stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

how to backup vm's from ESXi host datastore?

Just installed ESXi first time ever, set up 2 virtua machines, going to install guest OS's shortly, but wondered in general how to go about copying vm's up to network storage periodically. VM's on stored on host's storage. In the past, using VMWare Server, just went into the host OS and copied vm's up to network storage, either manually or with SyncToy.

Am using the VI client to administer this one-off ESXi host right now - is there a way to use the client to send copies of vm's to a fileserver store on the network?

thx

-steve

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16 Replies
lamw
Community Manager
Community Manager

You can use the vSphere Client to copy directories using the datastore browser, there are some free/paid GUI tools out there like Veeam or ESX Express

You can also take a look at this script:

=========================================================================

William Lam

VMware vExpert 2009

VMware ESX/ESXi scripts and resources at:

VMware Code Central - Scripts/Sample code for Developers and Administrators

If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".

vmESXi
Contributor
Contributor

ESXi has cloning functions that allow you to copy vritual machines, but unfourtoneatly the FREE version does not have those setting enabled.

Still, there is a great FREE program you can utilize that can allow you to back up and copy your virutal machines to other sites, such as a fileserver or network storage.

It's called FastSCP. Its really efficient and can transfer vm files really really quickly. Install it on your machine that you use to administer your ESXi and you will be on your way to backing up your files.

Link:

stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks, both of you very helpful. Will check those options out. Maybe if i do more of these hosts, we'll get into the paid version next summer ...

LamW, just to clarify, did you mean to say that i can or cannot backup using datastore browser of the VI client? Sounds like not ....

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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

where is the datastore browser in the vSphere client?

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cookieme
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

where is the datastore browser in the vSphere client?

On the "Summary" tab right click on the datastore under "Storage" and choose browse (or open can't remember the name). This will bring up a new window called the datastore browser.

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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

I finally got around to checking out VREEM and from what i can tell they now exclude support for ESXi free version and want you to spend several thousand dollars ...

If i ramp up and move several of my servers onto ESXi platform, i wouldn't mind moving to the licensed version, but for now i'm running two VM's on a single ESXi free version and will be for a year - there doesn't seem to be a good solution for backing up these two VM's for this one-off situation, unless i'm reading it wrong and just haven't found the standalone utility that i could use for backing up - i don't need any more extensive infrastructure management than that right now ...

If i'm reading it correctly and VREEM is no longer an option, any recommendations for the "next best" solution? I talked to some folks that had tried scripted solution and they described it as "horribly tedious". They've moved to the licensed model and use VREEM, but then again they have many ESX clusters so it makes sense in their case.

Thanks.

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bulletprooffool
Champion
Champion

4 Options:

1) Ghetto backup scripts (Free)

2) VEEAM

3) You could use the Datastore browser and copy as before . .. VERY slow!

4) Data Recovery appliance

One day I will virtualise myself . . .
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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Sorry, was gong from memory, obviously it is VEEAM and not VREEM that has discontinued support for free version of ESXi ...

I checked out the Data Recovery Appliance from VMWare (vDR) and it claims a prerequisite of being connected to a vSphere server, etc ... Again this is just a one-off ESXi install on a single host with 2 VM"s, no vSphere server involved, etc. Are you saying there is a way to make vDR work even without the vSphere server?

I was under the impression the Datastore Browser was disabled on ESXi free version - i guess i need to verify that. I really don't mind slow backups that much at this point - i just need to get these backed up before something happens and it takes hours or days to get it all back installed, so i'd tolerate a slow solution just to have a solution in place.

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cookieme
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I was under the impression the Datastore Browser was disabled on ESXi free version - i guess i need to verify that. I really don't mind slow backups that much at this point - i just need to get these backed up before something happens and it takes hours or days to get it all back installed, so i'd tolerate a slow solution just to have a solution in place.

This is not correct! The Datastore Browser has nothing to do with the license, i.e. you can access it by right clicking on a datastore and selecting Browse.

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viper8
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

1) Datarecovery applicance (Free)

Where can one obtain this?

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lamw
Community Manager
Community Manager

Not sure which recovery appliance you're referring to, but if you're talking about VMware Data Recovery, this is NOT free.

=========================================================================

William Lam

VMware vExpert 2009

VMware ESX/ESXi scripts and resources at:

VMware Code Central - Scripts/Sample code for Developers and Administrators

VMware Developer Comuunity

Twitter: @lamw

If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".

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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks, everyone. Well, i've found the datastore browser, and now i'm wondering which files do i need to back up? I don't remember there being this many when backing up VM's in VMWare 1.x ..... the VMDK is huge, seems similar to the size of allocated storage for it, while what's in use is far less. Hoping i can copy some of the others and have the necessary info to recreate the VM later? On further inspection, only two of them are actually labeled as files: .vmxf, .vmsd, .vswp. Are those three files what i would back up to replicate the VM?

Also, how does one go about actually copying to a network share? If i rightclick files in the datastore for a given VM, i get an option to Move but not to Copy. There is the straight up Copy option, which i assume means it tries to save it to the clipboard and then i paste it somewhere else, and there is also a Download option ... Is there any way to make the files copy directly from the datastore to the network share rather than having to come first to my PC over the network and then from my PC to the network share over the network again?

Thx!

-steve

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lamw
Community Manager
Community Manager

Not sure what product VMware 1.x is, but here is a description of each of the different files that make up a VM: http://www.vmware.com/support/ws5/doc/ws_learning_files_in_a_vm.html the link refers to WS5, but the definitions still hold true for ESX(i)

The datastore browser probably should not be used as a long term solution or even short term for that matter on backing up VMs, if you want to do datastore to datastore copy, you'll need to mount your backup to ESX(i) host (iSCSI/FC SAN or NFS). Do a search on the forum if you're not sure

You'll want to take a look at my ghettoVCB script, paid solution or write your own script to do the backup.

=========================================================================

William Lam

VMware vExpert 2009

VMware ESX/ESXi scripts and resources at:

VMware Code Central - Scripts/Sample code for Developers and Administrators

VMware Developer Comuunity

Twitter: @lamw

If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".

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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks ...

EDIT: Seems a shame to have to back that huge vmdk file up when only a fraction of it is in use - wonder if the better approach on these is to allocate smaller and increase it over time.

Something is odd about the dates on these - the vmdk disk file hasn't changed in two weeks - only the nvram seems to have a current date - and yet many things have changed in the guest OS since then .... Is there something i need to do to force an update of these entries in the datastore browser? I did do a Refresh Storage Usage in the Client Summary tab, but even there it still shows a Last Updated date of two weeks ago.

Also, i'm definitely interested in your script - i started reading about it and if i have questions i should probably discuss them elsewhere than in this forum i assume, but i'd like to just make sure i understand enough to verify it'll definitely work for ESXi going to network share .... It requires SSH access to ESXi host, but i didn't think there was anything there to SSH into under ESXi ... At any rate, if i try to SSH to it using standard settings i normally use to SSH to servers in that subnet in Putty, i get "Connection Refused" .... Is the firmware style distro that ESXi uses supposed to provide an SSH service and if so is there a trick to turning it on? Thx

-steve

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AlbertWT
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Wow, if option number one is free, I'd love to get it Smiley Happy but unfortunately not Smiley Sad

Kind Regards,

AWT

/* Any kind of comment or input would be greatly appreciated */
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EugB
Contributor
Contributor

Same boat here. Got a couple of servers on a VM and just looking for a simple way to back them up and restore if needed.

I appreciate the work done by many to create the scripts, but for me without a heavy VM/Linux background, it just seems pretty daunting.

A few thousand is too much imo to pay to back up a couple of servers.

A couple of hundred or so would be fine. I'm surprised there's not a product at this price to simplify this chore.

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