Vmware, ESXi and Drive Layout

We currently have an SBS2003 server with about 20 clients that connect to it.  
It runs the Domain, File Sharing, Exchange, DHCP, DNS, etc.

The configuration is 2 x 320GB Drives (RAID1) where the OS, Data, Exchange, etc. are stored and 1 x 1.5TB Drive as a backup drive where nightly images are captured.

In an effort to improve reliability and ease/expedite recovery efforts in the event of failure, we were advised
to use Vmware ESXi and take routine snapshots.

I am curious if this is the best route and also how the drives should be laid out.  This is what I have
come up with thus far:

1.5TB Drive - Install ESXi here and move OS to this drive in a small partition and leave > 1TB Free
RAID1 Drives - Move Data and Exchange to these drives

1)  Run daily script to backup Data on RAID1 drives to the 1TB free space on the first drive
2)  Run daily script to take snapshots of VM and save them to RAID 1 Drives
3)  Buy a NAS and run daily script to backup both VM snapshots and Data drive to it
4)  Use Crashplan for Offsite Cloud backup of Data

How does that all sound?  Is there a better/easier method?

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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
Please do not use VMWare for snapshots, they are not backups.

Snapshots are a point in time incremental virtual disk..so if you take a snapshot your virtual disk becomes read only and any new writes are written to a second, third... virtual disk depending on number of snapshots.  Over time the system becomes slow since any new data is written farther from the where it is read and snapshots may become corrupt and cause your virtual machine to be unstable and potentially unusable

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afeudaleAuthor Commented:
Hi paulsolov,

Thanks for the info.  Maybe I am using the wrong terminology when I say "snapshot" for the VM.  What we are using now is Acronis True Image to backup the server to a second hard drive every night.  In the event of a disaster, we can restore this Image to a new hard drive.

I was under the impression that ESXi has a similar feature (taking a backup image of the drive) so that it can be restored in the event of failure (even to dissimilar hardware).  I thought this was called "snapshot", but maybe it is a different feature?

arconis can backup vmware.
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