How to cron job vmware backups?

I want to backup a vmware server that has several guest os's.

What do I need to backup? Do I need to shut down the guest os's before the backup?

I am thinking about just writing a scrip that copies off the vmhd's to another box. Will that work? Don't I need configs?
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Depends on what VMware product you have - ESX? ESXi? VMware Server?...which product?

vmwarun - ArunCommented:
How many Guest VMs are you planning to backup and to what media would you be backing them to ? (NAS, Tapes )
Deepak KosarajuDevOps EngineerCommented:
There is nothing like VMWARE ESX backup, Its something like VMHD backup, If its ESX you can backup on fly.

VMWARE: VMESX & VI Suite Key features:
VMFS, VSMP, VMHA(license), vmotion(license), VCB, VMUpdate Manager(VMUM), DRS, VMVirtual Connector(VMVC) & VIClient, Site Recovery Manager(SRM)
Storage vMotion - allows transferring VMDK file of VM to another storage device while VM is running.
Difference between these technologies is that first one allows turning off all servers, if VMDK is on shared storage, while the second one – moving VMDK file with VM to another storage, and turning it off.

VmWare HA - this technology scans hosts and VMs for availability all the time. If hosts go down, then VM manager runs them on another physical server. It`s like a hard reboot for VM.

Fault Tolerance - disaster recovery function, which allows creating 24/7/365 running virtual machines. Works as a usual cluster: two identical VMs are running on two physical servers: one node is running in active mode, while second – in passive. All processor`s commands are one side replicated between VMs. Difference between FT and HA is the following: as I said, running VM in first case on another host is equivalent to hard reboot, while in case of FT second node is running from the moment the first node goes down. Need to note that using FT has some limitations: first, both hosts MUST have identical CPUs and second – list of supported CPUs is limited.

VMware ESX Server is packaged and purchased in 4 different packages:
VMware ESXi – the slimmed down (yet fully functional) version of ESX server that has no service console. By buying ESXi, you get VMFS and virtual SMP only
VMware Infrastructure Foundation – (previously called the starter kit, ESXi + Virtual Center agent, Consolidated backup, and update manager.
VMware Infrastructure Standard – includes Foundation + VMware HA.
VMware Infrastructure Enterprise – Standard + VMotion, Storage VMotion, and DRS.
You should note that Virtual Center is required for some of the more advanced features and it is purchased separately. Also, there are varying levels of support available for these products. As the length and the priority of your support package increase, so does the cost.
DrDamnitAuthor Commented:
Sorry I have been away so long.

The product is VMWare Server 2.0. Several instances, and I would prefer to backup over the network via FTP if possible. (Zip up the vhd's and put them where another server can log in and get them i spreferred).

Since you have VMware Server, you can use your standard b/u solution to back up your VMs. Back up your VMs to another computer that has VMware Server on it that way in case your current computer that runs the VMs goes down, you have a fairly instantaneous recovery solution.

I'm pretty sure you don't need to shut down your VMs, but you will need to test this out as there 'may' be some kind of lock on the VM files; VSS may take care of that though. I use ESX/i and VMware Server but we don't back up our VMware Server VMs (ESXi b/u's do require VMs to be shut down). Run a b/u job and see if it works for you and post the results.


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