Copy Virtual Machine between ESX 3.5 Hosts

Posted on 2009-02-17
Last Modified: 2013-11-11
What is the best way to copy a virtual machine from one esx3.5 host to another via the network?

Our disaster recovery plan is to virtualize our servers and then make copies of them on a regular basis to A.N.other Esx host that is located on a different site connected by a gig link.

I have two esx3.5 servers and will soon have a VCB (virtual consolidated backup) machine aswell to do some testing but I am not sure where to start.

Should I use VCB to backup and then restore to the other server?

Should I be using snaphot technology to take snapshots and write scripts to tranfer files between servers?

Or should I down the servers and copy the files from A to B?
Or is there another method I should use?

This is all new to me as is Linux and VMWare so I am starting from scratch and looking for ideas or someone that may have allready done this.

Your thoughts as always much appreciated.
Question by:jrb139
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    You might look at LVM snapshots and rsync.

    Load your host OS with LVM and create a separate logical volume for your virtual machines (as many distros ships with an LVM that freezes when you snapshot the root partition). Allow space in the configuration (1 or 2 gb) for the lvm snapshot logical volume. Then choose a time of day when your network isn't that active, create the snapshot volume and then rsync your virtual machines accross to the backup host and remove the snapshot once done.

    In case of disaster, power up the virtual machines on the backup host. Not perfect, as it allows for a time frame between backup and recovery in which changes will be lost, but it provides a good base for getting things up quickly and then restoring other more frequent backups.
    LVL 21

    Accepted Solution

    I would say your best option is to use a third party tool that leverages the power of VMWare, VCB, etc.
    Since your sites are connected by a very fast link (1GBps) you could look the the software options from and for backing up your Virtual Servers. They have the technology to automate what you need and also to ensure that your VM's continue to run while they are being backed up to your cold site.
    I am assuming you don't have too many machines so the either of the two vendors products VRangerPro and Veeam Backup will be money well spent!

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the info folks.
    If anybody else picks this up and would care to add further ideas it would be much appreciated.
    I'll do some testing and looking around based on your feedback.
    Points will get allocated based on test results and solution used.
    Many thanks.

    Author Closing Comment

    Veeam - cold file transfer - then register the server at the DR site with vmcmd tools and bob is your bleedin uncle. Ta very much

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