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I have a machine built using ESXi 4.0u1 and it has 3 hard drives. I have my hosts built on different hard drives but wondering about backup options. I do not have RAID but I have 3 drives and 1 is totally empty. I had been using it to store ISOs for loading.

So what options do I have to either create a 1 time copy onto the spare drive or some sort of snapshot to the spare drive? - There must be some way to do this either via the vsphere client or ssh into the ESXi box and go from there.



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If you're looking for a free option you should take a look at Ghetto-VCB. You will have to use the ESXi pseudo console which is in marginally supported territory but if you are using the free ESXi version then this doesn't really affect you.

Veeam FastSCP will allow you to copy your VM's easily between a Windows environment and the ESX datastores without having to get into the ESXi console to make any changes.

You can't snapshot to the spare drives, VMware snapshots don't work that way but for manual copies you can use VMware Converter or literally just copy the files. The latter is a lot easier if you you have a NAS as you can move those files around subsequently using other things. Obviously things are a lot easier with vCenter involved as you can make clones of the VM's and use VCB.

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I do not recommend to "literally just copy the files" because you can induce inconsistencies in the filesystem. Best is to do a snapshot and backup the files except the delta one, then remove the snapshot. – Mircea Vutcovici Feb 14 '10 at 16:07
@Mircea - excellent point. What I should have said was "if the VM is powered off you can literally just copy the files". – Helvick Feb 14 '10 at 16:10

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