Virtual Dashboard Retention for VMware VM Backup (for Differential or Incremental VM backups using CBT)
Please review the Virtual Dashboard Quickstart Guide to familiarize yourself with the options:
This guide will only affect Virtual Dashboard created backup jobs whereby you would like to make use of VMware's native "Change Block Tracking" (CBT) feature so that a daily Differential or Incremental backup of VMware based VM is processed which will detect what is required to back up based on what changes were made to the VM so that it does not have to do a "Full" backup each time that it executes. If you had previously attempted to setup a VMware VM based Differential or Incremental Backup job in the Virtual Dashboard you may have discovered that Retention of those forms of VMware VM backup did not work. In the case of the "Incremental" form of backup job creation, Retention was not even a function that you could enable for Incremental in this regards. Read further to know how to properly get retention to work for you in this case otherwise your destination storage device where your Virtual Dashboard created VMware VM backups are stored to will fill and run out of storage space.
Here is the VMware guide for configuring CBT if needed: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1031873
NovaBACKUP Virtual Dashboard (NVD) may not work in regards to VMware VM backup retention if Virtual Dashboard backup jobs to back up a VMware VM are set up improperly or without knowing a working technique such as the scenario that is described in this KB article. This article assume that you are starting from scratch in the NovaBACKUP Virtual Dashboard (NVD) as a new user and do not have anything set up currently. If you already have configuration data stored in the Virtual Dashboard, such as NVD backup jobs and Hypervisor settings, go ahead and do the following to remove that configured data to start from scratch as far as NVD configuration. Step A. Exit out of the Virtual Dashboard and NovaBACKUP application if it is running currently. Step B. Delete the NVD configuration data file: "C:\ProgramData\NovaStor\NovaStor NovaBACKUP\ClientStorage.xml". Step C. Load NovaBACKUP software and launch the Virtual Dashboard function from the Home screen and the Virtual Dashboard will act as though it is the first time you have ever executed it to start from scratch for these instructions to pertain to you.
Load NovaBACKUP and then launch the "Virtual Dashboard" from the Home screen. You will be prompted to add your VMware Hypervisor in to to the Virtual Dashboard. You will then see a list of all VM's on that vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi/vSphere Server). Select all of the VM's you would like to create VM backup jobs for. In this case you will need to create two backup jobs for each Virtual Machine, one as a Full Backup and one as either a Differential or Incremental Backup.
First step, in the Virtual Dashboard area select the VMware VM that you would like to setup your first backup job on. This first backup job that you create will be a "Full" backup. This is the backup job that you intend to utilize most likely on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis to perform a full backup of the entire VM. Select the VM as one of your VM's to back up by clicking on the name of the VM. You will be taken to a screen which has a "Backup" button at the top and a "Replication" button to the right of that, this is your backup configurator screen for this one VMware VM that you selected. On this screen at the bottom click on the button at the bottom which "Enables CBT", this stands for "Change Block Tracking", you will need to have CBT Enabled and the slider at the bottom of the screen needs to show CBT is Enabled to proceed. Now that you have CBT Enabled you will then click "Backup" at the top of the screen to create your first backup job. This first backup job that you will be creating is going to be a "Full Backup" job. Set up the "Full Backup" job and specify the type of backup job as a "Full". You will now set the "Destination" storage location for where this Full backup will be stored in, you will need to remember that path because we will re-use this exact same setting in Step 2. Below the Destination field you will see a choice for Retention. Turn on Retention, this will allow you to specify how many "Generations" (which is a count) of these "Full" backups to keep in place on your destination storage device before the oldest iterations are deleted automatically, in order to reclaim disk storage space.
Second step, in the Virtual Dashboard area select the same VMware VM as prior and create a second backup job, this being either a "Differential" backup or an "Incremental" backup. This is the backup job that you intend to utilize most likely on a daily basis to only backup the changed or newly added files inside of this one VM. Click the "Backup" button at the top of the screen and then fill in the details for this job, specify either "Differential" or "Incremental" for the backup type when asked as one of the first options. Set the "Destination" field, which is the folder path for where this Differential or Incremental backup will be stored in to the same exact Destination folder as the "Full Backup" job utilized when you were in Step 1. After setting the Destination field you will see the choice for enabling Retention, DO NOT enable the Retention feature. The reason that we are not enabling Retention here is because it will not work to begin with. You can then set up how this job is to be scheduled on the last screen of the "Backup" job creation, most people would want this type of job to be executed daily.
NOTE: Keep in mind only one backup job can run at a time in NovaBACKUP in general including the NVD so be careful with your scheduling, your Differential or Incremental job if setup properly will most likely be quite a bit faster than a Full backup. The log will show how long each type of job took to know how to best set up the scheduling for VM backup jobs.
Third step, in the Virtual Dashboard area select the same VMware VM again and then select the "Full Backup" job that you created in Step 1 of this guide. Tell this "Full Backup" job to run right now by clicking on the "Run Now" icon at the top of the screen. Allow this "Full Backup" job to complete. You will get a completion status in the main logs area of NovaBACKUP as well as in the Virtual Dashboard if looking at that VMware VM's actively running jobs screen. NOTE: This "Full Backup" job is 100% required to complete successfully in order to continue to the next step.
Fourth step, in the Virtual Dashboard area select the "Differential" or "Incremental" backup job that you created in Step 2 and click "Run Now" to start and complete that job. Allow the Differential or Incremental job that you created to complete.
The next time that your "Full Backup" job executes and completes, either by the scheduled time or when you run it manually with the "Run Now" function it will complete a new "Full Backup", then delete all Differential or Incremental stored backups in one action, and then delete the oldest Full backup that existed all based on the Generation (Count) that you specified in the "Full Backup" job's "Retention" setting. The Retention setting was specified in Step 1 of this guide.