SmartGuard/TimeMachine problem

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration' started by NielsO, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. NielsO

    NielsO

    Messages:
    21
    Hi,

    I have some issues getting the SmartGuard feature working properly with TimeMachine. I have brought my VM forward through OS X upgrades from Snow Leopard -> Lion -> Mountain Lion, and upgrades from Parallels6 to Parallels7.

    All along I have had SmartGuard enabled and set to "Optimize for TimeMachine", and snapshot create/keep set to "Auto". SmartGuard have been creating its snapshots just fine.

    Recently I upgraded my system hard drive to an SSD, and restored from TimeMachine. To my surprise the VM was not restored. The ~/Documents/Parallels folder was empty. So somehow the VM had never been backed up completely. Hmm, oh well, I just copied over the VM from the old system drive, and everything was intact.

    The other day I got a new external drive for backup. I set it up for TimeMachine use and made a full backup. Looked good, but the ~/Documents/Parallels folder in the backup was empty.

    I googled around, and learned how to use tmutil and mdfind to discover which parts of the filesystem is being excluded from backup. It turned out that ~/Documents/Parallels/MyVM was being excluded from backup, even though the checkbox in the VM backup options "Time Machine: Do not back up virtual machine" was cleared.

    So I used "tmutil removeexclusion -p" to have the VM directory backed up. I also used "xattr -d com.apple.metada:com_apple_backup_excludeItem" to clear the filesystem metadata exclusion. And now the VM is backed up in TimeMachine. But now the problem is that the VM is backed up too much. Every time I shutdown or suspend the VM at least 1-2 GB is backed up.

    I have tried disabling SmartGuard and enabling it again, but it doesn't seem to setup the proper backup exclusion settings again.

    What actions do I need to take to have SmartGuard and TimeMachine working together again?

    And on a more general note, how are you supposed to "bootstrap" this backup process when you break in a new TimeMachine drive, without having to manually fiddle with tmutil, mdfind and xattr?

    Hoping someone can shed some light on this. :)

    /Niels
     
  2. NielsO

    NielsO

    Messages:
    21
    I would appreciate an answer from a Parallels supporter, or maybe a community member who has experience in getting the SmartGuard feature working properly..
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2012
  3. NielsO

    NielsO

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    I wonder what one has to do to get a response from Parallels support?! I saw in another thread that they started dissing the developers, and presto, the day after there was a response from a Parallels person. :-/

    I would prefer not to go that route, so still hoping for some feedback on this..
     
  4. Harry Binswanger

    Harry Binswanger

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    37
    Did you ever get an answer

    Did you ever get an answer about why TM was not backing up the .pvm? I had a similar problem.
     
  5. NielsO

    NielsO

    Messages:
    21
    No, this issue is being totally ignored.. :-( I'm guessing the Parallels team is busy with the new version 8, and the "Addgate" issues (amongst many).

    As I see it, the smartguard feature should offer a UI to force a full backup of the VM, and then ensure that backup exclusion is setup properly, so that only the SmartGuard snapshots are backed up from that point.

    Currently I'm living with the annoyance, that huge amounts of data is backed up when the VM is shutdown or suspended. As far as I can tell, the live VM files are excluded from backup while the VM is running.

    My workaround now, is to go into time machine and delete the VM manually, to prevent the drive from running full too often. Not much smartness in that SmartGuard feature, as it is implemented now.
     
  6. Harry Binswanger

    Harry Binswanger

    Messages:
    37
    I have found that Time Machine actually removes backups of the PVM. It's totally worthless for Parallels. So my solution, at present, is to use SuperDuper! to back up just the PVM in a lot of separate sparse image bundles on a 1 Terabyte drive (in addition to two full SD backups to two other large drives, one on even days one on odd days). Problem is that a SD backup of just the PVM takes 2 hours or more. I'm doing my first one now. After 1 hour, it's a little more than half done.
     
  7. NielsO

    NielsO

    Messages:
    21
    I haven't seen this yet. As far as I can see I have full backups of my ~/Documents/Parallels folder in my TM backup, going back to the day when I manually removed the TM exclusion. I have inspected both with the TM UI and with terminal in Backups.backupdb on the TM drive.

    /Niels
     
  8. Harry Binswanger

    Harry Binswanger

    Messages:
    37
    I wish I had your experience. Did you do the manual setting with something like tmutil?

    When I go back in "time," with Finder set to the Parallels PVM directory, I see something very strange: the PVM file appears for like 1/4 second, then disappears. I searched the Backups.backupdb (and so did an Apple Genius) and no PVMs could be found.

    BTW, I overestimated the time SuperDuper! takes to back up the PVM. So far, I haven't got the script right to do just that file's backup.
     
  9. NielsO

    NielsO

    Messages:
    21
    Yes I had to use tmutil to remove TM backup exclusion on ~/Documents/Parallels/MyVM and also xattr to remove filesystem metadata attribute com_apple_backup_excludeItem, which tells TM to not back up. Once this was done, the VM is completely backed up in TM.

    Btw. in reality the .pvm file is a directory. If you use terminal.app, you can cd into the .pvm "file" and inspect the individual files and directories in there. I don't know what this OS X mechanism is called, but it seems to be finder that makes it look like a single file.

    Inside the .pvm is a Snapshots/ directory and a Snapshots.xml file. I'm guessing that once the entire VM is in TM backup, everything except the Snapshots/ and the Snapshots.xml file needs to be excluded. But, as I mentioned it should be the Parallels GUI that handles that, and not me and terminal.app..
     
  10. EmersonW

    EmersonW Bit Poster

    Messages:
    4
    I only started using Parallels recently, so I didn't have the exclusion problem.

    But, using BackupLoupe as suggested, it appears that every hour it backs up while my VM is running, it is adding 200+ MB by way of a temporary-type named *.hds file in the pvm's .hdd package.

    Also, even though I have one SmartGuard-generated snapshot, that does NOT appear yet over several runs of Time Machine backups.

    What gives? To me, it seems the proper results would be to see the whole PVM package backed up the first time Time Machine scans it, then to only see the Snapshots directory backed up and updated as snapshots are created by SmartGuard. It appears from reading other Parallels support responses that seem to say that basically the HDS file(s) will grow and grow until snapshot time, at which their cumulative changes will be rolled to the Snapshots directory and then pruned to start anew.

    Time Machine's visual UI does not allow me to explore the package to DISABLE *.HDS from being backed up. OR, is this NOT desired behavior anyway, and I have to live with the 200+MB every hour? It's still not that bad a price to pay, adding perhaps 50% total to the PVM base size for a three month span.

    Again, the OTHER issue is - why are snapshot files NOT being picked up at all? (I am trying backing up from scratch after removing all previous backups again, to see if perhaps one should have at least ONE snapshot in place before committing the first full backup to Time Machine?)

    Any one else delved this deeply into it?
     
  11. EmersonW

    EmersonW Bit Poster

    Messages:
    4
    My questions still stand, but I noticed two things after doing a fresh initial backup of my PVM packages:

    1. This time, it did pick up the single snapshot in the one that's running which had an auto-created snapshot (which worries me more, if it didn't before and now it does - will that mean it won't back up future snapshots?)

    2. I noticed inside the HDD package, there's a .hdd file with zero size, and actually all the content is in the HDS files. So I guess it wouldn't work to exclude *.hds file, and perhaps through this deductive means, I've answered my first question, and the incremental changes to the updating HDS file have to be saved to Time Machine, even though they ideally would not (and only snapshots would be)?
     

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