Different ways to access your protected data

You can access your protected data in the following ways:


Clones are commonly used with SQL Server databases and VMware VMs.

When to clone a Microsoft SQL Server database

Use the clone function to create an independent copy of a Microsoft SQL Server database backup images. The most common uses are the following:

  • Application development and testing
  • Data audit for compliance
  • Data warehousing
  • E-discovery
  • User acceptance testing.

This can also be used like a restore, but to any server.

When to clone VMware VMs

For VMware VMs, a clone copies backup images of the VMDKs directly to a targeted datastore before powering on the VM, at which point the VM is independent of the backup/recovery appliance. This is like a restore to a different VM.


A LiveClone can be used with all agent-based backup images like databases and filesystems.

The LiveClone is similar to the clone function, however, unlike a clone, a LiveClone can be updated on demand or according to a schedule. When an updated copy of the data is available, a LiveClone allows an independent copy of a data to be mounted. This allows teams such as development and test to ensure they are working on the latest set of data without having to manually manage the data.

LiveClones enable you to do the following:

  • Refresh. Create multiple, re-mountable copies of an active image that can be refreshed from the most recent image of the same application. See Refresh a LiveClone.
  • PrepMount. Mount the LiveClone image to a specific host for a pre-processing operation (such as sanitizing data), even if some copies of this same LiveClone may already be mounted. You can prep-mount a LiveClone image to scrub confidential or sensitive data.

  • PrepUnmount. A prep-unmount operation on a LiveClone lets you decide if your changes are to be preserved or not. By default changes are tracked and preserved.

LiveClones provide a crucial building block in managing copy data lifecycle as they combine the performance and independence of a full clone with the efficiency and speed of incremental refreshes of data.


The Backup and DR mount function provides near instant access to backup images without moving data. These are several options for mounting data.

VMware VM and agent based backup images

The standard mount presents and makes application data available to a target server as a file system, not as an application. This is useful if an application is corrupt, lost, or if an application server is being replaced. In such cases you can mount an image and copy the application files from the mounted image to their original location on the application server.

For standard mounts:

  • For VMware VMs ensure that NFS connectivity from the ESXi hosts to the backup/recovery appliance is available.
  • For compute engine instances, ensure that the iSCSI port of the host where the active images will be mounted is accessible to the backup/recovery appliance. Note that NFS is an option when mounting to instances running supported Linux operating systems.
  • Mounting takes a copy of the selected active image and mounts it to the selected host or VM.
  • A mounted image can be used directly from the mounted host.
  • The original image is never modified, even if the mounted virtual copy is modified or mounted and deleted.
  • The mount operation is applicable for all agent based applications and VMware VMs.

Application aware mounts allow you to mount backup images of databases as virtual applications. This allows you to quickly bring a database online without having to actually move the data and without having to manually configure a new instance of the database. Application aware mounts are particularly useful in test and development environments where multiple copies of a database must be quickly brought online.

Data presented as an application aware mount can be backed up like any other application. Once the application aware mounted application data is backed up, it too can be can be mounted as an application aware mount. The backup, application mount, backup sequence can be repeated to any depth. By default, the sequence is restricted to five generations of the original database.

Mount and migrate allows you to restore an application with near-zero downtime by first mounting it locally, and then migrating it to the original location or to a new location. Users have normal access to the application while it is mounted, and the migration step is very fast.

When performing a mount of a VMware VM or agent based backup from OnVault you can control how much to optimize for performance vs. storage consumption, by selecting the following:

  • Storage-optimized. This only keep writes in the local snapshot pool (writes are always kept locally).

  • Balanced. These blocks are read (from object storage) or written (to local snapshot pool) and kept in the snapshot pool, to serve as a cache for future reads.

  • Performance-optimized. This bring the entire image to the local snapshot pool, in the background. Reads will become faster as more of the image is available locally.

  • Max performance. The entire image is rehydrated into the snapshot pool first, prior to the mount. This means that the host always works against local storage only.

Compute Engine instance

Compute Engine instance mounts create a new persistent disk from backup and then either assign it to an existing Compute Engine instance or to a new Compute Engine instance, which is created at the same time. Unlike VMware VM or agent based backup images, this does involve the movement of data from where the backup images are stored (in Google Cloud Storage) to persistent disk.


The restore function reverts the production data to a specified point in time. Typically restore operations are performed to restore an application to a valid state after data corruption. The amount of time required to complete a restore operation depends on the amount of data involved.


A workflow automates access to copy data. While backup plan policy templates govern the automated capture of production data, workflows automate the access to this data.

Steps are defined within a workflow to perform a series of tasks on a schedule or on demand. This includes creating and refreshing LiveClones, data masking, persistent mounts, and non-persistent processing mounts for tasks such as database integrity checks, and ETL loads. Workflows are also used by administrators to provide simplified and secured self-service data access to end users such as database administrators and application developers.

The Backup and DR getting started guide

This page is one in a series of pages selected to introduce Backup and DR. The other topics are as follows: