Virtuoso
Virtuoso

VM Backup Best practice using vCenter Server

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Hi All,

I'm currently planning to backup my VM inside VMWare ESXi 4, I have

installed trial vCenter Server 4.0 management server.

my 2x ESXi 4 servers connected to a SAN and sharing a single LUN so

in this case I'd like to create another dedicated LUN in the SAN to

hold the Backed up SAN. (see attached)

and I'm still not sure about which license that i should get for this matter ? between Essential or Foundation

My goal is to be able to do:

1. Backup and restore using VCB

2. Ease of VM management creating and managing cloned VM, templates and offline migration (moving between SAN and Local SATA datastore).

HA and VMotion is not important at the moment.

any suggestion and comments will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Kind Regards,

AWT

/* Any kind of comment or input would be greatly appreciated */
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Virtuoso
Virtuoso

There is no way to "upgrade ESXi to ESX" without doing a full reinstallation of the product. If you really want ESX instead of ESXi, you should be able to just install ESX over top of ESXi and tell it to keep any existing VMFS partitions intact. You will lose all of your settings (vSwitches, etc) but you shouldn't lose any virtual machines. In fact if the ESX host is SAN attached then you can simply blow away everything about the ESXi installation and install ESX, and then re-attach the VMFS LUN back to the new ESX host. You shouldn't lose anything doing that. Just make sure that the ESX host isn't attached to the SAN during the ESX installation (disconnect the cable) as that has been known to cause some problems.

You won't get any reduction in functionality if you stay with ESXi. Once properly licensed, ESX and ESXi function exactly the same. The major differences lie in how you manage the servers with the lack of a Service Console on ESXi. Since VMware is planning on getting rid of the Service Console completely in later versions, it might make sense to just go in that direction now and stay with ESXi.

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

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Expert
Expert

vSphere Essentials ($995) can be sufficient to achieve the VCB. And manage both hosts you may choose vCenter Foundation($1495), can support upto 3 Hosts.

Refer the attached licensing document for more information.

Shan

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If you found this information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful". Thanks!!!
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Hi Shan,

Thanks for the reply, It seems to me that vSphere Standard does not include vCenter Server license, therefore i should go with vSphere Essentials, however does that also includes three licenses for ESX ?

Kind Regards,

AWT

/* Any kind of comment or input would be greatly appreciated */
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Virtuoso
Virtuoso

vSphere Essentials includes vCenter Server for Essentials, supports VCB, and allows you to manage up to three hosts running either ESX or ESXi. As long as each host only has a total of two CPUs (not cores, but actual CPU sockets) then you should be ok. From the PDF attached above:

They provide all-in-one license solutions and include licenses for three physical servers (up to two processors each) and a central management server .

The only real problem with this bundle is that you can't purchase a support contact with it. You are forced to use pay per incident support which isn't available 24hrs/day. If this is mission critical I would go with the vSphere Essentials Plus bundle, which gives you some added functionality and also allows you to buy a Gold or Platinum support contract.

vSphere Essentials is available for USD$995 including one year of subscription. Support is optional and available on a per incident basis.

Matt | http://www.thelowercasew.com | @mattliebowitz
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Both Shan and Matty provides me the satisfying answer.

/* Any kind of comment or input would be greatly appreciated */
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Virtuoso
Virtuoso

By getting the vSphere Essentials icould get the following items

3

licenses of VMware ESXi and VMware ESX (deployment-time choice)

VMFS (Virtual Machine File

System)

4-way Virtual SMP

VMware vCenter Server

Agent

VMware vStorage APIs / VMware

Consolidated Backup (VCB)

VMware Update Manager

VMware vCenter Server for

Essentials

as currently I have 2x ESXi 4 servers how to upgrade it to full blown ESX ?

for the backup purpose I'm still not sure how to do it apart from using FastSCP to copy the VM into different location (eg. different LUN of the SAN).

Kind Regards,

AWT

/* Any kind of comment or input would be greatly appreciated */
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Virtuoso
Virtuoso

There is no way to "upgrade ESXi to ESX" without doing a full reinstallation of the product. If you really want ESX instead of ESXi, you should be able to just install ESX over top of ESXi and tell it to keep any existing VMFS partitions intact. You will lose all of your settings (vSwitches, etc) but you shouldn't lose any virtual machines. In fact if the ESX host is SAN attached then you can simply blow away everything about the ESXi installation and install ESX, and then re-attach the VMFS LUN back to the new ESX host. You shouldn't lose anything doing that. Just make sure that the ESX host isn't attached to the SAN during the ESX installation (disconnect the cable) as that has been known to cause some problems.

You won't get any reduction in functionality if you stay with ESXi. Once properly licensed, ESX and ESXi function exactly the same. The major differences lie in how you manage the servers with the lack of a Service Console on ESXi. Since VMware is planning on getting rid of the Service Console completely in later versions, it might make sense to just go in that direction now and stay with ESXi.

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

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Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Ah great Smiley Happy

I was thinking to upgrade my ESXi into ESX as the ESX can be monitored using SNMP Smiley Happy but I shall try it first by upgrading it w/o iSCSI SAN cable connected into it.

I also have enabled the SSH console on my ESXi.

Kind Regards,

AWT

/* Any kind of comment or input would be greatly appreciated */
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Virtuoso
Virtuoso

Enabling the SSH console in ESXi is technically unsupported so be careful with that one. If you're looking for access to logs, run commands against ESXi, and have a general management platform then you should take a look at the vCenter Management Assistant (vMA). The link is below. It's a small virtual appliance you can import and quickly configure on your ESXi host. It can save logs from both of your servers so they are not lost after a reboot, as well as let you access commands that and functions that are normally only at the console. If you're sticking with ESXi I think this is almost a requirement.

http://www.vmware.com/support/developer/vima/

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