HOW TO: Backup Virtual Machines When Using ESXi

I am new to ESXi

Have been using VMWare Workstation and have been backing up the directories where the VM's reside after shutting them down , thus I get a copy of the VMDK, VMX, essentially everything I would need if I had to spin them up on another computer running VMWorkstation.

I have now deployed ESXi and have two VM's running on it (These are production VM's "Win 2K8 Server R2 on both")

Everything appears to be running correctly, now I want to backup the VM's to an external drive or network share in case I have a failure.

What is the best way to protect myself to make sure I could spin up a copy of the VM on another physical ESXi server should the current one have an issue?
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Hi there you could try veeam. is the defacto when backing up VM's
Well, you could go into the Datastore Browser (rt-click on datastore, Browse) then simply do a copy/paste operation of the whole VM folder to your network location. NOTE: The VMs need to be powered down to do this.

You could also use Veeam FastSCP to essentially do the same thing. And, the VMs still need to be powered down. This is a free tool from Veeam (

You could also use vCenter Converter, Standalone (also free: but doing so you need to backup (convert) to a datastore location. But, in doing the conversion, the source VM can stay powered on.

Keep in mind with EACH solution above, you will have an outdated VM based upon the time that you do the backup/copy/conversion.


@cwstad2, the Backup & Replication tool canNOT be used unless the poster has at least Essentials (any paid version of ESXi) so that the vSphere APIs can be used. My assumption here is that the poster has vSphere Hypervisor (free ESXi version). If there is a paid version of ESXi used, agreed...Veeam B&R could be used, but cost is around $500 per processor (ESXi host).

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Excellent advice, at least both options have been covered
tech911Author Commented:
To clarify,
I am using ESXi,

I do have the stand alone converter v5.0

And not to be a total NOOB but...

Where do I find the datastore browser?  Is it in vSphere client?
click on the esxi host go to configuation, click on storage then right click to browse the data store
You don't need to go to the Config tab, but yes, you need to log into your host with vSphere Client. From the Summary tab, you can see your datastore(s). Just rt-click on it (as I mentioned above) and select 'Browse Datastore'. You can then rt-click on the VM folder and choose to copy it.


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