Need backup imaging / cloning advice needed - ESX 3.5 with SBS2003 and one Server 2003

Hi Experts,
I need some guidance here. I have an ESX 3.5 server with a SBS Server (20 GB C:, and 100 GB D: = Exchange) and an application server (20 GB C:, 100 GB D:, and 200 GB H:). I am currently using Backup Exec 10d to do file level and “System State” backup to LTO for offsite. OLD METHODOLOGY, and I will continue with the tape for offsite storage.

In case of a disaster, It will take a looooong time to be on other HW and up and running again. I have an old server with ESXi and want to use it for “Test Restore” and a “Hot Standby”.

I also use a QNAP 409 Turbo NAS (3 T Raid 5) to backup same job as tape, but it is FAST to restore from and no tapes to fumble with, but it is on site, albeit, on the other side of the building.

We want to be able to make a backup image I can restore to the ESXi for testing and for disaster recovery. There are so many products out there, and I am overwhelmed with choice. I have used SNAPSHOT ( once successfully – boot BartPE and restore from there. Not quite reliable, as I can’t recreate it over and over with same results and need something robust and easy for any tech person to follow documentation.

My question is: what is mainstream out there that is cost effective and easy to use and can easily restore an image made from ESX to a NAS and restore it to an ESXi and have a running machine with minimum fuss. Other than the D: drive on SBS which houses Exchange, the other drives are just file warehouses and can be restored from file backup. I would like to Backup to NAS, copy from NAS to USB and take off site.

Thanks in advance
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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
Try this:

Download Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery Server or Acronis.

This is a good product in two ways:

Both products will allow you to image the server to the QNAP.  To convert to a VM you can use the VMWare vConverter and convert the image to the VM natively.

This is the easy part.  The question to ask is how do you get the VM back to physical hardware when you fix the hardware.  Both of these products offer dissimilar hardware restore that allow you take the image inside the VM (or in general) and restore back to different hardware.  All you do then is install the physcal server specific drivers and you're set.  

Most other software will give you image capability (but you can do this for free using vmware vconverter or vizioncore vconverter)  The harder task is to bring it back to pysical.

You should still use Backup Exec to backup the Exchange/SQL DBs and apply the logs.

My $.02

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If you like support: backupexec , it's just brilliant. They solved a exchange issue for us during the christmas holiday.

Drivesnapshot is an alternative route to go:

Otherwise acronis is quite good as well.

I would only use BackupExec for file backup. For system state, use Acronis. To backup the whole ESX, use Veeam
fritzraddaAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the informative answer. If there is a sales punter out there, give me a call and I will listen
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