format and can this can run at full I/O speed, and without any dependencies on vPower NFS server. These capabilities are very important in case of major disaster with multiple VMs affected, as well as for high I/O VMs. Replication also support advanced replica-specific functionality such as Re-IP addressing on failover, failback and so on.

Q: How does Veeam replication compare with SAN-based replication?
A: Our solution is storage-agnostic (any storage to any storage), granular (per VM versus per LUN), uses much less network bandwidth, and is application-aware to ensure successful recovery.

Q: If we have a production site doing Veeam backups, can we replicate to a remote site without having Veeam at the remote site?
A: Yes, you can install Veeam Backup server in both source, and target site, or even in both - there is no extra charge.

Q: Can I backup or replicate a replica VM?
A: Yes.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 24, 2011 4:13 pm

Migration

Q: Does Veeam quick migration require shared storage?
A: No.

Q: What is SmartSwitch?
A: SmartSwitch is the process of transferring VM's running state from source to target VM during migration via suspending the source VM, transferring the running state to the target VM, and resuming target VM. This allows to significantly reduce downtime by eliminating shutdown/bootup cycle. SmartSwitch requires that source and target hosts have compatible CPUs, otherwise cold switch is used.

Q: What is cold switch?
A: SmartSwitch is the process of switching from source to target VM during migration via powering off the source VM, syncing final disk delta, and powering on the target VM.

Q: What migration mode is used in what case?
A: There are 3 scenarios:
1. Migrating VM between hosts with VM sitting on the shared storage. If VMware license allows, VMware VMotion is leveraged. If VMware VMotion is not licensed, Veeam Quick Migration is used (with SmartSwitch or cold switch depending on source and target hosts CPU compatibility.
2. Migrating VM between storage within the same host. If VMware license allows, VMware Storage VMotion is leveraged. If VMware Storage VMotion is not licensed, Veeam Quick Migration with SmartSwitch is used.
3. Migrating VM between hosts and storages at the same time. Veeam Quick Migration is used (with SmartSwitch or cold switch depending on source and target hosts CPU compatibility.

Q: How does migration work with vPower?
A: Migration jobs are specifically optimized to work with Instant VM Recovery. If the migration job detects that the VM being migrated is running off a vPower NFS datastore, it takes unchanged data directly from the backup file (rather than pulling it from the vPower NFS server) to maximize availability and performance of the vPower NFS server.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 24, 2011 4:13 pm

VM Copy

Q: Does VM Copy support changed block tracking?
A: No. VM Copy is designed for ad-hoc full VM Copy of running VM in the native format, and is not a replacement for backups. This can be useful for copying some running VMs from production into the test environment, creating tape backup exports in native format, and so on.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 29, 2011 1:24 pm

Full VM Restore

Q: I restore the VM, but my existing jobs processing this VM cannot see it?
A: Jobs tracks individually added VMs by unique IDs. The unique ID is only preserved in case of in-place VM restore (to original location) - any other restore option will register VM with the new unique ID. If you have to do such restore often, consider stuffing your jobs with containers (VM folder, cluster, datastore) for dynamic job scope, as opposed to adding in individual VMs.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 29, 2011 1:26 pm

VM Files Restore

Q: I have restored a thin virtual disk, but it got "inflated" (converted to thick) instead of remaining thin.
A: Thin disks cannot exist outside of VMFS, and while not being attached to a VM. To keep the restored disks thin, or to restore thick disk as thin, use the Hard Disk Restore wizard instead of VM Files Restore wizard.

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Re: VMware : [FAQ] FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Post by Gostev » Nov 29, 2011 1:32 pm

vPower

Q: Do any of the new vPower features depend on certain versions of VMware, vCenter, etc.?
A: No, there are no dependencies on VMware product versions. We support all currently available versions of VI3.5, vSphere 4 and vSphere 5.

Q: Do any of the vPower features depend on certain VMware license levels?
A: No, there are no dependencies on VMware license levels. But note that Storage vMotion is not included in some VMware editions, so you may want to get Acceleration Kit with Storage VMotion, and upgrade one of your hosts with it. Having Storage vMotion makes Instant VM Recovery a smoother experience.

Q: Will any of the new capabilities require the Veeam Backup server to be run in a virtual machine?
A: No, this is not required.

Q: Do I have to store our backups on NFS datastore in order to be able to use vPower?
A: No, you can keep using whatever backup storage you are using today. vPower engine is backup storage-agnostic. If you can backup to that storage, it can be used with vPower.

Q: How do I create the vPower NFS datastore?
A: You do not create it manually, the process is 100% automated.

Q: Where exactly vPower NFS server runs?
A: NFS server can run on every Windows backup repository. Each Windows backup repository can use "local" vPower NFS server (recommended for better scalability), or vPower NFS server from another Windows backup repository (if having multiple vPower NFS servers is undesired). Linux and CIFS based repositories do not implement vPower NFS server, and must be pointed to an existing one.

Q: What are the vPower NFS requirements on the infrastructure side.
A: Because VMware ESX(i) uses vmKernel interface to access NFS storage, ESX(i) host you are using for any vPower functionality must have vmKernel interface on the same network as backup repository implementing vPower NFS server. You can simply add additional vmKernel interface in ESX(i) host configuration. Otherwise, mounting vPower NFS on ESX(i) host will fail.

Q: How does vPower deals with RDM disk? We use file servers and SQL servers using RDM to an Equallogic volume.
A: vPower supports vRDM disks (virtual mode), but not pRDM (physical mode). Because snapshots are not possible on the latter, pRDM disks are automatically excluded from backup.

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