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I have a few servers running VMware and Microsoft virtualization Server, I would like to back them all of them up at night, but while they are still running. Whats the neatest way to get this done?

Thanks.

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What exactly products are you using? –  ToreTrygg Nov 3 '09 at 8:40

3 Answers 3

There's two simplified options:

Back the virtual guests up just like traditional servers. Use backup software like NetBackup or BackupExec that puts an agent on each guest and streams the backups out over the network from guest to some target location. One downside is that you have to be pretty careful with scheduling, because you can't have all of the guests on the same host fire off their backups simultaneously. The host will slow to a crawl. Another downside is that it uses a ton of network traffic.

Or, use backup software integrated with the hypervisor. Companies sell backup programs that are aware of hypervisors like Hyper-V and VMware. Rather than putting agents in each guest, they tell the host to take snapshots of the guest, and then the host shuffles those snapshots off to a target. This can be easier to schedule, and can take advantage of separate network cards to minimize overhead. The downside is that the more hypervisors you have (you mentioned that you're running both Hyper-V and VMware), the tougher it is to find a single backup program that does a good job with all of 'em. For example, the company I work for sells one that just works with VMware:

http://www.vizioncore.com/products/vReplicator/index.php

But not with Hyper-V. If you're not running a "real" datacenter, and you're only using a few machines for testing, I'd suggest going the traditional route.

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vReplicator has been a great product for me. I have had it running in a production environment for 4 months now, replicating ~20 VMs to an offsite DR location. I wish it had some more reporting features but all in all its been working fine. –  Chadddada Mar 11 '11 at 20:47

Can you not just make a script to copy the virtual hard drive every night?

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For VMWare Workstation and Server, you should be be able to use some sort of VSS based backup program - I like Cobian. For ESXi (or ESX?), you can use ghettoVCB - it's a script to copy the VMDKs off, normally to an NFS share.

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