2 Replies Latest reply on Dec 9, 2019 8:26 AM by a.p.

    How to backup a single ESXi server and its VMs

    Dan910 Novice

      I've been doing a bunch of reading, not really able to sort through it all.  Here is the config.


      1 free ESXi server installed on a Dell server that is RAID 5 with 3 TB of storage.  On that ESXi server I have one VM running Windows Server 2019.  That server has an OS partition of 500gb and a data partition of 1.5TB.  There is almost nothing on the data partition but it will end up with somewhere around 100-200gb of data on it over the next couple of weeks.  It will grow over time of course, no one ever deletes data. :-)


      That is the only server in place.  We have 9 work stations running Windows 10 Pro that all have a share mapped to the virtual Windows 2019 server to allow for data sharing.


      So the question is, what is my best and I suppose least expensive way to backup/protect the ESXi server and the VM(s) (maybe in the future another VM gets created there)?  This environment is sort of unique because I only have the one server.  What do I need to do to protect against a physical failure of the Dell server hardware?  I was figuring I needed to backup both the Windows VM as well as the ESXi server.  But is all I really need to do is backup the VM?  If the hardware failed then I build a new ESXi server on new hardware, restore the VM to the new box and spin it up?


      Thanks for any help/suggestions.  This is my first real delve into the world of VMWare so trying to figure out sort of the best practices in this small office implementation.




        • 1. Re: How to backup a single ESXi server and its VMs
          daphnissov Guru
          vExpertCommunity Warriors

          You need a licensed version of ESXi (even Essentials will do) in order to be able to take image-based backups of the VMs riding on it. That coupled with ESXi configuration backups give you the ability to restore the config of a host and its VMs. Secondly, you need some halfway decent backup software that has scheduling abilities. Those backups should be stored external to this host.


          If you want replication (which is not the same as backup), you'd need a second ESXi host to serve as the replica host. VMs from host A would be replicated to host B.


          There is obviously more, but this is some starter information.

          • 2. Re: How to backup a single ESXi server and its VMs
            a.p. Guru
            vExpertCommunity WarriorsUser Moderators

            There are several option for available.

            The currently most popular one might be the Veeam Backup & Replication Community Edition, which you can use to either do a VM based backup (that however requires at least an Essentials license for the ESXi host), or an agent based backup (treating the VM like a physical server). It may even be possible to just install the Veeam Agent on the server to do the backup, which however provides less options.

            As you mentioned, backing up the ESXi host itself with a simple configuration may result in more work than to reinstall it, if it ever breaks.