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What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

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  • What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

    Hi

    Can anyone advise on the best way to do daily image backups for the guest Windows 2003 Servers using VMWARE server so that you either have NO downtime or can minmise it. Virtual servers will include SQL and Exchange.

    I am thinking along the lines of stopping the server, xcopying the virtual server to a spare hard disk and then backing up that hard disk using normal tape backups.

    Is there a better way that will mean I don't have to stop the Virtual server.

    Are there better options using VSS or snapshots.

    Thanks for any help or advice

  • #2
    Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

    Back them up as you would if they where physical.
    [Powershell]
    Start-DayDream
    Set-Location Malibu Beach
    Get-Drink
    Lay-Back
    Start-Sleep
    ....
    Wake-Up!
    Resume-Service
    Write-Warning
    [/Powershell]

    BLOG: Therealshrimp.blogspot.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

      To backup VMware Server guests with no downtime, yes, killerbe is right, you should just use a backup client on the guest OS as if it were a physical host.

      If you don't want to do that, there are also some other options that you might like but may lead to more backup downtime. Checkout this VMware Community discussion.

      Now, with ESX server, you can absolutely back the clients up using VCB with only 1-2 seconds of downtime using snapshots - cool stuff.

      Please let us know how it goes...

      Thanks
      David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
      Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
      TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
      Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

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      • #4
        Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

        Hi

        Thanks for the information - but I'm still interested in finding the best way to backup the whole virtual server on the fly.

        So is it worth investing in ESX to do the consolidated backups - is there a note or do you have a link to see how easy it is especially if you wish to restore a whole virtual server. Will it also cater for SQL and Exchange.

        Or does Microsofts Virtual Server have better backups features to backup whole virtual sevrers - on the fly.

        Thanks for any advice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

          ESX offers much more than Microsoft Virtual Server.
          Vmotion and HA to name a few.

          Although ESX is useless without usage of a SAN or NAS.
          [Powershell]
          Start-DayDream
          Set-Location Malibu Beach
          Get-Drink
          Lay-Back
          Start-Sleep
          ....
          Wake-Up!
          Resume-Service
          Write-Warning
          [/Powershell]

          BLOG: Therealshrimp.blogspot.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

            Hi

            Thank you for the information

            Additional disk storage isn't a problem - so is ESX the way to go - what would be the typical scenario to backup and restore a server with ESX. Are there some notes or a site you can point me to please - I would liek t know from a practical point of view not from a list of features - if you understand what I mean.

            Thanks fro any help.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

              I must say that you'll need to look at pricing.
              ESX is also more expensive, so you'll need to take everything in perspective.

              Info:

              http://www.vmware.com/products/vi/esx/
              http://www.vmware.com/community/index.jspa
              http://www.brainmadden.com/forum

              2 Collegue's of mine:
              http://virtrix.blogspot.com
              http://blog.baeke.info/
              [Powershell]
              Start-DayDream
              Set-Location Malibu Beach
              Get-Drink
              Lay-Back
              Start-Sleep
              ....
              Wake-Up!
              Resume-Service
              Write-Warning
              [/Powershell]

              BLOG: Therealshrimp.blogspot.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

                If you are willing to invest in Vmware virtual infrastructure, you will be able to backup all virtual machines with 1-2 second downtime per system (using VCB). It is really amazing.

                Plus, there are a ton more, equally amazing, features you will get our of VI & VMware ESX.

                Here are some docs on the VI / ESX Backups-
                http://www.vmware.com/pdf/esx_backup_wp.pdf
                http://www.vmware.com/pdf/esx3_backup_wp.pdf

                Thanks,
                David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
                Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
                TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
                Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

                  I am running Windows Server 2003 as guest on Ubuntu 7.04.
                  The Windows Server can be shut down during the night.
                  The computer labs close everyday at 23:30 and open at 8:00 so I can use that time, but I can't be physically there.
                  The VMware machine is 20 GB.
                  The computer I use (Dell Dimension 5150) has a feature that allows it to be switched on automatically at a certain time.

                  I was thinking about doing a script on Ubuntu for the following:
                  • At 5:00 automatic turn on of the computer (this is not part of the script though...)
                  • Then, copy the VM to somewhere in the disk
                  • Then, compress those files with... something... (ideas?)
                  • Rename the compressed file to something with the date (how can I do this?)
                  • At 6:30 AM Start the Virtual Machine (may be half an hour is overkill...)
                  • At 7:00 AM copy/move the compressed file to another system (which should auto turn on by that time)


                  At 8:00 AM everything should be copied and running.

                  Do you like this solution?
                  Would you do something different?

                  I wait for comments...

                  Thanks!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

                    Hi there,

                    This solution seems like it would work fine to me. The great thing about virtual machines is that there are so many different ways to do things - flexibility.

                    For just a single machine running 1 VM, no, you don't need ESX.

                    If it were me, I would just buy a cheap $50 USB 120GB external drive, hook it up to the server, don't do any compression, and just copy that 20GB file over.

                    In fact, you could run it at 23:30 and have it-
                    1. shut down the virtual guest OS
                    2. copy the VM directory to the external drive
                    3. shutdown the machine

                    That's just my thought but your method work work fine too.

                    Hope that helps.
                    David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
                    Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
                    TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
                    Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

                      Originally posted by daviddavis View Post
                      For just a single machine running 1 VM, no, you don't need ESX.
                      Right now we can't afford ESX. We are using a cheap Dell PC (Dimension 5150).

                      Originally posted by daviddavis View Post
                      If it were me, I would just buy a cheap $50 USB 120GB external drive, hook it up to the server, don't do any compression, and just copy that 20GB file over.
                      I bought a 320 GB external USB drive last week for that purpose.
                      However, I don't want to leave it connected. Why? Because in case of an electrical failure, either on the mains or on the computer, I would end up with both the production and the backup drives damaged. I know it is not very likely to happen, but it is not impossible.
                      I want to minimize the time the external HD is connected to anything.

                      I like your suggestion of doing the backup at 23:30 and then shutting down. I will probably do that.

                      Then, I would manually connect the external HD during the day, but I don't mind copying that since the backup is already made, I would only copy a normal file.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

                        Sounds like a good plan to me!
                        David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
                        Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
                        TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
                        Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

                          I have a similar question. I want to have a VM running Windows Server 2003, with basically only Exchange running on it. What I was thinking was that somehow I would just back up the VMDX file which is essentially the hard drive platter, and the other small configuration files. That way, if let's say my host server crashed, I could just take those files that were backed up to my external hard drive and throw it onto another server and reboot the VM. Would that work ok? What do you think?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

                            Absolutely!

                            That's the wonderful thing about virtualization - server portability & hardware independence!

                            I don't know how many concurrent users you have on that exchanger server but just make sure that the virtualization overhead doesn't slow the whole thing down.

                            At my company, we have almost 1000 active users on our exchange server. We would really like to virtualize it but that's not going to happen with vmware server. it could with esx but we would pretty much just have to load esx on the server that exchange is already on. i wouldn't mind doing that but it is a lot to pay for the disaster recovery & hardware independence features we gain.

                            All the Best to you,
                            David Davis - Petri Forums Moderator & Video Training Author
                            Train Signal - The Global Leader in IT Video Training
                            TrainSignalTraining.com - Free IT Training Products
                            Personal Websites: HappyRouter.com & VMwareVideos.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What is the best way to do daily backups with VMWARE server

                              Originally posted by kingbear2 View Post
                              I have a similar question. I want to have a VM running Windows Server 2003, with basically only Exchange running on it. What I was thinking was that somehow I would just back up the VMDX file which is essentially the hard drive platter, and the other small configuration files. That way, if let's say my host server crashed, I could just take those files that were backed up to my external hard drive and throw it onto another server and reboot the VM. Would that work ok? What do you think?
                              Well it happened to me that my primary server where I`m running DC and exchange 2007 for 30 users crashed...

                              I simply plugged out SAS disks and moved them to upper server... Imported to vmware server and had them up and running in about 7 minutes

                              Whole process took me about 15 minutes... Well if I would be running this 2 servers on hardware I would be screwed

                              Oh and back on topic... I use a script that shuts down all vmware machines at 03:00 AM, backs them up to a remote location and then powers them back on.. Domain controller first off course

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