10 Replies Latest reply on Oct 7, 2018 11:43 AM by dbalcaraz

    How do I backup my modest ESXi implmentation?

    Roveer Novice

      A year ago I decided it was time to learn some VM.  I went out and got a Dell R710 and installed the Dell optimized ESXi 6.0 software on it.  I then went on to create 4 VM's, (2) Win 10, (1) UBuntu 18 and (1) Win 7.

       

      I create new vm's from time to time for certain projects, but for the most part this is my environment.  Most of the time I only have a single win7 VM powered on that run a specific app for my network.

       

      All my VM's and ESXi install sits on a 4 drive raid5 setup.  I boot from a USB KEY installed inside the R710.

       

      In the event the USB KEY or the RAID should become unrecoverable I could restore my environment without too much hastle.  To be honest I've forgotten a lot of the customization I did when I first set up the environment so being able to easily recover would be really nice.

       

      I suppose for the USB KEY I could just take a snapshot of that using some kind of iso making software. That would allow me to restore the usb key quickly should it fail

      I see there is free software to backup VM's (Veem).  Should i use that to backup each VM?

      What about ESXi itself?  What's the best way to get that backed up?  I'm trying to protect myself should my USB Boot Key and Raid5 array go south without having to reinstall and reconfigure all of ESXi (which is now fuzzy in my mind).

       

      Thanks,

       

      Roveer

        • 1. Re: How do I backup my modest ESXi implmentation?
          dbalcaraz Expert
          vExpert

          Hi Roveer,

           

          For VMs, Veeam or Altaro are great solutions. I think Veeam has no limits when choosing VMs to back up however with Altaro is limited to 2 VMs per host or something like that.

          To save your ESXi configuration, you can do it by command line on the ESXi, more information: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2042141

           

          Anything else, let us know!

          • 2. Re: How do I backup my modest ESXi implmentation?
            Roveer Novice

            So I installed Veeam tonight to find out that it does not support the free version of ESXi.  So that still leaves me looking for a vm backup solution.  If the other mentioned product only allows 2 vm's to be backed up, that won't work for me as I have 5 VM's (Windows & Linux).

            • 3. Re: How do I backup my modest ESXi implmentation?
              dbalcaraz Expert
              vExpert

              Sorry Roveer, but as you didn't mention you had a free version of ESXi I couldn't know it.

              Then, you could use Trilead. I use it time ago and it was good.

              You will have to run the schedule manually as it's the free version, but it works for a lab.

              • 4. Re: How do I backup my modest ESXi implmentation?
                Roveer Novice

                It seems like all these backup programs are doing is making a copy of the VM directory and zipping it.

                 

                Since my VM's are very static in nature I am fine doing that myself manually.

                 

                I tried pulling a WIN10 VM over to my nas, zipped, unzipped, moved it back to ESXi under a different directory and re-added it to the inventory and it seems to be working just fine.

                 

                So, if just preserving copies of my VM directories is enough to effectively "backup" my VM, then that's probably the easiest way for me to go.

                 

                What am I missing here?  I've read something about not being able to restore on a different license number (different instance of ESXi).  Is that true?

                 

                If I were to lose my ESXi and had to re-install it would I apply the same license I had before?  Would it still allow me to re-install my VM's the same way I'm describing above?

                 

                Since my lab is so small It's really not worth it to me to try and use backup software which tons of features I really don't need.  Of course unless I'm totally missing something here and my proposed methods would be unrecoverable.

                 

                OR...

                 

                What about export / ova?  Does that work as well?

                 

                 

                Where have I gone wrong?

                • 5. Re: How do I backup my modest ESXi implmentation?
                  Roveer Novice

                  I dug into the cli stuff tonight and all it generated was a very small 35k file.  That surprised me.

                   

                  My ESXi is very small.  I have only a single disk on my system.  It's a raid 5 array and looks like this:

                   

                  esxi.jpg

                   

                  So.  based on how I'm looking at it I would think I would have to make backups of the following:

                   

                  USB KEY -  This would give me my boot environment should the key ever die

                  DATASTORE drive (above)  would give me all my VM's and ISO directory

                  Configuration? (the file I made with the cli)

                   

                  Would backing these 3 things up allow me to restore in the event that my datastore drive or USB key went south?

                   

                  I'm thinking if it were to die due to usb key failure I would just restore the usb key.  If the array ever died I'm thinking I'd have to do a base ESXi install, then restore the configuration file and the datastore directory and I should get everything back?  Does this sound feasible?  If not, is there a document that would outline how to totally backup and recover an ESXi free 6.0 (Dell specific) system?

                   

                  I just feel totally unprotected and having put a ton of hours into setting it all up, I'd like to know i could recover it should it die.

                  • 7. Re: How do I backup my modest ESXi implmentation?
                    continuum Guru
                    vExpertUser ModeratorsCommunity Warriors

                    > I dug into the cli stuff tonight and all it generated was a very small 35k file.  That surprised me.
                    That is all you need to restore your current config.
                    Reinstalling ESXi to a new USB-stick and restoring your last config is a matter of maybe half an hour.
                    So imaging your USB is not really necessary.
                    To backup your VMs you could power off your VMs occasionally and  use tar and gzip to create a compressed archive for each VMs directory.
                    Download that tarball to a safe location and you can restore your VMs in case the datastore dies.
                    By the way - I highly recommend to use thick provisioned VMs in such small environments.
                    That will radically reduce the risk of losing your VMs when you have a power failure of the host.

                    • 8. Re: How do I backup my modest ESXi implmentation?
                      Roveer Novice

                      Yes, I tried iperius.  That's what led me to understand that I can just preserve the VM's other easier ways.

                      • 9. Re: How do I backup my modest ESXi implmentation?
                        Roveer Novice

                        I also seem to have had success exporting to an ova template.  That also seems to have compressed the file as well.  Seems like that would be the easiest way to backup and restore VM's.  Is there something wrong with doing it that way?

                        • 10. Re: How do I backup my modest ESXi implmentation?
                          dbalcaraz Expert
                          vExpert

                          It shouldn't as there are files in a particular state.

                          But anyway you could use the way you want it. Backup your VMs with a 3rd party, exporting, zipping a file from esxcli, etc.