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I'm new to xen server, and would like to know few things about the best ways to do a complete back up of a VM.

I'm using XenCenter and have encountered some issues wih exporting a complete VM : the export is very very slow, and fails after few hours. After 3 hours of export, the size of the file I get is about 500MB.

The export of a snapshot is really faster, but I was wondering : if the server completely crashes, and that I need to install my VM again from scratch, is the export of the VM be enough to be able to start again directly? Like importing a complete VM

The VM I have is a debian with oracle-xe installed on it, only there for development testing purposes. I don't need to back up files, but just need to be sure that I'll always be able to run it again without too much difficulties.

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What version of XenServer are you using? Are you exporting as xva single files or ovh/ova package? XVA works for me.

A technique to get an exact copy of a running vm is to snapshot it, then make new vm from that snapshot. Then export that new VM to an xva file.

I do this regularly and it does in fact work like you'd expect. I can re-import that VM to any XenServer installation and it just works. We put copies of the xva files in offline storage for recovery. I've restored VMs several times for real recovery and it works out.

To test it, I import the VM back and remove the network interface (or put it on a dead-end vlan), and fire it up.

I've been doing that since 6.0.2 up to 6.2.something.

Exporting over a slow connection could be a problem, and doing it though xencenter relies on windows and making some pretty large files on the computer. I've mounted a USB drive on XenServer hosts and use xe vm-export and xe vm-import and it works fine.

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