Backup software for free version of ESXi

I've read that with the free version of ESXi then you can't use a third party tool to perform any backups as this is against the EULA. This is giving me some headaches, I' having trouble finding out the following:

I've found that support for VMWare Consolidated backup is being  withdrawn so I've ruled that out. I've also found that vSphere Data  Recovery is included in vSphere Enterprise Plus, Advanced, and  Essentials Plus Editions which costs $$$s per CPU. Is vSphere Data  Recovery available in any other packages e.g. the non-free ESXi editions  or do I have to buy vSphere?

Does the EULA restriction apply to scripts such as ghettoVCB? I'm assuming that it doesn't but these are limited.

Are there any VMWare approved backup solutions other than vSphere Data Recovery? Are there any free backup tools I can legally use with the free version  of ESXi? I'd be annoyed if we had to shell out a ton of money for the paid for versions of ESXi or vSphere just to be  able to backup the VMs.

Does the vSphere Client have any backup/restore functionality built in?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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You need to purchase at least the foundation version of ESX to get access to VCB or backup your data online.
Brian GeeCommented:
I somewhat recently had the same question as you with a newly implemented (free) ESXi 4.1 deployment. I tried Veeam FastSCP and it works great.

Another thing that method that I have found that I haven't seen on any of the forums that I had searched (very extensively) for free ESXi backup methods/software was accessing your ESXi server from the Web browser (where you would d/l vSphere, etc.) and then click the Browse datastores in this host's inventory link. Login at the prompt and then you can drill down to the VM folder you need in question and then you can download all of the files from here. Using Firefox and the DownThemAll addon would be yet another alternative for free backup methods with ESXi.

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You cannot use GhettoVCB because GhettoVCB needs access to the Licensed APIs.

The only other option for you to investigate is the following:-

It's not ideal, as suggested already by yobri, you could use VeeamFastSCP but this requires you to power-off the VM. (not ideal, and is not entirely fast!).

Another option is to use VMware Standalone Converter which is a free download, and can "backup" the VM hot.

Personally, I would at least get a license for Essentials.
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mark_667Author Commented:
yobri, the second method you mentioned is a nice work-around for one-off backups but I've got a lot of VMs so I need to automate the process and I really need something like vDR that can automate backups, and preferably quescue them so they restore nicely. I also don't want to be backing up virtual memory files (would this be the case with a snapshot?) so I may need something that can power down VMs, back them up and then restart them.

Given what's out there, I don't think this is asking a lot, I just need something I can legally use with the free version of ESXi. Can vSphere Data Recovery be purchased on it's own?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
vDR can be purchased on it's own contact your VMware Partner or Reseller. (but you may find it cheaper to purchase as a bundle!)
mark_667Author Commented:
Thanks guys, I've split the points.
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