vMware backup ESXi 4.0

Hello and thank you for taking the time out to read my question.

We have a vMware server running ESXi 4.0. Within there are 4 servers + 1 clone.
There are also 65 workstations. The hardware is brand new and we yet to install a backup solution.

We can not be down for more than 24-36 hrs.
We want to be safe in case of fire or water damage.
Price is of big concern but on the other hand we are ok w/ paying a bit more for something good.

The virtual servers very rarely change as do the workstations. The workstations we are not too worried about b/c they are easy to recreate.

I was thinking about purchasing a IOSafe 2TB usb drive and dumping all the vmk's on to it. Do manual download directly from the datastore as needed.
The company critical data 200 GB can be sent off-site.

I would like a more automated process w/o having to have to pay for 4 separate Norton Live State Licenses.

Any good/tried/tested/performed input would be greatly appreciated :)

Thank you much !!!
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this software is VMWare ready:

also I own an IOSafe and it's a great product.

I also recommend an SAN or NAS as well.
Have a look at  this product Veeam
I have not used it but have heard good reports about it.
On another note, if you are going to run image state backups to an external hard disk, try to make it a fixed external drive like a NAS or SAN.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
These are you options, trails are available to download and try for 30 days.

1. Veeam Backup and Replication (World Leader and won many awards).
2. Quest vRanger Pro
3. phd Virtual Backup
4. Symantec Backup Exec (disk or tape).

The above options backup the VM to Disk, you'll then need to arrange transfer of these backups to tape, with tape based software. (if your organisation requires that you have a backup on tape).

You could also use offsite storage on the Internet to backup to, e.g. Iron Mountain.
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Veeam all the way
loshdogAuthor Commented:
Hello and thank you all for your recommendations.

I am very familiar w/ Backup Exec and Acronis and the fact that you are able to boot the machines from the image files.

I decided to check out Veeam since its specifically designed for vMware. I was very impressed to say the least. http://www.veeam.com/

I have a demo scheduled for today at 2 pm EST.

Cost per Virtual Server (or socket as they refer to it) is $599 standard and $899 for enterprise version.
I attached a spec. sheet comparing features of both for reference.


I will post my results and the run down on the solution we will go with once we pick one. This will be complete by end of week.I am thinking Veeam though.

Thank you all again...

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I don't think you'll change your mind!

But it might be worth a comparison against Quest vRanger Pro (for comparison sake!)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What version of ESX, i.e. what license do you have?

you may be able to use VMware vDR for free (included in your license!).

(forgot this one, from original post!) Shouldn't have we use it!!!
loshdogAuthor Commented:
ESXi 4.0

And i will look into vDR since it's free and cost is a factor.

Many thanks..

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
yes, what's your license Essentials, Essentials Plus, Advanced, Enterprise, Enterprise Plus?

vDR is not free, it comes it depends on your license?

You are not using the free version of ESXi?
loshdogAuthor Commented:
Sorry about that.

VMware vCenter Server 4 Essentials for vSpere (quantity 1);
VMware vSphere 4 Essentials PLUS for 1 processor (quantity 6).
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Why don't you save your money and check out and test VMware Data Recovery

VMware vSphere Essentials Plus includes VMware Data Recovery!

It's not going to cost you anything, it's part of your license!
how much is that for a cluster of 50 servers?
loshdogAuthor Commented:
I went through the Veeam demo and it looks really good.

Thank you hanccocka  I will look into that option. Free is my favorite price :) but it's not always the most reliable or practical.

I will look into for sure. However, you mentioned that you use vDR in your environment. From you personal experience. Is it reliable? How does it compare to some of the features of Veeam or Backup Exec.?

I do like the fact that it's built for vMware like Veeam.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We are VMware, Veeam and Quest Partners. So we are familiar with ALL the Backup products, we implement best of breed for our clients. We've been using Quest Vizioncore Products for years, Vizioncore were the first to introduce a Backup Product called ESX Ranger for VMware.

From our personal experience, unless we wanted to backup to tape, we wouldn't use a Symantec product, tape based backup in our opinion is the dark ages, but some clients still insist they want to have a tape based copy, because they feel happy holding a tape in their hands.

It's been a long time in coming for VMware to get a Backup product in the product, (VCB was not a backup product). It's always been clumsy to select a third party backup product that doesn't inegrated with the management tools, which has always put off some clients.

vDR is now reliable, it's true, there were some issues with v1.00. v1.2 and v1.2.1 is rock solid, some people would prefer to have alerting and email, but come on folks rome wasn't built in a day, and Veeam and Vizioncore have had a headstart on VMware.

vDR in our experience, is faster to restore and backup then any other products in our scenario. It does have some disadvantages, it's only designed for 100 recommended VMs, repository sizes VMware recommend at not larger than 500GB.

Some users/organisation don't like it, and prefer Veeam or Quest vRanger BUT at additional cost.

We also use Veeam and vRanger to backup off the infrastucture, so we can Offline the data (to Online Storage).

All products are very good, they just do the backup differently, some have more features than others.

It comes done, to what requirements you have for a backup and restore product.

vDR, Veeam (at additional cost), vRanger (at additional cost) may tick those boxes for you.

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loshdogAuthor Commented:
Thank you again.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
no problems, please come back, if you have any issues with vDR or Veeam.
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