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ESXi backup solution

Hi Experts,
I have some questions regarding backup solutions for my ESXi 4.0 virtual machines.
Currently, I am running SBS 2008 premium, divided into two vms on one physical server, using internal SCSI for storage.

I have not purchased any vmware products. I set it up using the vSphere client.

I would like to invest in one of the "disk imaging/bare metal restore" options out there, such as Acronis or VMWare's Disaster Recovery (you would shudder if you knew how I am currently backing-up!)

To run any of these backup solutions - veeam, acronis VMware DR etc - I must have vCenter Server, so I need to buy atleast vSphere Business Essentials. Is this correct?

Assuming that is correct, then can you guys please comment on the following assumptions:

I need another server - running probably Win 2008 server to install vCenter server 4.1 (that's the only version available as an evaluation download).
This second server should not be a VM on the same host refered to above.

So...to create a an entry-level disaster recovery scenario, I need to purchase:
 - vSphere (in atleast essentials form)
 - a server to run it on
 - another copy of Windows Server
 - a backup program (acronis, veamm etc).

One last question - the system requirements for vCenter server list 2 processors as a requirement. Does that mean I can get away with a Dual-Core processor, or does it mean 2 sockets?

I should just state, at this time, that mine is a small-shop set-up. The two VMs are all we're ever going t need, and indeed all we could afford. I spent quite a bit on the hardware, SBS licenses etc. The set up is great, and I'm not concerned with being able to scale-up. I just want to back these VMs up easily and reliably in the cheapest way I can. I'm willing to spend more money to get something decent, but I have to be careful to spend it wisely and efficiently.

Sorry for the long post! I hope you guys can help.

Regards,

Adam

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adamianf
Asked:
adamianf
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1 Solution
 
rob_AXSNLCommented:
Hi there,

To start with, your assumtion is incorrect. With Veeam, a beautiful product, you can do with a licenced ESXi server. It is not a technical, but a license restriction that does noet allow you to backup.

Please comment which direction you like to go.
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adamianfAuthor Commented:
Hi,
Thanks for the speedy response.
On the veeam website is says:
"designed to pair with VMware vSphere Essentials "

So I beleive that I still need to buy a version of vSphere. So all of my other questions, regarding installation & deployment of vCenter Server still remain.

 
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sihtCommented:
Many people in your situation use a free backup script called GhettoVCB.

http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-8760

It seems to work well enough in smaller environments. It may be an improvement on your current methods while you work out which direction to take.
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rob_AXSNLCommented:
Not quite true... read quote.
Full ESXi support with & without VCB
With introduction of ESXi, Veeam was the first and only vendor to support ESXi both with AND without VMware Consolidated Backup (or VCB). Customers with and without shared storage are able to perform ESXi backups without having the additional overhead of deploying VCB.

No ESXi FREE support

I don't want to convince you about this, just let me know your preferences. You can stick with ESXi, but you don't have the service console backup method, which is faster.
rgds

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adamianfAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your advice.
I have used ghettoVCB. I had two issues with it:
1. It was quite slow - backup to the NAS, for both VMs took about 10 hours.
2. It's not an active directory-aware backup, so If i need to restore an image of the DC virtual machine, it may not be usable.
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adamianfAuthor Commented:
Hi rob_AXSNL,
Doesn't the "No ESXi FREE support" illustrate my point?
I believe it means that you can't use veaam unless you have paid vmware for a copy of their product.
I assume that this means buying a copy of atleast vSphere Essentials.
That is the entry level vsphere product, isn't it?

I am happy to buy a product. Are you telling me that I don't have to buy anything other than the veaam product? Thank you very much for your help, but so far I don't think that's correct.

Adam
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rob_AXSNLCommented:
Hi adam
Yes, you need to buy a license of at least Essentials, but you can register this code in your ESXi. You don't have to reinstall and you still don't need (but can use) Virtual center. You can then easily migrate in time to a vSphere environment later. The ESXi product is technically different form the ESX product and installing the license won't activate all ESX functionality..
Its an option to reinstall the host and install ESX, but then you would also opt for a VC on a separate PC or server (make it 64 bits windows (XP will also do fine) for VC 4.1) but at this stage not a requirement.

You do need to buy a license for Veeam per CPU.

Rob
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rob_AXSNLCommented:
And moreover, this document tells you are on the good path to the future...
http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/esxi-and-esx/
esx goes end of life.
There will be some changes in the products in the near future, so please check with your ESX reseller when youre purchasing...
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rob_AXSNLCommented:
And this is why you need a license...

vCLI is limited to read-only access for the free version of VMware ESXi. To enable full functionality of vCLI on a VMware ESXi host, the host must be licensed with vSphere Essentials, vSphere Essential Plus, vSphere Standard, vSphere Advanced, vSphere Enterprise, or vSphere Enterprise Plus.  

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adamianfAuthor Commented:
Thanks Rob,
I'll go away and have a good look into veeam.
The fact that I can get it up and running without needing to invest in new server hardware is really encouraging.

Thanks again for your help.
Regards,
Adam
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rob_AXSNLCommented:
Thanks adam,
You can download a 30 day trail from the website. If you need any additional help, they have a very good support. (I'm not working with veeam).
rgds, Rob
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