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bigusdadius
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Image ESX and Restore...

Does anyone have any experience with imaging an ESX server and restoring it dissimilar hardware? Is it even possible?

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sbeaver
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A script is still the way to go. My bosses 5yr old son could rebuild all my ESX servers. That is how effective this method is for building ESX servers.

Any change that I make to an ESX server gets added to the post install scripts and when the install is done I have an ESX server fully installed, configured and ready to go.

IMHO This is the best way to do this

Steve Beaver
VMware Communities User Moderator
VMware vExpert 2009 - 2020
VMware NSX vExpert - 2019 - 2020
====
Co-Author of "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center"
(ISBN:1420070274) from Auerbach
Come check out my blog: [www.virtualizationpractice.com/blog|http://www.virtualizationpractice.com/blog/]
Come follow me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/sbeaver

**The Cloud is a journey, not a project.**

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sbeaver
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Forget about imaging ESX and build yourself a really good scripted install

Steve Beaver
VMware Communities User Moderator
VMware vExpert 2009 - 2020
VMware NSX vExpert - 2019 - 2020
====
Co-Author of "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center"
(ISBN:1420070274) from Auerbach
Come check out my blog: [www.virtualizationpractice.com/blog|http://www.virtualizationpractice.com/blog/]
Come follow me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/sbeaver

**The Cloud is a journey, not a project.**
wobbly1
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the question here is would you really want to. The installation of ESX is such a quick process that the configuration requirements needed to restore to dissimilar hardware seems hardly worthwhile.

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bigusdadius
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I don't disagree. I have a customer that wanted this answer regardless of the ease of install....just doing my due-diligence.

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acr
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Agree with other posters.. Buid your scripted, its the easiest way to go..

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bigusdadius
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I have a customer that is new to VMware and has had some bad experiences in the past attempting to recover at their DR site. From what I understand, this was due to issues with VMs trying to connect to resources at the prod site. Rather than just setting up their DR site exactly (or as close as possible) as the prod site, they would just like to image everything and take it over...I've already explained it may not be the best strategy.

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SecurityThreat2
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The best bet is to have to ESX servers. One in production and the other in disaster. Instead of doing a hard shutdown, vmotion the VMs from one server to the next. Also, if you have a cluster and DRS it will automatically restart the VMs when the primary goes down. Keep in mind that this is based on the fact that it can see the VMs.

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BUGCHK
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restoring it dissimilar hardware?

Not a good idea. Just a few weeks ago I saw a document that mentioned that a hardware change on an existing ESX server can render it unbootable (I don't have the pointer handy, but I think it was a VMworld 2006 presentation from a VMware employee).

I do even suggest to do a new installation after a hardware change.

Why?

It's been two times now that I have installed a new adapter into a server, rebooted and continued using the system. After a new installation (a test environment) I had a different device assignment and was wondering, e.g. why my automated install did not work.

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bister
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Then I'd tell him that it is not possible to run an image of ESX on different hardware because ESX is very hardware dependent (see the "small" list of supported systems etc).

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Nautilus
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Hey Guys,

i can understand bigusdadius !!!!! Yes we all know, that the installation are very quick, But qhat about with all the Files that changed after the installation, or switchconfigs, like vlan IDs, or cron jabs and and and. Some of customers want to do the same. To make a backup from the EX host.

I Know a goog documentation is the best way to configure this Server, but i have to spend some time to do this.

andddd, WE can do this, but some customers says, "we want restore this server without a vmware specialist because we dindt want to pay something fot this" and some other arguments.

The simpl question is, how can i make backup of an ESX host, so if this crashes, to restore easy as possible from the backup \!!!

Best regards from Germany, the sun is shining and i have to work, what a bad world :(((

Have a nice day Guys (and girls Smiley Happy

Kind regards Nautilus ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ If you found this or any other post helpful please consider the use of the Helpfull/Correct buttons to award points
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sbeaver
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A script is still the way to go. My bosses 5yr old son could rebuild all my ESX servers. That is how effective this method is for building ESX servers.

Any change that I make to an ESX server gets added to the post install scripts and when the install is done I have an ESX server fully installed, configured and ready to go.

IMHO This is the best way to do this

Steve Beaver
VMware Communities User Moderator
VMware vExpert 2009 - 2020
VMware NSX vExpert - 2019 - 2020
====
Co-Author of "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center"
(ISBN:1420070274) from Auerbach
Come check out my blog: [www.virtualizationpractice.com/blog|http://www.virtualizationpractice.com/blog/]
Come follow me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/sbeaver

**The Cloud is a journey, not a project.**
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zenariga
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I use Norton Ghost many times. Works better with the versions 2.5 and 3.0

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bister
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Scripted re-installation is a per-default recovery method here. For Windows and ESX servers. IMO restoring configuration from tape after clean re-installation doesn't work very well (particularly for Windows).

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vimas
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Yes, imaging ESX makes sense!

My backup/restore procedure:

1. Backup ESX server[/b]

Insert the Uuntu v5.10 live CD in the cdrom drive.

boot server

Copy all partition information to an FTP server.

root@ubuntu:~# dd if=/dev/sda of=sda.0.dd

root@ubuntu:~# sfdisk –d /dev/sda > sda.sfdisk

root@ubuntu:~# mount /dev/sda2 /mnt

root@ubuntu:~# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt1

root@ubuntu:~# cd /mnt1

root@ubuntu:/mnt1# tar –cvzf sda1.tgz –exclude sda1.tgz ./

root@ubuntu:~# cd /mnt

root@ubuntu:/mnt# tar –cvzf sda2.tgz –exclude sda2.tgz ./

root@ubuntu:/mnt1# ftp x.x.x.x

Upload sda.0.dd, sda.sfdisk, sda1.tgz and sda2.tgz

2. Restore ESX server[/b]

Insert the Ubuntu v5.10 live CD in the cdrom drive.

boot server

root@ubuntu:~# cd /mnt

root@ubuntu:/mnt# ftp x.x.x.x

copy the fdisk partition information from the FTP server.

root@ubuntu:~# dd if=sda.0.dd of=/dev/sda

root@ubuntu:~# sfdisk /dev/sda < sda.sfdisk

root@ubuntu:~# mkfs –t ext3 /dev/sda1

root@ubuntu:~# mkfs –t ext3 /dev/sda2

root@ubuntu:~# mount /dev/sda2 /mnt

root@ubuntu:~# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt1

root@ubuntu:~# cd /mnt1

root@ubuntu:/mnt1# tar –xvpf /mnt/sda1.tgz

root@ubuntu:~# cd /mnt

root@ubuntu:/mnt# tar –xvpf /mnt/sda2.tgz

root@ubuntu:/mnt1# cd /mnt

root@ubuntu:/# umount /mnt1

root@ubuntu:/mnt# chroot ./

bash-2.05# mount /dev/sda1 /boot

bash-2.05# mkswap /dev/sda3

bash-2.05# e2label /dev/sda1 /boot

bash-2.05# e2label /dev/sda2 /

bash-2.05# lilo –v

bash-2.05# reboot

3. Create and restore vmfs

Use the regular vmkfstools to create the vmfs partitions, swapfile and restore vmdk files from your regular backup

Datto
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You could use the freely downloadable Ghost4Linux to image the local ESX hard drives. It images the ESX server hard drive to an FTP server (either by imaging the entire hard drive or by individual partition) and then when needed, retrieves the ESX image back to the same box. No easy resizing of partitions on the fly back to the ESX server though (resizing can be done but you'd have to read much Linux material to get it to happen).

Here's the SourceForge link to Ghost4Linux:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/g4l/

Here's a recent How To Forge document on using G4L:

http://www.howtoforge.com/back_up_restore_harddrives_partitions_with_ghost4linux

Datto

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knightto
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will Ghost4Linux back up VMFS partitions too?

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