TimeMachine Smartguard RESTORE operation

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by RaphaelF, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. RaphaelF

    RaphaelF Bit Poster

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    I know that there are tons of already posted question out there about SmartGuard and TimeMachine backups, but I have never found a question and more importantly an answer to my question. So, here we go:
    If you have no snapshots and SmartGuard is not enabled, when TimeMachine creates a backup, provided the .pvm of your machine is not excluded from the backup, when it comes time for restoration it is fairly simple: browse to the location of the .pvm file, enter TimeMachine mode, restore the file with the date you need. Plain and simple. BUT, if I DO have SmartGuard enabled, as I understand, TimeMachine only backups up the snapshot... So, how would the process of RESTORING a VM with snapshots optimized for TimeMachine go? How does the workflow I need to follow change? Does TimeMachine understand that it needs to restore the original snapshot, and then the subsequent snapshots up to the date I specify? Is it simple like that, or am I missing something. Again, I never found any kb article dealing in detail in this situation. Most if not all only explain how to restore regular items, but none with the SmartGuard function enabled and the ensuing restore. Help appreciated. And please, if you are going to suggest another thread or knowledge base, again, please, make sure it's not a useless article/thread that superficially touches the subject without diving into the steps that are required.. THANK you in advance guys! RFerreira.DBA
     
  2. RaphaelF

    RaphaelF Bit Poster

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    12
    More information, with detailed explanation of what I'm trying to accomplish:
    What has never been clear on Parallels documentation is how to restore only the VM that has been backed up by TimeMachine when SmartGuard is enabled.
    Let me explain in details. There are 2 possible situations situations:

    1- SmartGuard is disabled and TimeMachine is configured to backup the VM. With this option, every time TimeMachine runs a backup (every hour), it has to also backup the entire VM. In my case that means 300GB, every single hour, being backed up. It's insanely wasteful in terms of time, resources, etc. The advantage of this option is that if I want to recover my VM to a certain date in the past, all I need to do is enter TimeMachine mode, navigate to the folder containing the .PVM file, and restore it. And DONE. It works perfectly. But again, there is this HUGE backup being created every hour..!
    2- SmartGuard is enabled and TimeMachine is configured to backup the VM. With this option, the first time that TimeMachine processes the first backup it does need to do the backup of the entire .PVM, 300GB, but now, subsequently, every time TimeMachine runs a backup (every hour), it only backs up the latest snapshot that has been created automatically by the SmartGuard process. It is really neat, but there is no documentation on how to proceed with a VM restore from a backup like this!! Again, with option 1 I can simply restore the entire .PVM file. But with SmartGuard enabled, how do I proceed to restore the VM?? Can I simply do the same thing as in option 1? Will that work? Remember: Under SmartGuard the backups are segmented into one first full backup of the VM and several subsequent snapshots. How do I proceed so I can guarantee to restore the VM to the specific snapshot for the date and time that I choose? Again, there is NO documentation on how to do that. Myself and several others have had this same question for YEARS now! Just peruse your Forums and you will find the confusion in several forum threads.

    Cheers, Raphael
     
  3. Mark Fine

    Mark Fine Kilo Poster

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    479
    @RaphaelF
    Not sure if this helps, but I don't use SmartGuard and I don't bother with Time Machine backups of the VMs. I've found the backups to not only be wasteful, but given my machine only has USB2 (not 3) it's an incredibly slow process. I currently have an Android, Win10, and Fedora VM and the cumulative backup could feasibly take over 2 hours.
    Instead, I've added the path to each (~/Library/Parallels/*.pvm) in the ignore option of Time Machine so it skips it. I then manually copy each to a special external drive folder.
    Pretty sure I could gen up a script and cron it for a more feasible time frame (daily?) to automate it... I've just never gotten around to doing it.
     
  4. RaphaelF

    RaphaelF Bit Poster

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    @Mark Fine, I did for the longest time have the VM excluded from the TimeMachine backup. But I reconsidered and I simply cannot afford not to backup my VM. I am a Database Administrator for a mid size University in Illinois and 100% of my work depends on what I have in my VM. And I don't mean simply data such as documents, pictures or frivolous items as these. I mean software configurations that took me years to get my VM to where it's at. There are things such as Visual Studio installations and configurations, Microsoft SQL Server, Outlook, the list goes on. If I had a catastrophic failure of my VM without a backup I would have to stop a minimum of 2 weeks of work to barely bring it up to a level in which I am able to do my job. I also do not like the idea of simply copying the .PVM file. I'd have to go the extra mile to automate the process off hours, which sometimes I don't even have, where the VM would need to be shut down for the process not to be corrupted, and again, I see no reason why I should spend my time automating a process that already works out of the box perfectly using TimeMachine. TM is unobtrusive. It works in the background. It does its job silently while I am actively working on my computer. It provides me with the flexibility of restoring either individual files to pretty much any point in time, while also guaranteeing a full system restore if necessary. My machine is an iMac Pro and I have 4 thunderbolt ports, each providing a 40Gb/s interface, so, even without SmartGuard enabled the 300GB backup happens in about 30 minutes. It's just simply a waste, since Parallels has the solution already! All they are missing, and have been missing for years now, is proper documentation on how to properly restore a VM backed up by TimeMachine with SmartGuard enabled. It can't be THAT difficult for them to properly document their product! Thank you for your comments and for lending an ear (or a pair of eyes). :) Best, Raphael
     
    Mark Fine likes this.
  5. Mark Fine

    Mark Fine Kilo Poster

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    479
    Admittedly, your setup is vastly more professional than mine. I agree that if there was an efficient way to do a backup that then didn't provide a way to recover, the method in question (and the backup itself) would be virtually useless. Probably why I never used that feature - never saw the utility of it.
     
  6. RaphaelF

    RaphaelF Bit Poster

    Messages:
    12
    So, in case anyone is still following this thread, I went thru the trouble of testing it. Yes, SmartGuard works well with TimeMachine. You can trust on both technologies to properly backup your VM. CAVEAT: The timing of the TimeMachine backups and of the SmartGuard snapshots are not synchronized, so, you will have to work around this limitation. To answer the original question we all have: To restore your VM you can just go into TimeMachine mode and restore the entire .PVM file from the backup and it will work as expected. Beware of my caveat though. You have to choose a backup that is both before the date you have in mind to restore the one existing in TimeMachine, as well as the one existing as a SmartGuard snapshot. In other words: you have to pick the backup with the oldest date that contains the changes you want to revert to, both considering the SmarGuard snapshot date as well as the TimeMachine backup. Otherwise, you may be restoring to a state that is too close to the present where the VM state is still not what you want to restore to. I hope my explanation is not too complicated to understand. Just choose the oldest date that you are willing to go back to, considering BOTH dates, the SmartGuard snapshot date and the TimeMachine backup date (the oldest acceptable date in either). If the oldest acceptable date is in the Snapshots and you do not need to restore anything else on your Mac except the VM file, restore from the snapshot without even touching TM. If you do need something from TM, then consider both dates and restore from TM, the oldest date that has the snapshot you need. Be well everyone. Best, Raphael.
     

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