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How can I connect to VMWare datastore to backup the data?

I'm using VMWare ESX 3.5 with a NFS datastore on a NAS and want a way to backup the data in the datastore. VMWare connects to the NAS through iSCSI. I can't use the NAS to connect to the datastore so is there a way to connect through VMWare or another application to backup the data? I know you can use the VMWare client to browse the datastore, but that's a pretty bad method of backing up data.
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phlatline
Asked:
phlatline
3 Solutions
 
ryder0707Commented:
Are you planning doing a regular backup everyday or just a quick one?
Have you considered vcb to integrate with your existing backup software?
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burdcellCommented:
There are a couple of things you can do.  First is to clarify if you are using iSCSI or NFS.  Both are supported, but different.  If you are using NFS probably the best and fastest way is to utilize NDMP to back up the filesystem the datastore points to.  NDMP is EXTREMELY fast and is supported by most backup software and NAS devices.  EMC Celerra and NetApp both support NDMP.  If you are using iSCSI then NDMP will not work.  You still have a couple of options.  One is to purchase a 3rd party backup software like vRanger, ESXpress, or Veeam Backup.  You should be able to get a free trial of all 3.  I have used vRanger extensively and it is very simple and easy to use.  It is SIMPLE so dont expect a lot.  ESXpress is a little more robust, but essentially accomplishes the same thing.  The other option you have is to set up VCB.  VCB essentially creates a proxy server for VMWare backups.  The proxy server gets a small install from VMWare which provides drivers to read the VMFS volumes.  You then present all of the VMFS volumes to the proxy server as if it were a member of your cluster.  Then depending on your backup software you download an integration module for VCB which allows you to initiate the backups through your backup software.  A lot of the newer versions include this automatically.  

Truthfully VCB is nice, but I usually recommend vRanger and dumping out the .VMDK files to disk then back them up as flat files with your backup software.  It just seems to be easier for people to setup and maintain reliably.  

There is also the traditional method of backup which I often recommend to my customers.  If you are comfortable with your bare metal restore process today - use it.  Put your backup exec/networker/netbackup agent in to the OS as if it were a physical machine and back it up.  Use VMWare templates (Assuming you are using VirtualCenter) to create a good set of base images.  Then in the event of a disaster, you simply roll out a vm from your template and use your backup software, and restore everything including System State.  With vmware this process is very easy to test.  See if it works for you and it can simplify your life.  Just make sure you copy out your template files whenever they change!
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za_mkhCommented:
If you have licenced version of ESX / vCenter then VCB is a free option for this. You can then also buy solutions such as VizionCore vranger (www.vizioncore.com) or Veeam FastSCP+Backup (www.veeam.com) also leverage VCB technology to do the backups.
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phlatlineAuthor Commented:
Looking for something I can schedule. I haven't looked into VCB, VMWare's website is so focused on VSphere that you can't find info any of their old applications.
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ryder0707Commented:
If you are not sure where to start, try this guide http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_vcb_15_u1_admin_guide.pdf
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BijuMenonCommented:
For one time backup you can use WinSCP to take a backup of Virtual Machine files to any of Windows Shared Folders. Then backup those to some media. Else you may need to use BackupExec or NetBackup or any other 3rd party tools. May be below two articles be of some help.

http://windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/97564/backing-up-esx-guest-images.html

http://theether.net/kb/100131
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burdcellCommented:
you can schedule VCB, guest level backups, or any of the third party apps.
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nappy_dCommented:
First do you have a VCB license?  If so great.  There are many backup applications such as Arcserve or Backup Exec that can backup your ESX environment.

Arcserve https://support.ca.com/phpdocs/0/4536/12/ARCserve_r12_VMware/ARCserve_r12_VMware.html
Backup Exec http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/vcb-vmware-consolidated-backup
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