msbooth
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Contributor

ESX Configuration Replication

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Thsi may be a dumb question, but, we are about to deploy anumber of new ESX 3i hosts. Is ther a method of replicating or trasferring the ESX configuration (vswitch,storage, custom adv. settings, etc...) from our existing host to the new hosts?

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Charu
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Enthusiast

The RCLI command 'vicfg-cfgbackup' can be used to back up and restore the entire configuration of an ESXi server. You can find out more on how to use this command here: http://pubs.vmware.com/vi3i_e35/setup_guide/setup_backup_recover.5.1.html. Please note, though, that this command assumes that the restore is being done onto the same exact system from which the backup was taken. If the hardware is different, then you'd need to check to make sure that an incorrect configuration did not result.

Also, the restore options installs the licensing information that was present during the original backup, overwriting any licensing information already on the host. If you have host-based licensing, then you will need to go and restore the correct license information before you work with the system.

What type of license do you have for your ESXi hosts? We can let you know the proper procedure for maintaining the correct license information.

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Charu
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Enthusiast

The RCLI command 'vicfg-cfgbackup' can be used to back up and restore the entire configuration of an ESXi server. You can find out more on how to use this command here: http://pubs.vmware.com/vi3i_e35/setup_guide/setup_backup_recover.5.1.html. Please note, though, that this command assumes that the restore is being done onto the same exact system from which the backup was taken. If the hardware is different, then you'd need to check to make sure that an incorrect configuration did not result.

Also, the restore options installs the licensing information that was present during the original backup, overwriting any licensing information already on the host. If you have host-based licensing, then you will need to go and restore the correct license information before you work with the system.

What type of license do you have for your ESXi hosts? We can let you know the proper procedure for maintaining the correct license information.

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Would it be "supported" to use the vicfg-cfgbackup method with the force option? Oremel's post here http://communities.vmware.com/thread/134032?tstart=120 suggests that it is not recommended.

Charu
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

As ocremel points out, if the hardware is not identical, then you might have some issues. I would recommend testing it out on one system and then manually checking if things are configured as intended before proceeding.

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msbooth
Contributor
Contributor

Guys,

Thanks for the responses.

The backup idea is intriguing, however we will be using at least two different hardware profiles. I know we could just create two backups, but after reading the Mass Deployment thread, I think I would feel safer using post install scripts, as a more granular and replicatable method for other staff to follow. That being said, does anyone know of a good primer for scripting for ESX3i?

Charu, we use a centralized license server, even if we don't decide to go with the backup method, I would still like to know the procedure.

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This guide http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vi3_35/esx_3i_e/r35/vi3_35_25_3i_server_config.pdf covers the remote command line interface if you haven't seen it yet.

In regards to licensing, if you were using host based licensing which you aren't then you would need to add a new license file to each host you clone to ensure that you're not using the same license file on each cloned host. In the case of using a central license server, I would suggest leaving the host image in eval mode. That way you don't end up with cloned images connecting to your production license server with the same host name. That's just a guess as I haven't tested it myself.

msbooth
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks Guys,

I think you have definitely got me going down the right track. I'll be testing the the eval mode backups as well as the post install scripting over the next few days.

Again, many thanks.

Matt

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