I tried looking into all those automated solutions out there, but just the idea of typing tens of weird commands into the ESXi's command line to configure something give me the creeps.
I only have a small home server with (currently) about five VMs (there won't ever be more than 10 of them), I need to have backed up on semi-regular basis.
What would be the easiest way to do this in terms of setting up besides simply shutting all VMs down once a month and manually copying them to an external HDD via WinSCP (that method _seems_ to have the downside of having to copy the entire virtual disks instead of only the space the VMs actually use?
In order to back up VMs storing only the changed blocks, you must have a licensed version of ESXi. The free version does not count. From there, you can use one of many free or paid tools to backup up VMs at the image level. Veeam seems to be a community favorite around here.