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Disaster Recovery of VMWare License Server

We have three ESX servers, (all independant with no SAN) and are all licensed to a VMWare License Server that is running within a virtual machine on the first server. All three servers virtual machines are backed up using vcbMounter to a holding area on each disk. We have a Linux backup agent installed on each server which runs a script that backs up each virtual machine with vcbMounter. We are not backing up the Linux guest OS itself.

Imagine the DR scenario where all three servers become unusable.

My recovery plan is as follows:

1) Reload ESX from scratch on each server using the same install options as the original install

2) Install Linux backup agent to each server and recover the vcbMounter files.

3) Recreate virtual machines on each server

Now comes the problem. All was going OK until we got to here.

You can't start the virtual servers because you don't have an up and running license server (because it is within one of the virtual machines you are trying to recover).

What is the solution ?

1) Is it even recommended that you run your license server on a virtual machine? Should it be running on another physical server ?

2) My thoughts are that you need a temporary license to get you up and running so that you can then point your servers back towards the license server to license them properly ?

3) Should we be backing up the complete Linux OS for each server? By doing a recovery of the entire server this would bring back the licenses at the same. Would the problem above then not arise ?

We will be implementing a SAN shortly which will open up other possibilities in VMWare but until then we need a recovery program that we know will work should we need to rebuild.

Any help appreciated with the above. Thanks.

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2 Replies

Why don't you just install the license server piece on some desktop for a short periord of time and point VirtualCenter to that license server. Once you get your virtual machines back up, to include the license server virtual machine, change the licensing back to the virtual machine.

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It sounds like you are running a version of ESX other than 3.5. ESX 3.5 includes a eval period that will allow you to start a VM and run it for a certain amount of time. I believe this time is 30 days. Get ESX running and start your VM in order to lices your ESX servers.

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