Veeam is unable to restore a file from a backup where it’s original location was within a Storage Pool. Seriously?

I want to preface this post by stating that I have had experience with Backup Exec, Data Protection Manager, and Veeam, and that Veeam is by far, the easiest solution to implement, use, and maintain. The installation of the entire infrastructure is fool proof. The error messages are easy to resolve. The Veeam support is rock solid. And the wizards used for restores are about as intuitive as they come, especially after beginning my backup/disaster recovery work with the beast which is Backup Exec.

With that said, I have been disappointed with a few restore capabilities of Veeam. The first file level restore I had to make was a simple word document to be restored in place to a file server. I spun up the built in recovery wizard on the VM, and the restore continually failed and errored out. Why was a restore this simple failing?

Turns out, Veeam is not able to restore files from Storage Pools by default.

The overall process of recovering a file from a backup where it was located on a Storage Pool can be quite a hassle. Sometimes, you really have to ask if it’s worth it and if the user REALLY needs that file, and most times – you can bet your buns that it’s a life or death situation to the end user despite what you think.

So how to do it?

High level overview:

  • Spin up an Instant Recovery copy of the VM containing the file needing to be restored
  • Create a new temp disk on the sandboxed restored VM
  • Move the file to the new disk
  • Move the new disk to the prod VM (recovery target)
  • Move file from temp disk
  • Delete temp restored VM and temp disk

More detailed explanation:

Within Veeam, you’ll need to choose the Instant VM Recovery option from the Restore tab. Work through this wizard, selecting “Restore to a new location, or with different settings”. Rename the VM something different than the original name so to not confuse your VM host with conflicting names.

Now that you’re new VM is up and running (not connected to a network and not powered on), add a new hard disk to the VM. The new disk that you are adding to this VM only needs to be large enough to hold the file you need to restore. Once this is set up, power on and console into the VM, and move your file off the original Storage Pool location and onto the new disk that was added.

With your new disk containing your restored file, you will want to log into your production VM, add the disk containing the restored file, pull it off, and clear off all the fragments of temporarily restored VMs, new disks, etc.

This was an issue that I battled for quite some time, and only figured out this solution once having a case open for Veeam for a while and being told that Veeam is actually unable to perform restores from Storage Pools as of v7.0 Patch 3 (February 2014).  This seems like a simple enough feature that I am more than sure will be eventually not be an issue, but for now, this is the only way I know of doing it.

If you have any comments or a better way of handling this, please leave a comment and I would love to hear your thoughts.

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