How to mount Veeam B&R’s vPower NFS share

As you may probably know, Veeam Backup & Replication provides the Instant VM Recovery feature, that allows you to run one or more VMs directly from the backup file (which is compressed and deduplicated), without having to extract the data and copy it to a production datastore in advance. 

This feature, in VMware vSphere environments, is accomplished using the vPower technology and leverages a proprietary NFS service running on the backup repository. In this NFS share, the contents of the backup files are streamed and presented to the ESX(i) hosts you select.
Although the contents are dynamic, the NFS share itself is actually permanent and available at all times, so you can use it as you wish. For example, to store ISO files or other data you want to share, without using primary storage resources. This is especially true for Windows-centric environments, where there may not be an NFS server or an NFS-enabled storage.
Everything you put in the “root folder” specified in the backup repository options (in the “vPower NFS” section) will be shared.
A final note: the share stays mounted on the host even after the Instant VM Recovery is finished (either finalized or cancelled). You can manually unmount it if you want, it is safe. Every operation that leverages vPower NFS checks if the share is mounted and mounts it again if necessary.
Let’s see how can you make use of this technology and access the share.

Mounting the share from ESX(i) hosts

You can easily mount the share from any ESX(i) host, using the repository IP or hostname. The path to the share will be in this format:
IMPORTANT: Either the hostname, FQDN or IP will be used, based on how you added the repository to the B&R infrastructure.
For example, if you added the repository using its IP address (e.g., the path will be /VeeamBackup_192.168.55.26


Note: the path is case-sensitive.



Mounting the share from Windows

In Windows Server, you can install the “NFS Client” feature. In Windows client machines, this feature can be found only in Enterprise editions of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1.
Once the feature is installed, the mount command will be available.

mount <repository>:/VeeamBackup_<repository> <driveletter>

For example:
mount TAU:/VeeamBackup_TAU V:

Mounting the share from Linux

You have to install the common set of NFS packages for your distribution, if not already present (nfs-common, nfs-utils, etc.).The mount command must explicitly use NFS version 3, with the following option:
-o nfsvers=3
NFS Version 3 is used because it is the only one supported by ESX(i) hosts.
So the full command will be:

mount –o nfsvers=3 <repository>:/VeeamBackup_<repository> <mount_point>

For example:
mount –o nfsvers=3 TAU:/VeeamBackup_TAU /mnt/veeam-nfs
Of course you can make the share available across reboots adding it to fstab, using again the option to force NFS protocol version 3 (in this case, nfsvers=3):
… And there you have it! Any thought or comments are appreciated.

2 thoughts on “How to mount Veeam B&R’s vPower NFS share

  1. jaykul

    It should be noted that Instant VM Recovery would fail if that VM requires more space than this share has — by default limited by the size of C: drive. You did change the folder location of the share but did not give the reason for it. Thanks.

    1. Danilo Post author

      Hi Jaykul and thanks for your comment.

      I’ll clarify: Instant VM Recovery works fine, no matter how large (originally) the VM you’re booting is. It can exceed the free space on the drive where the vPower NFS folder resides, or even exceed the total size of that drive for that matter, without issues.

      This is because the actual VMDK files in that folder are always just 1 KB – only a pointer. The real data is streamed live from the compressed and deduped backup file.

      But of course, as soon as you boot the VM via Instant VM Recovery, a delta cache file starts to grow, holding every change you do to the VM disk(s). If you keep the Instant VM Recovery up too long without finalizing/dismounting it (or you make too many changes fast) and that file consumes all available space on the drive hosting the vPower NFS share, then you start to have issues. But honestly, I’ve never seen or heard of such a case.

      So it’s pretty safe to keep the vPower NFS folder on the C:\ drive. That said, I often change its location, but only to “tidy up” things (I personally don’t like the default location as it’s a bit too “deep” and “hidden”).

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