Do not run TSM as a vCD Workload!

Team evoila
20. February 2014
Reading time: 2 min

I just got called in for a Tivoli Backup troubleshooting. The symptoms seen were extremely strange:

The TSM proxy successfully connected to vCenter and a backup job could be started. In vSphere Client we could see that the VM to be backed up was snapshotted. The next step would be to attach die VMDK to the TSM virtual machine but instead it was attached to an entirely different VM 😀 Of course, the backup job failed.

Looking at the TSM VM, I found out it was part of a vApp deployed through vCenter Orcestrator and vCloud Director. I figured this was probably a bad idea to run TSM proxy in a vCD vApp for several reasons:

1. TSM is going to back up vCloud Director VMs and running that same backup server as a vCD VM itself seemed strange. Any scripts or similar to backup the entire vCD vApp workload would probably try to back up the TSM proxy, too.

2. TSM talks to vCenter requesting the creating of snapshots and attachment of VMDKs to itself. As vCD VM the VM is marked as controlled by vCD and any changes through vSphere Client are not recommended. But exactly this would happen when a VMDK gets attached to TSM for backup.

So the first try was to clone the vCloud VM into an ordinary vCenter VM and shut the vApp down. Booom, works! We resolved the issue quickly but unfortunately, the actual technical cause for this is still unknown to us. So in case one of you knows what exactly was going on, please drop me a mail 🙂