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Inexpensive backup solutions for VMware ESX 4

Posted on 2010-09-13
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I have a client with a  couple VMware ESX 4 machine that is looking for a cheap or even free (but decent) backup solution. They aren't looking at scripts so much as a product they can run.

Anyone got something they like that's pretty cheap or free and actually works.

Thanks

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Question by:willp2
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by:curtisbrunet
ID: 33665481
HP Data Protector works great for me, and I don't think it was very expensive.  I use Hyper-V though, so it leverages VSC.  From what I understand, VMWare backup is a beast unto itself.  

If you can get it to a file, you could always use NTBackup.
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coolsport00 earned 375 total points
ID: 33665540
Are they running ESX or "free" ESXi?

If regular ESX or paid version of ESXi, I recommend Veeam Backup & Repl (http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esx-backup.html); it's not free, but fairly inexpensive....~ $500US per physical processor.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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by:michael_hering
ID: 33665588
@willp2

If your goal is to provide a backup of the virtual guest servers stored on your customer's VMware ESX4 machines you could consider using the native backup client on each guest computer. It is definitely not the ideal way to go about it, but it is the "low cost" way.

The reason that I highlight "low cost" is that managing individual backups is not a best-practice. The time required to manage/maintain individual backups, and any free/low-cost backup software that does not provide centralized backup functionality, will likely exceed the cost to purchase and maintain the right software for the job.

Ultimately, I would consider purchasing a business class application to perform the backups you are looking to capture. Individual backups may be a good work around in the meantime.

I hope this is helpful! Cheers!
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by:willp2
ID: 33665716
Thanks for the quick replies.

They are on ESX. Veeam sounds like a solid product from what I've read. Unfortunately at the moment that's even more than they can spend.

Michael, they are doing client backups now, but as you mentioned its not ideal and a headache to manage.

I agree they should buy something "business class" but the they just don't have the money for it, so thought it was worth a look at something out there that's lets say "coach" instead of "business class" as if nothing else it would make my life easier.
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by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 375 total points
ID: 33665754
Veeam is very inexpensive and it the best product out their...good combination; too bad you client can't spend a bit on that. I'm not aware of anything else that's cheaper...vRanger has a decent product, but not sure of the cost..it's more than likely comparable to Veeam though. Hmm...if I can think of anything else, I'll let ya know.

~coolsport00
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by:curtisbrunet
curtisbrunet earned 125 total points
ID: 33665820
If they can't spend money on a solution, then you are more than likely stuck using a scripted option, such as NTBackup or something like this: http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-10271
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by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 375 total points
ID: 33665890
Concur...not much more I can think of that is close to 'free' than a script (i.e. ghettoVCB):
http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-10595.pdf
http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-10595
(potential support help: http://communities.vmware.com/message/1352730)

~coolsport00
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by:curtisbrunet
ID: 33665933
It seems however that there is tons of support on the vmware site, so it shouldnt be *too* hard to get that free solution working for you.  Good luck!
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by:michael_hering
ID: 33666710
@willp2,

I feel for your situation! I would recommend keeping the client backups going from each virtual guest. From a Microsoft stance, keeping as many third party tools out of your environment as possible is best. I'm not going to argue that a third party tool may be a good solution, but a homogenous environment would be preferred if you ever have to contact Microsoft Support for future disaster recovery scenarios.

Something to consider mentioning to your customer is that a backup solution of comparable quality should be used to protect their investment in VMware ESX 4. It's a shame to invest dollars in an infrastructure like that without the proper tools to protect it.

You are in a tough position. Good luck!
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by:Luciano Patrão
ID: 33668068
Hi

Regardless the price, in my opinion Veeam is the best backup solution for small and medium VMware environments

Is very easy to work with, very easy to restore a VM and also have the relication solution included.

And if you want to check the price, is very cheap if you look the product and what you can do with it.

The new Veeam v5 will be out soon, and new issues is resolved(manly regarding Storage) and new feactures is added, and will easier to work with, and features(regarding backup and using Storage) is added and will be easier to work with.

In my opinion, the best VMware backup product in the virtualization market.

Jail
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by:paulsolov
ID: 33668712
Veeam and Vranger do not work on the free ESXi.  

I would recommend for $500 you purchase vSphere Essentials that will give you up to 3 ESX/ESXi licenses.  Then purchase vRanger or Veem Backkup at a around $500 per proc.  The cost is not trivial but if the VMs are important to you then it's the way to go without buying full blow vSphere licenses and you can install vCenter that will give you proactive monitoring and SNMP
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by:Luciano Patrão
ID: 33669753
Hi

@paulsolov since this for using with ESX 4 i think Veeam can fit on the question

Jail
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by:paulsolov
ID: 33671437
My mistake, I saw "free" and thought it was ESXi.  

In this case vRanger or Veeam should be an easy solution.  The cost is $500-$800 per proc. and with vRanger givaways you can get vReplicator for free wiht the current promotion.  
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by:willp2
ID: 33673106
Thanks for all the input. No doubt Veeam sounds like the consensus here. Unfortunately even at that price they are looking at a few grand to pull this off. While pretty affordable, the backup licenses end up costing around what the vSphere license cost, so not trivial for a small business.

Looks like they’ll have to just stick with client backups for the time being.
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by:willp2
ID: 33673515
Anyone use VM Explorer? http://www.trilead.com

If nothing else it looks pretty affordable.
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by:michael_hering
ID: 33673613
@willp2,

It appears that folks have good things to say about it:

TechTarget: http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/tip/0,289483,sid179_gci1342753,00.html

The above article states that you need to be a member to access. Just scroll down for the full article.
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by:paulsolov
ID: 33674757
How many VMs are you backing up?
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Author Closing Comment

by:willp2
ID: 33780740
thanks for all the input
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