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Is it safe to backup data from a virtual machine to a datastore on another drive within the same server? I only have one server currently running vmware, so I would prefer to be able to backup to a disk within the server rather than being forced to backup to an external NAS.

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Define "safe" - what are you hoping to avoid/achieve? – Mark Henderson Mar 7 '12 at 8:03
And what will you do when the drives in that server fail? – Zoredache Mar 7 '12 at 8:03
@ Mark - by "safe", I mean is mirroring data to a vmware datastore as good a way of backing up the data as copying it to an external hard drive formatted in a more standard (ntfs, ext4, fat32, ect. rather than vmfs) file system. – Nick Mar 7 '12 at 9:05
@Zoredache - I understand that preferably data should be backed up on multiple physical machines spread between multiple geographic locations. What I am looking for here is more of a stop-gap measure until I decide on a suitable NAS solution. While my data will not be fully protected, will creating a separate data store on a separate drive suffice to protect me from a single drive failure? An underlying question here would be can I recover the data of a datastore by removing the drives from the server and plugging them into another machine? – Nick Mar 7 '12 at 9:09
You've essentially re-invented the RAID1 mirror with this idea. And like the RAID1 mirror, your solution will protect you against one drive simply failing stone cold dead, but if some more subtle corruption occurs then it could turn out that all you've done is created a copy of that corruption. – RobM Mar 7 '12 at 15:55

It's safe in that you will be able to recover from corruption or errors, but it's not safe in that if you have a hardware failure, it might nuke your data and backup at the same time.

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