How to save the vmdk file.

Posted on 2011-10-19
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Hello experts.

I need to back up vmdk file. ( for back up )
If I don't use the backup software, how can I back up vmdk file ?
I would like to know the easiest way and secure way.

and I can use vCenter and vSphere client.

clone , template , or other way ?
which way is the best ?
and please let me know how to do that.
snapshot is not for back up , right ?
Question by:shouichi
    LVL 40

    Expert Comment

    Veeam Backup & Replication is the leader in VM backups, for the entire VM, or individual VM files.

    If you don't wanna pay anything and don't mind doing it manually, or powering down the VM, you can simply copy the VMDK or the whole VM folder using either the Datastore Browser, Veeam FastSCP (my recommendation), or WinSCP...all free tools.

    LVL 40

    Expert Comment

    Or, you can use vCenter Converter or vCenter Converter Standalone to make a copy of the VM while it's powered on. Converter Standalone is also a free tool, as well.

    vCenter Converter Standalone:; Converter User Guide:, and the VMware KB on Converter best practices:

    Hope that helps.

    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    LVL 116

    Accepted Solution

    1. Veeam FastSCP (

    Fast Virtual Machine / File Transfer. Faster than WinSCP and other SCP-based tools as it uses full network capacity. The Veeam FastSCP engine also features traffic compression and empty block removal for best file copy performance.

    You can use FastSCP to connect to the ESX/ESXi server, and download the entire virtual machine folder/directory to the current workstation or server, where yov've connected from. You must ensure that the virtual machines are powered off to complete this operation.

    2. Datastore browser

    The datastore browser is included in the vSphere GUI Client, and enables you access to the datastore, virtual machines are stored on. You can simple use the cut and paste, or download/upload options to backup and restore virtual machines. Again to copy a virtual machine, the virtual machine must be powered off.

    Restoring with options 9 and 10, above, you must add the Virtual Machine manually to the inventory, by selecting the vmx file in the datastore browser, right click on the *.vmx file, and select "Add to Inventory".

    Checkout my Article

    VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide
    LVL 116

    Expert Comment

    by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
    You are correct Snapshot is not a Backup.

    But Template or Clone will create a backup for you.

    We use the Clone option before any major changes to a VM.
    LVL 40

    Expert Comment

    If you did wanna use Clone, or create the VM and just make a Template, the VM Admin Guide discusses that in more detail on pg. 33:

    For more on snapshots, see:
    Best Practices:
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    If you have a paid for VMware you should have access to VCB (VMware Consolidated Backup). You can use it to script backups off your VMs without shutting them down using a batch file. My understanding of VEEAM and other vm backup tools is that they leverage this functionality, add a nice GUI and alot of functionality.

    Using this you can backup to a portable drive, local storage or whatever.

    If you don't have licenses for VCB you can try your luck with "Ghetto VCB"

    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you

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