we're one of those cheap companies that are only using ESX, can't get them to buy me vSphere/vCenter yet.
No big deal, we only have 8 physical hosts so I can manage it all with the vSphere Client one host at a time.
Is there a smart way to do vm level backups in my situation? I can manually export OVFs, or copy the vm files to an offline store, but both of those require bringing the vm down. (you can't copy or move a vm while its up)
Is there a way (with the vCLI or powerCLI) to maybe do a snapshot, move the snapshot offline, then delete the original...or somethign like that?
I'm really just looking for a smart way to do vm level backups that do not require bringning down the vm, and that I could maybe automate with a script so its more of a continuous realtime data protection.
Are you using the free edition of ESXi or a paid version. With the paid version you have access to the backup API which provides some more options. Some documents to look at: vghetto backup scripts - http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-9852 backup options - http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-10780
The starting licenses are Essentials and Essentials Plus. With both you get vCenter Foundation which is limited to managing 3 hosts. http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/buy/small_business_editions_comparison.html
You can use ESXi hosts as stand alone systems with all kind of licenses, from Free to Enterprise Plus. However without a vCenter Server instance in place, you cannot benefit from most of the features you bought (vMotion, HA, ...).
The ghettoVCB scripts are excellent. You will need to use the ghettoVCB with the free version not the ghettoVCBg2. You will also need to enable SSH on the ESXi host machine. They can be sheduled through cron and either triggered through Windows or the vMA appliance or directly on the host.
Form your original post you might want to have a look at this http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1015180
thanks guys, looking at that stuff now.
the ghettoVCB will definately get it done I think.
is ghettoVCBg2 for the licensed version of ESX, is that why I can't use it?
The paid editions of ESXi provide read / write access via the vSphere API. With the free edition you only have read access hence the need for 2 types of scripts. The v2 script uses a support methodolody for backups, while the script for the free edtion requires SSH access (tech support mode - SSH).
what I'm reading tells me "no, it doesn't work that way", right?
It is very important to understand what snapshots are and what they are not. There are countless help!!! posts related to snapshots. Forgot that they were there. No space left on the disk etc. They are very short term.