Using VM attributes to quickly determine status of VM backups

One of the cool features of Veeam Backup & Replication v5 is its ability to document the status of the virtual machine backup within the virtual machine’s annotations by using attributes. This is one of the many notification options for an individual job, which may contain one or more virtual machines. Other notification options are also available, including email and SNMP.

The VM Notes option is a nice little addition to the quick visibility that you can get in the vSphere Client. Each virtual machine will have an attribute added with the backup server name, job name, last iteration time and file name of the backup job. This is defined in the advanced settings of a job within Veeam Backup & Replication, as shown in the figure below:


Once the job completes, the custom attribute is added to the virtual machine as configured in the job. This is very handy if there a large number of Veeam Backup & Replication servers installed or a large number of jobs as we can look directly at a virtual machine and get the status of the job. From the example job above, the status is updated on the virtual machine as shown below:


There are two takeaways for using this notification method. The first is that using a virtual machine attribute is better than using a note. If a system-generated event, such as a backup job, changed the notes for every virtual machine; there may be issues with any user-entered notes (like those that come with virtual appliances). The attributes, however are a unique field that are specific for (in this case) the Veeam Backup job.

It is also important to point out that the attribute displayed is the last successful backup job, listed by timestamp. Should there be an unsuccessful attempt to back up an individual job; the timestamp from the last successful job will remain. Further, additional notification options such as the email message option will explicitly note that the job failed.

This can benefit virtualization administrators in a number of ways. The most prominent is that using the attributes are an easy way to ensure that new virtual machines are being backed up. It also is a good way to monitor the timing of different jobs and their completion times. In both cases, this can save a trip back to the Veeam Backup & Replication server to check within the application.

What tricks have you used with virtual machine attributes and notes? Share your comments below.

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