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I have backup exec 2012 and I have to backup about 10 windows (2003/2008/2012) servers. The windows machine are over a vmware environment (the old 3.5 for now). I want to backup both vmware image machine and the data. I ask if is it advisable to backup all the files on the machine (I mean c:* d:* and so on) or only the data files (excluding c:\windows* c:\users* and so on and including databases and documents file data) ?

Thanks you so much.

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closed as not constructive by joeqwerty, ThatGraemeGuy, MadHatter, Zoredache, mdpc Jun 18 '13 at 17:38

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Q: What to backup on windows server over VMware? A: Whatever you need and want to be able to restore. – joeqwerty Jun 18 '13 at 14:43
Honestly I don't know what I need. For example I need everything to restore AD but I don't need to restore every c:\windows folder of all servers. I never had needed to restore any files under windows folder. But who know in the future ? – Luigi Jun 18 '13 at 15:50
@Luigi Well then, the logical first step is to figure out what you need to be able to restore! (and don't forget to TEST your restore to make sure you can actually get back everything you think you backed up.) – voretaq7 Jun 18 '13 at 17:04
@Luigi - hope these links help a little to guide you along:… -… – TheCleaner Jun 18 '13 at 18:43

Only you/your_company can determine what is or isn't needed in a backup.

If you have the backend storage to support backing up everything, then back it all up...better safe then sorry. If you have limited resources or backup windows, then you'll have to work out a scheme of what files/partitions/databases need backed up, when, and how (full, incremental, differential) as well as when those backups get overwritten (retention periods).

With VMWare and BUE you can use individual agents and backup at the VM level itself or you can use the vmware agent and backup at the vmdk level (and still have the option for individual file restores depending on setup/configuration).

Honestly though, it's difficult for us to speculate on your environment without knowing it well.

UPDATE: regarding vmware 3.5. It's not on the SCL for BUE 2012, 4.0 or higher is required to use the vmware API/agent itself. It also requires a minimum of the "standard" license as the free version doesn't include the right API for the agent to work. You can still use the windows agents inside the VMs though (assuming the OS' themselves are supported on the SCL)

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My philosophy: If you'd have problems without it, back it up. Better to have too much backed up than missing something. – Nathan C Jun 18 '13 at 14:51
I'm not sure that BUE 2012 supports what I'm assuming is ESX 3.5. The OP states he's running 3.5 so I'm assuming he means ESX 3.5. The OP could back up the guest at the guest level but I'm not sure that he can backup at the VM level with BUE 2012. – joeqwerty Jun 18 '13 at 14:52
@joeqwerty - true, didn't even notice. I'll updated my answer accordingly. – TheCleaner Jun 18 '13 at 15:02

That entirely depends on the programs you have installed and what you want backed up, however with the vast majority of windows programs there are registry settings that won't transfer well, which is why I would recommend doing a full incremental backup if you have the storage space for it, and remember you don't need to back this up to the thick provisioned SAN that your VMs sit on, you can save money and put them on any low grade, thin provisioned SAN.

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