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Windows Server 2000/2003 Thread, How to backup a VM in Technical; THis is in primaries I just run my w2k3 servers as simple file/dhcp/printer servers and all user data is just ...
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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    How to backup a VM

    THis is in primaries

    I just run my w2k3 servers as simple file/dhcp/printer servers and all user data is just held on a single share (with sub-folders for each class/teacher) and I just backup this share to a USB drive (along with other shared folders like RMMaths or JuniorlLib and my own tech folder)

    In quite a few cases, I've built the W2k3 server as a VM (on top of another real W2k3 server) with a view to one day doing some sort of complete backup of the VM and therefore being able to restore the VM on other hardware if needed and save quite a bit of time in not having to configure the main server again.

    But I've never done this step and start getting a bit confused as to how to take and deal with "snapshots" (using VMServer 2 BTW).

    So is there an easy method of automating backups of the VM?
    Pointers please

    regards

    Simon

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    dwhyte85's Avatar
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    It can be done as simply as to stop the server running (shut down properly ), backup the folder that has the virtual disk, virtual ram and settings etc... to another server/drive/nas.

    For instance, I automate mine on the server with a cron job, I stop the running services and I backup the folders with the bits to another machine... it takes along time though if your VM is huge over the network, could work equally as well to external storage.

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    SimpleSi (9th December 2010)

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    It can be done as simply as to stop the server running (shut down properly ), backup the folder that has the virtual disk, virtual ram and settings etc... to another server/drive/nas.
    I'd sussed that one out

    But I get the feeling that there's a "better" way - e.g some sort of incremental backup possible?

    regards

    Simon

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    dwhyte85's Avatar
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    You can use snapshotting to do this... but, I prefer full state backup, snapshots can fail... I do a snapshot before patches etc but never rely on them solely.

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    SimpleSi (9th December 2010)

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    danbuntu's Avatar
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    you probably need to start looking at third party stuff such a backup exec. I'm not sure how good support for vmware server 2 is though as they are aimed more at the esx market.

    Snap shots are really only designed to create an quick backup before you make a change. You then see if that changes has worked correctly and if it has delete the snapshot. if it hasn't then you revert. You shouldn't really be using snapshots as a form of backup

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    dwhyte85 (9th December 2010)

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    dwhyte85's Avatar
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    Put it better than I did, you could just install the client on the VM for backup exec (or connect thru' shares)... if it's data you're after storing, it'll work the same. This would backup just the data side of things and system state.

    That of course assumes you have BE

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwhyte85 View Post
    You can use snapshotting to do this... but, I prefer full state backup, snapshots can fail... I do a snapshot before patches etc but never rely on them solely.
    i was under the impression snapshotting a dc (or at least restoring a snapshot of a dc) was a very bad idea (although if you only have one dc i cant see any major issues)

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    Ive used something similar to this script VMware Communities: Advanced VB script for backup of VMs on ... --- I'm not recommending this script as I havn't used a vmware for a couple of years now, just giving you an idea of what to look for. Infact heres my original thread on the topic. Take what you want from it as I havn't used it in years vmWare Backup Script (Server 2, Workstation, possibly ESX)

    Basically what all/most scripts will do is;

    Snapshot the VM
    Export the Snapshot to a temp dir
    Delete the Snapshot on the host
    Compress the exported snapshot and archive it somewhere.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 9th December 2010 at 10:25 AM.

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    You put put the USB drive into the host - create a folder on the usb drive say backup. Use some backup software like backup exec dpm or just ntbackup.

    Run the backup software on the vm and backup to remote location which is the share on the usb drive.

    simple but affective in the case of no full dpm where you can backup to remote location.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sted View Post
    i was under the impression snapshotting a dc (or at least restoring a snapshot of a dc) was a very bad idea (although if you only have one dc i cant see any major issues)
    I wouldn't do it on anything as important as a DC and hope for it to work... normal backup methods work on virtual machines too and the VMs should be seen as normal servers in terms of standard backing up procedures... with the luxury of quick re-deployment if you have a backup of full state and some useful add-ons like snapshots to be able to do some quick roll backs.

    If it's a file server, data should be still backed up... as you would with any file server...
    Last edited by dwhyte85; 9th December 2010 at 10:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sted View Post
    i was under the impression snapshotting a dc (or at least restoring a snapshot of a dc) was a very bad idea (although if you only have one dc i cant see any major issues)
    Yep - snap shotting a DC is a bad idea in any situation - theres a Microsoft KB article about it infact - Things to consider when you host Active Directory domain controllers in virtual hosting environments

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    I've built the W2k3 server as a VM (on top of another real W2k3 server)
    If you are only using VMware Server 2 and only have 1 VM (maybe 2) running on that you could just leave the server as a server without vmware server 2 installed and do vmware converter backups of your real server, so if your server goes bang you can do what you were going to do and run the vm on another box while you fix the old one without having extra layers of software that could go wrong.

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