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    VMware ESXi Backup

    Hi guys,

    I've been using this forum for a while, and its great! This is the first time I've got round to posting something, but I hope to keep it up now.

    Basically, we were looking at virtual servers, and decided to implement a basic system over the summer. We are using the now-free VMware ESXi server, hosting a few Windows servers and a Linux LAMP server (the one on virtual appliances is v-easy to setup).

    I'm loving the VMware software, its all so easy, but the only thing I can't figure out how to do is backup the vmx's and vmdk's. We use Symantec Backup exec 12, and don't want to have to install an agent on each virtual machine (£200+ per machine, not fun!). Does anyone have any experience with this and can you advise please?

    Thanks in advance,

    David

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    I assume you're using local disks, rather than NFS? How large are your vms?

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    I'm using a local RAID array. The VMs are generally less than 20gb each at the moment. We do have a server capable of hosting NFS shares and iSCSI arrays, but I dont want to use that as the main storage for VMs.

    David

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I'll second esXpress, use the freebie version here.

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    Thanks for that recommendation. I've looked on the website, and it doesn't seem to support ESXi, only ESX. Am I right in thinking it needs to be installed via the service console (which ESXi doesn't have)?

    David

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    See this thread ESXi Backup Solution

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    VMware ESXi Backup Tool

    We used a product call iBac VIP from Idealstor to backup our VMs. We have 2 ESXi hosts and it is working pretty well. Info is below if interested.

    VMware Backup – iBac Virtual Infrastructure Proxy

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    Quote Originally Posted by dyoung5 View Post
    We do have a server capable of hosting NFS shares and iSCSI arrays, but I dont want to use that as the main storage for VMs.

    David
    But that's the best bit about using ESXi - if you use an iSCSI storage server to host all of the VM's - then if your physical vmaware server actually fails, you can simply use any old spare server (or god forbid workstation if your desperate), install ESXi on the server, hook it up to the iSCSI box and then right click on all your VM's and re-import them. That way you can get all your VM's back up in 30 mins or so.

    If your using local storage and your physical server dies - what are you going to do then? You have to get your physical server repaired before you can get your VM's back up - this will take longer than 30 mins - I garuntee!


    Quote Originally Posted by dyoung5 View Post
    Thanks for that recommendation. I've looked on the website, and it doesn't seem to support ESXi, only ESX. Am I right in thinking it needs to be installed via the service console (which ESXi doesn't have)?

    David

    The ESXi version is on the way. Cant wait for it meself!

    Butuz

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz View Post
    But that's the best bit about using ESXi - if you use an iSCSI storage server to host all of the VM's - then if your physical vmaware server actually fails, you can simply use any old spare server (or god forbid workstation if your desperate), install ESXi on the server, hook it up to the iSCSI box and then right click on all your VM's and re-import them. That way you can get all your VM's back up in 30 mins or so.
    Although there are alot of hardware restrictions for ESXi, most normal workstations wont work nor will many old server.

    Luckily our RM Xeons can have ESXi...

    FYI: VMware View (new) starter pack with 10 view licences, web based VM logins and has V3 with consolodated backup for about £700 to education.

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    VMWare View is for delivering virtualised desktops though?

    Ben

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz View Post
    But that's the best bit about using ESXi - if you use an iSCSI storage server to host all of the VM's - then if your physical vmaware server actually fails, you can simply use any old spare server (or god forbid workstation if your desperate), install ESXi on the server, hook it up to the iSCSI box and then right click on all your VM's and re-import them. That way you can get all your VM's back up in 30 mins or so.
    Butuz
    There are a few reasons why I dont want to have the main datastore on the storage server:

    • The server is Windows and has 3rd party software loaded. I don't want to start a big debate, but with a much lower footprint and no extra software, ESXi will be more stable.
    • We sometimes need to reboot it for updates, etc. This would mean having to shut down our VM server as well.
    • It only has SATA disks, whereas our VM server has SAS disks.

    I have found a script, which I run to snap the VMs and backup the snaps. But for most of the critical servers I have installed Backup Exec agents because of specific software, i.e. SQL server.

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    VMWare View is for delivering virtualised desktops though?
    Yep, View is... but the View starter pack has:

    1 V3 Enterprise licence (HA, VMFS, vSMP, DRS)
    1 VirtualCenter Foundation (3 V3 servers)
    Virtual Desktop Manager 3.0
    View Composer
    ThinApp 4
    licensing for 10 desktop VM's.

    Use the full V3 licence as you want.
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 11th December 2008 at 02:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butuz View Post
    if you use an iSCSI storage server to host all of the VM's - then if your physical vmaware server actually fails, you can simply use any old spare server
    And if your iSCSI storage server fails...

    --
    David Hicks

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    And if your iSCSI storage server fails...
    My thinking exactly. I'm guessing it wouldn't be as risky if we had a propper iSCSI SAN, as they generally have redundant PSUs, controllers, etc. and are more appliance based with less to go wrong right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Theblacksheep
    Yep, View is... but the View starter pack has:

    1 V3 Enterprise licence (HA, VMFS, vSMP, DRS)
    1 VirtualCenter Foundation (3 V3 servers)
    Virtual Desktop Manager 3.0
    View Composer
    ThinApp 4
    licensing for 10 desktop VM's.

    Use the full V3 licence as you want.
    Where did you buy your licenses?

    Thanks,
    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by dyoung5 View Post
    I'm guessing it wouldn't be as risky if we had a propper iSCSI SAN, as they generally have redundant PSUs, controllers, etc. and are more appliance based with less to go wrong right?
    True, although bear in mind that any component that does fail is going to be more expensive to replace - you'll have to get a specific power supply to fit your particular SAN appliance.

    Where did you buy your licenses?
    Don't do it, use Xen, it's free...

    --
    David Hicks

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