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How to backup VM in ESX WITH ALL SNAPSHOTS

Posted on 2012-04-11
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hi Experts,

what is please the best (1) and cheapest (2) solution to backup VM in ESX host WITH ALL CREATED SNAPSHOTS.

Many thanks

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Question by:vladobb
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:RickEpnet
ID: 37834336
PHD Virtual will backup with Snapshot in place but why are you leaving Snap Shots in place. You should delete them as soon as possible.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 37834356
Veeam FastSCP will allow you to copy or backup a VM with snapshots intact.

A Backup Application normally uses Snapshots, to backup the parent virtual disk, so the resulting backup would not have any snapshots on restore.

Did not know, EE also has VMware Articles? Checkout my EE Articles

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

the only way to backup and capture your VM as is, with ALL your snapshots, is to use

Veeam FastSCP or Datastore Browser

1. Veeam FastSCP (http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esxi-fastscp.html)

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 1 and 2, 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".



A snapshot is NOT a backup of a VM; that is a gross misconception.  It's not recommended to run a VM on a snapshot for long periods, and performance will be slower.

A snap shot is a way to preserve a point in time when the VM was running OK before making changes. A snapshot is NOT a way to get a static copy of a VM before making changes.  When you take a snapshot of a VM what happens is that a delta file gets created and the original VMDK file gets converted to a Read-Only file.  There is an active link between the original VMDK file and the new delta file.  Anything that gets written to the VM actually gets written to the delta file.   The correct way to use a snapshot is when you want to make some change to a VM like adding a new app or a patch; something that might damage the guest OS. After you apply the patch or make the change and it’s stable, you should really go into snapshot manager and delete the snapshot which will commit the changes to the original VM, delete the snap, and make the VMDK file RW. The official stance is that you really shouldn’t have more than one snap at a time and that you should not leave them out there for long periods of time. Adding more snaps and leaving them there a long time degrades the performance of the VM.  If the patch or whatever goes badly or for some reason you need to get back to the original unmodified VM, that’s possible as well.  

I highly recommend reading these 2 articles on VMware Virtual Machine Snapshots:

Understanding Snapshots - http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1015180
Snaphot Best Practices - http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1025279

Also check out the following Snapshot Articles by Eric Siebert

Pt.1- http://is.gd/Lajg4p
Pt.2- http://is.gd/NdKQWC
Pt.3- http://is.gd/tp2vEK
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Expert Comment

by:paulsolov
ID: 37835420
Are you referring to vmware snapshots?  If so what are you using vmware snapshots for?
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