vzdump(1) backup utility for virtual machine


vzdump OPTIONS [--all | <VMID>]

--exclude VMID exclude VMID (assumes --all)

--exclude-path REGEX exclude certain files/directories. You
                        can use this option more than once to specify 
                        multiple exclude paths

--stdexcludes exclude temporary files and logs

--compress compress dump file (gzip)

--storage STORAGE_ID store resulting files to STORAGE_ID (PVE only)

--script execute hook script

--dumpdir DIR store resulting files in DIR

--maxfiles N maximal number of backup files per VM.

--tmpdir DIR store temporary files in DIR. --suspend and --stop
                        are using this directory to store a copy of the VM.

--mailto EMAIL send notification mail to EMAIL. You can use
                        this option more than once to specify multiple 

--stop stop/start VM if running

--suspend suspend/resume VM when running

--snapshot use LVM snapshot when running

--size MB LVM snapshot size (default 1024)

--bwlimit KBPS limit I/O bandwidth; KBytes per second

--lockwait MINUTES maximal time to wait for the global
                        lock. vzdump uses a global lock file to make
                        sure that only one instance is running
                        (running several instance puts too much load
                        on a server). Default is 180 (3 hours).

--stopwait MINUTES maximal time to wait until a VM is stopped.


vzdump is an utility to make consistent snapshots of running virtual machines (VMs). It basically creates a tar archive of the VM private area, which also includes the VM configuration files. vzdump currently supports OpenVZ and QemuServer VMs.

There are several ways to provide consistency:

"stop" mode
Stop the VM during backup. This results in a very long downtime.
"suspend" mode
For OpenVZ, this mode uses rsync to copy the VM to a temporary location (see option --tmpdir). Then the VM is suspended and a second rsync copies changed files. After that, the VM is started (resume) again. This results in a minimal downtime, but needs additional space to hold the VM copy.

For QemuServer, this mode work like "stop" mode, but uses suspend/resume instead of stop/start.

"snapshot" mode
This mode uses LVM2 snapshots. There is no downtime, but snapshot mode needs LVM2 and some free space on the corresponding volume group to create the LVM snapshot.


Newer version of vzdump encodes the virtual machine type and the backup time into the filename, for example


That way it is possible to store several backup into the same directory. The parameter "maxfiles" can be used to specify the maximal number of backups to keep.


The resulting tar files can be restored with the following programs.
vzrestore: OpenVZ restore utility
qmrestore: QemuServer restore utility

For details see the corresponding manual pages.


Global configuration is stored in /etc/vzdump.conf.

 tmpdir: DIR
 dumpdir: DIR
 storage: STORAGE_ID
 mode: snapshot|suspend|stop
 bwlimit: KBPS
 lockwait: MINUTES 
 stopwait: MINUTES 
 size: MB
 maxfiles: N
 script: FILENAME


You can specify a hook script with option "--script". This script is called at various phases of the backup process, with parameters accordingly set. You can find an example in the documentation directory ("hook-script.pl").


vzdump skips the following files wit option --stdexcludes


You can manually specify exclude paths, for example:

> vzdump --exclude-path "/tmp/.+" --exclude-path "/var/tmp/.+" 777

(only excludes tmp directories)

Configuration files are also stored inside the backup archive (/etc/vzdump), and will be correctly restored.


VZDump does not save ACLs.


Simply dump VM 777 - no snapshot, just archive the VM private area and configuration files to the default dump directory (usually /vz/dump/).

> vzdump 777

Use rsync and suspend/resume to create an snapshot (minimal downtime).

> vzdump --suspend 777

Backup all VMs and send notification mails to root.

> vzdump --suspend --all --mailto root

Use LVM2 to create snapshots (no downtime).

> vzdump --dumpdir /mnt/backup --snapshot 777

Backup all VMs excluding VM 101 and 102

> vzdump --suspend --exclude 101 --exclude 102

Restore an OpenVZ machine to VM 600

> vzrestore /mnt/backup/vzdump-openvz-777.tar 600

Restore an Qemu/KVM machine to VM 601

> qmrestore /mnt/backup/vzdump-qemu-888.tar 601


Dietmar Maurer <[email protected]>

Many thanks to Proxmox Server Solutions (www.proxmox.com) for sponsoring this work.


Copyright (C) 2007-2009 Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH

Copyright: vzdump is under GNU GPL, the GNU General Public License.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; version 2 dated June, 1991.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA.