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How can I backup all settings of free VMWare ESXi 4?

I configured the host - VMs, Storage, Networking, Resource Allocation and all other settings available in vSphere Client. It consumed quite a lot of time, but works pretty well.

Now I want to backup all the settings "just in case" to easily reinstall ESXi 4 if something goes really wrong.

I don't ask "how to backup VMs" (so please don't point me to Ghetto-VCB script). I need to backup and restore just ESXi4 host's settings.

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3 Answers 3

I run ESXi from a USB stick in the server I'd got it on, so to backup the settings I just booted from a liveCD and made an exact copy of the memory stick using dd.

If you're doing it from a HDD, look at the script /sbin/auto-backup.sh. This is how ESXi persistently saves it's settings, and is cron'd to run every hour. If you run it, then it'll give you a list of all the configuration files. You can write a quick script to copy these off every hour, or do it manually when you need to.

You could also image of the HDD (with ESXi offline), and so you can keep a second disk with your setup, for quick recovery. In theory you could do this from ESXi (busybox has dd in it), but it's never good to image a live FS.

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The official VMWare way is using the 'vicfg-cfgbackup' command, HERE's the command-line reference, page 39.

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(Since commenting is not available, I add another reply..)

A word of caution for the advise "You could also image of the HDD (with ESXi offline), and so you can keep a second disk with your setup, for quick recovery." in the first message. Many people are having issues with cloned or imaged ESXi 4 installations. Usually what happens is what user blambert describes at virtualizationtimes:

I have ESXi running on a single drive w/ VMFS partition. An image of this drive has been created using Symantec Ghost. Whenever the image is restored to a new drive, the datastore is no longer mapped.

I can manually remap the VMFS partition using add storage.

If I add storage and do not resignature the drive, the datastore is no longer mapped after rebooting.

If I add storage and do resignature the drive, the datastore remains mapped after rebooting, but any VM's show up as inaccessible and must be readded to inventory after each reboot.

Imaging/cloning ESXi is not officially supported, so it's a safer route to back up the settings the 'official' way with vicfg-cfgbackup like Chopper3 suggested.

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