I have spent the last few days trying to find a free backup solution to the newly free ESXi for windows only enviroments (in particular Windows XP). The solution for me was the following:
1. Installing Windows Services for UNIX (WSFU)
2. Copying the ESXi Server password and group files to Windows
3. Configuring WSFU for accepting ESX Server connections
4. Sharing the Windows folder for NFS compatibility
5. Configuring the ESXi Server to mount the Window NFS Share as Datastore.
6. Setup Backup Script
Attached is the complete steps.
I take NO credit for any of this. This is just a complation of others work formated to suit my needs and felt others could benift from it as I have.
I completely agree with Brett in one of the other replies.
The backing up of VM's is much more efficiant and certainly cheaper, using Imaging software within the VM OS.
There are many varieties ou there:
- Symantec Ghost (now called Backup Exec Server Recovery)
- Acronis TrueImage
- O&O DiskImage
- Macrium Reflect
- EASEUS ToDo Backup
- Drive-Image R-Drive
Prices range from +/- 50$ to +/-1500 $
Acronis is probably the best product, but also the most expensive one or the bunch.
Most of these can be controlled through scripting, can do Full backups, differential and incremental. Some can be managed through a central console. and some can actually make snapshots just like you do in the hypervisors themselves.
As mentioned by Brett they only backup actual data so even if the partitions, backed up might be 100GB, they will only backup a couple of GB if that is what's on the (virtual) harddisk. Additionally they compress the backed up data so from my point of view, this is absolutelly the best way to create backups of your VM's.
To go even further, I would suggest a product called Replay 4 from www.appassure.com.
This product created images (Full and differentials) through a management (core) server and stores them somewhere on the network.While the products above will create full/differential/incremental backups indefinetly, which will make you run out of disk space after some time, Replay works with a retention system, a bit like a SQL server: after a set time (1 day, 2 days,....) the differential backups will be merged with the base image and therefore will not necessarily grow that much. If no additional data is added to the server but only things (settings) are changed, the base image will not grow at all. Additionally the backed up data is heavily compressed and can automatically be replicated to a 2nd, 3rd ...,10th..... site to another Replay Core server + storage repository. Here, it can sit and wait to be restored OR Replay can automatically create a VM on an ESX (full version) and continuously inject replicated data into the VMDK file. if the main server goes down, you just start up the VM on the DR site and you're up and running again.This is called Virtual standby and can be done on the main site too, through the first Relpay core server. Replay can use VMWare ESX, ESXi, VMWare Server, Workstation and even VM Player aswell as Hyper-V, but the best option is the Full ESX as Replay automatically can create the VM here.
The product can be licensed per protected Windows server,Windows server with SQL, Windows Server with Exchange, VMWare host with unlimited VM's, XEN Server Host with unlimited VM's, Hyper-V with unlimited VM's. Replication is an option aswell as restore to different HW.
The price is actually pretty decent. for what the product offers.
I hope this helps someone.
I don't get what is the difference
basically my enviroment is to bakcup VMs which have SQL mainly.
My environment is VC 4.1 update 1 and ESXi 4.1 update Standard licensing
are these OK or I would need vDR? o something more enterprise?
Functionally the two scripts are the same. In your environment you could use either. For the ghettoVCB script you would need to enable SSH on each ESXi host or have it triggered by a local cron job on each ESXi host. The G2 version does not have that requirement.
I have used both and they are very solid and reliable. There is no harm using the scripts for part of VM protection strategy. I use the scripts alongside other methods of backup including vDR. The biggest benefit to the scripts is that you have an immediately accessible image to run in the case of a problem. No restore just add the VM to inventory and power on. The downside is that it is a complete copy of the original. There is no incremental and so long term storage will require lots of space.
There are lots of other choices as well. Have a look at http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-10780
mmm there is no incremental backup option but you know when a machine requieres a one week backup it is a good tool since it's solid as you state
thanks for the input G2 seems to be the option
so you basically create a new backup avery day for your VM? you backpu today tomorrow you create a new backup and delete the previous one?
I say this for VMs that you want or need to backup every day
For critical VMs I do a backup with the ghetto script every day with a 3 day rotation but also do a vDR for those VMs. The vDR backup can retain a copy for many months or years based on a deduplicated copy and applied changes. I also use other tools depending on what the VM is doing. I have hourly SQL dumps and system state backups in Windows VMs and rsysnc replication for linux VMs. vDR is great for long term storage but takes time to recover a running VM.
I know your solution is for Windows, but I wanted to comment regarding backing up to a linux NFS store.
I am migrating my VM's from Vmware Server 2 on a Linux box with Software RAID/LVM to an ESXi 4.1 box with no Hardware RAID.
I can't have my machines down for too long (less than an hour), so backing up VM's cold is not a great option. But I figured in the Linux Vmware Server environment, I would do an LVM snap and backup the snapshot. For the most part it worked, I did get a crash consistent backup. Here is the command I used.
lvcreate -L +40G -p r -s -n datastore1snap VolGroup00/datastore1
mount -o ro /dev/VolGroup00/datastore1snap /mnt/backups/
tar zcvf /media/usb/Win08R2.tar.gz /mnt/backups/Win08R2
With the End of Life data looming for VMware Server 2, I had to consider a new environment, so I decided to move to ESXi, moving VM's to ESXi from Server 2 is another conversation.
I still I wanted a way to backup full VM's hot and at low cost (this is my home environment). I know I could run VM's on a Linux NFS mount and do the same LVM snap and tar. But I wanted to try something new and run VM's on local SATA disks and use my old Linux box as a destination for backups.
So on ESXi I mounted the NFS volume and was able to simply copy the .vmx and .vmxf file (which are tiny) from the sata to the nfs share and from the command line of ESXi, create a snapshot and use vmkfstools to backup the actual vmdk.
cp /vmfs/volumes/sata0/Win08R2/*.vmx* /vmfs/volumes/nfs1/Win08R2/
vim-cmd vmsvc/snapshot.create /vmfs/volumes/sata0/Win08R2/Win08R2.vmx backup "Temporary Backup Created for copying" quiesced
vmkfstools -d thin -i /vmfs/volumes/sata0/Win08R2/Win08R2.vmdk /vmfs/volumes/nfs1/Win08R2/Win08R2.vmdk
vim-cmd vmsvc/snapshot.remove /vmfs/volumes/sata0/Win08R2/Win08R2.vmx backup
Restoring the VM or running it on a new host was as simple as reversing the vmkfstools process. Going from NFS to SATA.
You will have to check and work around any existing snapshots.
I can even script a shutdown command if I needed to, so it would be a nice cold backup, then turn on the VM again.
I have not fully tested it but I think I can run a cron job on the linux box to SSH into the ESXi box and run the script on scheduled basis once a week or nightly if needed.
I still do backups within the VM (ntbackup, tar, dump, amanda, backup exec, etc), but this seems like an interesting way to do a full backup.
Finally, here is an interesting side note, I had a 60GB thick provisioned VM, after backup up as thin on the NFS mount, it took up 41GB, I used the following tar command with S flag
tar zScvf /media/usb/Win08R2.tar.gz /exports/nfs/Win08R2
and it compressed down from 41GB to 21GB and sped up the backup.
Am I missing anything? Seems to work, I tried this a few times and am ready to move everything to Whitebox ESXi boxes and dump Server 2.
I'm not a Linux / Unix specialist so I tend to go for WIndows based solutions....
Forgetting about the migration from VMWare server to ESXi.
Once on ESXi, you have a great backup tool called VM Explorer from www.trilead.com.
It is not a super fancy tool like PHD Virtual and such , but it does a good job and is free for up to 5 ESX hosts.
But even the commercial version is affordable +/- 750 $US for unlimited number of hosts and many additional features.
And if you want to backup from withing the VM, you can use "R-Image for Linux" from http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/image-for-linux.htm
I love the simple gui look of http://www.trilead.com/
but again the price is far to high for a single home user.
I would love there to be a product as easy to use as this in a typical easy GUi interface.
I find the Linux command solutions to complicated as I am not a linux user and it goes over my head.
do let me know if any one finds a product like http://www.trilead.com/ but a a sensible price.
Im not looking for a freebee, but let be sensible about the pricing developers?
Hey Marc. We just purchased AppAssure's Replay 4 and were told about the feature for virtual standby and informed them of what version of VMWare we are using. Come to find out they are now telliing us that virtual standby does not work with ESXi 4.1.
Were you able to get it to work with your 4.1 environment. I cannot get the standby wizard to connect to the evironment either the VCenter or the ESXi servers them selves.
Please let me know.
Hey there. well, the best option is of course the Full vesion of Esx. I don't know if it is completely legal but you can install a full esx server and use an ESXi license. This will give you the limited functionality of the ESXi while having the full service console environment in the background The alternative is to use ESXi with a storage unit that supports NFS. Make the NFS share available for the Replay core server by installing file services for Unix on the core server. (I assume that if the NFS share also supports CIFS, you probably don't need to File services for Unix.) Then create a NFS datastore on the ESXi that points to the same share. In replay you now use the ESXi option for the virtual standby and choose the NFS share as target The vmdk file should now be visible in the new datastore on the esx side. you can now easily build a vm and select 'use existing disk'. This is really the only difference from the direct connect option. Once the vm has been created it works exactly the same way. the vmdk files are constantly being updated until you start it up. I haven't tried it, but iscsi might also work if you configure the iscsi volume to support multiple connnections. Read the following kb article http://www.appassure.com/support/KB/4120052/ Another, perhaps easier opltion would be to use Hyper-V server R2 which also is a free version that starts up to a,command line environment.vyou could share the internal drive so the Replay sever can export the vhd files to the Hyper-V internal drive. Again, you then create the vm manually and use existing vm-disk files. Hope this,helps
vBackup (www.vbackup.com) has a simple-to-use interface and will have several free and paid editions to choose from. vBackup is still in public beta so you can try it without the fuss of license requests, etc.
Hope this helps!
can any body tell me how can i use this WSFU on a win xp, so that i can mount multiple esxi server to one NFS server? or do i need to have multiple NFS server?one NFS server for one esxi?or i just need to create multiple user with admin right in oerder to map the NFS to multiple esxi?
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Hello again, I just upgraded to the latest version of Replay (v.220.127.116.1188 I think) We discovered a small issue with the reporting when the SQL optipn is used and were advised to upgrade. (the problem was solved) To my delight the new version now is able to connect directly to ESXi too (4.0 or higher) and also supports ESXi 5.0 as well as thin and thick provisioning option. This should solve your problem too. !!! Perhaps you've complained to Appassure and were the reason they added this option. 🙂
We use a cheaper backup solution called Uraniumbackup, with new feauture, now it can backup and restore Esx Vm directly, from a windows machine.
I'm testing it, and would be interesting to share opinions about it.
I have a mixed instalation of both phisical and virtual machines.
I use VMWare ESXi 5 free to host 2 Windows Server 2008 VMs.
I'm looking for a good software that care of all my phisical and virtual machines backups.
I've tested Acronis, Symantec BE, R1 Soft, Veem, Shadow Protect and now I'm a bit confused and needing some help please.
My IT infraestructure is:
One ESXi 5 Free Host with:
1 Windows EBS 2008 x64 - Active Directory Server
1 Windows EBS 2008 x64 - TMG and Exchange edge transport Server
One Windows EBS 2008 x64 - Exchange 2007 Server
One Windows Server 2008 x64 - SQL Server
One Windows Server 2008 R2 X64 - File Server
I have a machine running Windows Server 2008 x64 available, and I'm planing to make it my backups server.
Wath is the best, cost/efective, solution for my scenario?
Thanks in advance.