stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

what is basic setup I need to buy to easily backup ESXi VM's?

Hello, have been running the free version of ESXi on a single Dell PowerEdge host, with 2 virtual servers on it. To date, i have found no effective way to back up my VM's and am getting very nervous about losing them if something goes wrong. Was recommended to use VEEAM but they no longer support free version of ESXi.

Now i am thinking in terms of going the paid route with VMWare for ESXi (even though i'm just running one host - had hoped to wait a year until we moved more VMWare 2 VM's over to ESXi hosts, but i've run out of free solutions that are easy to implement), but i'm having a hard time figuring out what i need to actually buy given my limited use situation ( no need to manage a large infrastructure, vSphere client works fine for this one host, i just need a way to back up VM's to network drive).

I've talked to several the use and love VEEAM, but they typically have many hosts and clusters. I'm not clear on what minimum VMWare licensing i need to purchase for my single host, and once i get that whether that will be sufficient to backup VM's on my ESXi host to a network share without having to shut them down, or if i ALSO need to buy something like VEEAM on top of it, which might more or less double the cost. If anyone knows all the offerings well enough to suggest the basics needed for this scenario would greatly appreciate the help.

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11 Replies
lamw
Community Manager
Community Manager

You can also take a look at this 100% free solution:

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

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".

AndreTheGiant
Immortal
Immortal

See this list:

PS: Veeam (but also Vizioncore) has a license based on the number of socket

Andre

Andre | http://about.me/amauro | http://vinfrastructure.it/ | @Andrea_Mauro
YLui-at-Resolve
Contributor
Contributor

i noticed no one has mentioned Acronis backup yet.

it's excellent for the task.

if you have the home version you can setup a automated backup schedule

if you have the corporate network managed version is even better.

specially if you have universal restore.

then you can move machines between VM world and Real world totally painless (provided you have all your drivers ready for the real world)

if you have the ESX infrastructure with the central managed backup, it works good, but Acronis is better for its frexibility between the real world and VM world.

Cheers! Smiley Happy

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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks, all, for the info. I'll check out that list in greater detail, and for the first time i'm notice on the freescript there is a version that doesn't require SSH'ing.

One thing i'm still not quite clear on is why there is such a proliferation of third party support products - i can't quite figure out what is lacking in the paid version of ESXi that it needs to be supplemented with third party functionality ... ?

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VMmatty
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Using a full license of ESXi opens up all of the enterprise class features like VMotion, HA, etc. At that point the host funcitons just like a traditional ESX (or Classic ESX) host. Organizations that have the resources to pay for licenses to open up those features also prefer to use third party solutions to backup their environment. Those organizations need to use software that has a company with a technical support staff behind it so that they can get support should there be an issue. They usually can't rely on things like the script linked above should they run into configuration problems or issues.

In general there are a lot of third party tools available to help manage an ESX/ESXi environment. The differentiator between the free license and the paid license is not so much about the support for third party tools but rather the ability to use VMware enterprise features.

Matt | http://www.thelowercasew.com | @mattliebowitz
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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks, that's interesting. Partly what i'm trying to discern is if i can talk the powers that be into paying for the paid version of ESXi, that i will have the ability to back up to a network share without shutting down the VM's, just using the vSphere client i already use. And that i won't have to turn right around and say, "oh, whoops, looks like we'll need to lay down several thousand dollars more, because going to full paid ESXi still isn't allowing me to get the backup functionality i need."

The reason i'm questioning whether i'll be able to do that is the proliferation of third party products .... In otherwords, if just upgrading to fully paid ESXi will give me the backup functionality i need, then i'm wondering why people are still buying VEEAM to do their backups. I left a request for info with VMWare, but it's been a couple weeks with no response. Was hoping someone in here could definitely tell me if the paid version of ESXi will allow backups to network share without turning off VM's with me using the standard vSphere client. This is all ESXi 4 btw ...

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VMmatty
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

You will be able to back VMs from the vSphere client depending on the license of vSphere that you buy. If you buy vSphere Advanced or greater you will get VMware Data Recovery as part of your license. Data Recovery is a virtual appliance that allows you to backup virutal machines at the disk level and is managed by the vSphere client. This will work with both ESX and ESXI. You can get more information on the product here:

http://www.vmware.com/products/data-recovery/

Products like Veeam Backup offer a more robust feature set than VMware Data Recovery, as it is the first iteration and can be considered a 1.0. It may give you what you want but I would do more research to ensure it provides exactly what you're looking for.

Matt | http://www.thelowercasew.com | @mattliebowitz
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YLui-at-Resolve
Contributor
Contributor

the coolest thing about a fully licensed version of ESX or ESXi is that you get to use VMotion

that feature alone saves you tons of downtime.

it's super flexible, many times i do live cloning of systems, or as we sometimes call it "manual backup" of the latest version, for those "must have" or "critical changes" that needs to be saved.

normally we just leave it on auto schedule with Acronis, for non important system images we keep archived simply as a "just in case" sort of scenario.

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DSTAVERT
Immortal
Immortal

All the cool features everyone is talking about assume that you have more than one ESXi host and shared storage (SAN or NFS). For a single host and no shared storage you are just fine with the free version and lamws ghettoVCB script. You will still need some form of network storage but that doesn't need to be much.

-- David -- VMware Communities Moderator
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GrantLui
Contributor
Contributor

2 method that you can use for a windows guest OS, I used both of them and they are proven work.

1st is free, u'll need to get a symantec ghost.exe for DOS, then prepare a SMB file share machine, boot the VM by some network enable boot disk, like "bartboot disk" or "netboot", (just find them from google). run the command "ghost.exe -split=650" where "split=650" means splitting the ghost image each into 650MB, this is because DOS network environment will not support filesize over 2GB, 2nd advantage of this method is that u can easily fit the image to a CD-R, anytime, u can use the disk to image from ghost to backup and image to disk to restore.

2nd is a solution from IBM, don't get scared and think it will be expensive coz the name. It's call the IBM Tivoli Fastback Storage Manager, one of the module it has is a "bare machine recovery", just install the BMR client on the VM, and on the other side, have a spare PC to run "Fastback Server", the Fastback Server will suck all the VMs which has a BMR client installed, after sucking the full image, it also does a job like a "Flight Recorder" and keep an on going snapshot of ur VM where there are delta changes on the VM. Anytime, you can restore the image from the Fastback Server by booting from the BMR boot CD on a VM. One advantage of this is that it can recover everything on a destination machine even with a dissimilar hardware configuration from the original one. Particularly good tools for P2V as well, so u can do P2V or even V2P!

Tivoli Storage Manage

http://www-01.ibm.com/software/tivoli/products/storage-mgr/productline/index.html

Tivoli Storage Manager FastBack for Bare Machine Recovery

http://www-01.ibm.com/software/tivoli/products/storage-mgr-fastback-bmr/

Trial download: Tivoli Storage Manager 5.5.4.2

http://www14.software.ibm.com/webapp/download/preconfig.jsp?id=2009-08-17+11%3A17%3A04.211442R&S_TAC...

Skynet Corporation Limited
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stevedahlberg
Contributor
Contributor

Very interesting, all the responses. Thank you.

Regarding VMotion, does it require any other piece than just paid ESXi on a single host physical server (in my case running two VM's) and a SAN or NAS or will a network share do?.

Or are multiple ESXi hosts required and/or someother VMWare infrastructure product? I may still try the script version for now, but one justification for looking at the paid version is i have a number of VMWare 2 VM's on an RHEL5 host that i could conceivably convert and move to ESXi down the road, but i wouldn't do that until well after i have my process nailed down and able to clone or backup the current ESXi's VM's to the network share.

In our case the network share is an OES2 Linux server using eDir on the same subnet as the ESXi host and VM's.

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