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We're using ESXi to consolidate a number of machines into a VMWare system. I'm still experimenting with the configuration, but for backing up right now I managed (with advice from SF...thanks!) to copy down the virtual machine folders to an external hard disk using fastSCP from Veeam, and have been using their free monitor program to get short-term reports and monitor the server for performance.

While some of the servers are backed up with agents within Windows, I'd like a way to restore virtual machines in case of failure by copying fairly recent copies of the virtual machine, much like with just shutting the machine down and copying the directories as a "snapshot" (only without taking the VM offline for hours to do it).

We saw Veeam Backup as a possible solution but can it do backups like this? Will it backup live VM's or do they have to be shut down? I can go through the marketing hype, but I'd like to know what people who actually used it have to say, what pitfalls and notes I can get from others before investing in this as a possible solution.

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According to this article: http://virtualfuture.info/2009/02/veeam-backup-30-faster-backup-than-with-vcb/

Sounds like it does what you're looking for. Full backup, no agent without having to bring server down.

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While the Veeam website doesn't seem to reflect this yet, VMware recently asked (strong-armed?) them to remove support for the free ESXi. Hopefully if you've already downloaded a copy it'll continue to work.

http://www.virtualization.info/2009/06/vmware-asks-veeam-to-remove-support-for.html

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I just saw that article this afternoon...how ridiculous! Major peeved. Sounds like VMware is trying to milk money however possible...but I'm afraid others won't have much to lose in allowing small players to "try" their product in hopes of gaining bigger clients later (Microsoft, Citrix). This will definitely give me second thoughts; I would probably try something else if it weren't for the install we're using now of ESXi having 7 VM's active right now and we can't really just rip them out. –  Bart Silverstrim Jul 29 '09 at 23:39
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