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ESX Server 3.0X backup solutions

Posted on 2007-03-19
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Last Modified: 2008-03-03
I am in process of buying a DL385 server for ESX 3 server, also I am getting an MSA 30 with about 2TB worth of space.  On the ESX server I will our file server, exchange and few other server as VM machines.  The question I have now does anyone have a similar type of environment and if you do what backup solutions do you use for the ESX server.

I have  been looking at ESX ranger, ARCserver and a few others but my biggest problem is that I would like to be doing a backup to tape directly instead of backup to disk and then to tape, also backup of the exchange mailboxes, do any of these solutions do a live backup of exchange? by the looks of it none of them do.

Thanks.
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Question by:bbarac
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rindi earned 200 total points
ID: 18751602
Arcserve can backup to tape directly, and if you have the exchange agent then you'll be able to backup exchange too. I wouldn't backup individual mailboxes though, it takes a lot more time and causes many issues often, while a complete exchange store backup is faster and usually without problems. With VmWare you could also backup the complete virtual machine file instead of backing up within the Virtual machine. Backing up the file is the quickest method, and if your hardware dies, all you need to do is install ESX on the other machine, then restore the image file and your done. This is one of the big advantages of ESX server, the hardware isn't an issue, so you just copy back the server file and it runs, while if you first have to reinstall the server, then restore from the backup takes a lot more time.
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by:bbarac
ID: 18751678
oh so arcserve does have an agent for exchange, that sounds much better the ESX ranger.

When you say backup the file, are you talking about doing a whole ESX server backup? taking an image pretty much with arcserve?
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by:rindi
ID: 18751820
The agent isn't free...

The Virtual Machines used by VmWare (ESX and other Versions), are installed to an image file that emulates a disk. You can backup that file as a whole. Symantec's Backup exec supports backing up complete Virtual Machines (it also uses an agent for that), and I'm sure arcserve, as the other big backup software, has the same options.
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by:Duncan Meyers
Duncan Meyers earned 200 total points
ID: 18753973
You can back up virtual machines (VMs) in three ways:

- Install the backup software agent on the ESX Server service console, then backup the VM from the service console. The VM must be shut down to do this. This is really fast, but requires downtime. Restore time is also very fast. You can hit 4GB/minute with Arcserve or BE.
 - You can backup from the hosted operating system m- that is; from the running VM.
 - You can use VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB - included as part of your VI 3 Enterprise license) to back up a snapshot of the VM. VCB can mount a snapshot and back up individual files from within the snapshot. Which is pretty cool.

To use the VCB, you need the VCB license, a server with SAN connectivity to act as the VCB proxy and your backup software intgegration module. More information here: http://www.vmware.com/products/vi/consolidated_backup.html
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Author Comment

by:bbarac
ID: 18756190
Thanks for the advice I knew that exchange agent for arcserve is not free, nothing is these days.  For the other poster I can't have downtime for option one and I don't want to use VCB, too many disadvantages that I don't like about that software.

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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 18761000
If you need the granularity of an Exchange mailbox backup, then you must perform the backup from within the guest OS.
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by:ShineOn
ShineOn earned 100 total points
ID: 18787026
Have you checked the Exchange agent?  Latest BrightStor ARCServe (11.5) Exchange agent can restore down to the individual message.  The old, tired "brick level" backup is a thing of the past.

Note that there are two flavors of Exchange agent.  The basic agent won't do that, but the more expensive one will.
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Author Comment

by:bbarac
ID: 18792513
I am still working on getting the server and esx software, then I will be looking more detailed into the backup solutions.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 18792819
your welcome
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Expert Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 18795983
Expanding on my other comment - you can do "brick level" with the Exchange agent, but if you pop for the Exchange "Premium Add-On" you get message-level backup and recovery...
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