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Replicating VMWare server files

Posted on 2009-04-02
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I am researching open source and free disaster recovery options for implementing VMWare Server (Free version). I want the Virtual machine files to replicate to another server, which I activate if the first one fails. So far I'm looking at two options:

1) LVM Snapshots, with periodic sync through rsync or the like
2) DRDB live replication

I'm looking at the downside of trying this. People who have experienced problems in live environments with either of these setups. Please advise on what I should beware of with LVM/DRDB, and if alternative methods exist that will be better. As far a possible, Free and/or Open Source solutions.

Thank you very much for any input!
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Question by:Morne Lategan
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7 Comments
 
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za_mkh earned 400 total points
ID: 24053814
I would say that you ensure that your VM's are powered off before you do the sync regardless of the method you choose, doing a similar thing in Windows is possible in that, we use a script to shutdown the VM's and then use basic Robocopy to copy the files from one server to another! After the copy is complete, we just start up the VM's again. It does work. Of course these are our non-critical VM's. The critical ones are on ESX / Vmotion!
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Assisted Solution

by:MrMintanet
MrMintanet earned 100 total points
ID: 24054777
Rsync
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Author Comment

by:Morne Lategan
ID: 24055009
Thank you for the comments.

I agree that ESX is the way to go if you have a large infrastructure and the budget that goes with it, but I'm looking at a more cost effective solution for small offices with one server virtualizing two or three guests.

And I'm trying to do it in such a manner that the VM's are up all the time while being replicated or periodically backed up. I might have my hopes up too high, but my logic says it should be possible :)

Has anyone ever worked with VM's on DRDB replicated disks?

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Expert Comment

by:MrMintanet
ID: 24055115
RSYNC
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Author Comment

by:Morne Lategan
ID: 24055292
Thank you MrMintanet, and sorry for not commenting on your fist post.

Rsync most certainly solves one part of what I am attempting to do. The other part however is that I want to do it on a live system. Working with large disk images of several GBs changes will almost certainly occur in the files from where I start syncing to where I'm finished syncing, leaving me with an inconsistent backup unless I turn off the VM.

I would like to attempt it in a manner that the VM does not need to be powered off.

In theory it should work with either DRDB or LVM, but does it actually work in practice? If not, Is there any other free/open source option that will do what I want, or am I stuck with powering it off?
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Expert Comment

by:MrMintanet
ID: 24055364
Acronis
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Author Closing Comment

by:Morne Lategan
ID: 31565724
Didn't get an answer, but thanks for the comments. Splitting the points.
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