VMWare Workstation 7 Live Backup Methods

I'm new to VMWare...i've installed several workstations now and would like to run one as a mini-file server for a small peer-to-peer network.  

What would be the best way to perform backups to an ext HDD or NAS while the VMware is powered on (like a normal running PC)....i dont want to shutdown the session then perform backup, etc....i need it to be more automated than that.

thanks!
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XChangingITAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I don't think you can backup a complete workstation while it is powered on. What you could do is back up the necessary contents of a guest while it is powered on using the guest's internal backup tool. Back it up to any connected source.

You could back up each guest once (OS plus contents) and then once powered on, backup up contents.

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coolsport00Commented:
I think you actually can back up a VM while powered on. As long as your host OS has VSS (assuming it's a Windows host OS), and you have some kind of regular backup software (Veritas, Avamar, etc.) and the agent installed on your host OS. Just make sure your traditional b/u solution utilizes VSS for 'running files'. You can then backup any folders/files (e.g. the folder your VM is in) as long as VSS is running, which your b/u solution should trigger. Of course, you would need to test the success of this solution before applying it to production.

Regards,
~coolsport00

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XChangingITAuthor Commented:
Thanks!

I'm wondering if Acronis has this solution....i love their products so far.  I'm assuming VSS=Volume Shadow copy Service?
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coolsport00Commented:
You can try them...they are pretty good; yes...sorry for the acronym :)

~coolsport00
vmwarun - ArunCommented:
Acronis Backup and Recovery v10 can do this, backup a VM when its online.

It also supports VSS.

http://www.acronis.com.sg/backup-recovery/online/features-v.html
XChangingITAuthor Commented:
im not too familiar with VSS but i know it works when SBS is setup correctly, etc....this workstation im installing VMware on is just in a workgroup.   doesnt VSS only work on networks using domains?
vmwarun - ArunCommented:
VSS is defined based on operating systems and not on workgroups/domains.

This technet article should give you a detailed explanation of how VSS works

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc785914%28WS.10%29.aspx
coolsport00Commented:
VSS is a technology created by Microsoft that basically all it does is let backups run successfully on all files within an OS, even if they're 'live' (running). Arunraju gives a good article on the specifics.

Regards,
~coolsport00
XChangingITAuthor Commented:
Well I spoke with a few people at Acronis and the only  thing they recommend is backing up from within the VMWare session (live) and converting the backup to vmware.  But they will not support running a backup from within the host O/S without shutting down the VMware first.....kinda shocking when you can backup a server live, etc....thanks for your help guys!
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