ESXi Host backup best practice

Hello EE,

I have 2 ESXi hosts and I am wondering for Disaster Recovery, what is the best way to back these up or are they required to be backed up?  What are you doing in your environment?
operationsITAsked:
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Zephyr ICTCloud ArchitectCommented:
My own ESXi servers run from a usb thumb drive, if one thumb drive would fail another one is waiting to replace it, all the VM's are on external shared storage, they are also in a separate backup.

The host itself doesn't really need backup, you can always re-install it easily keeping the datastore intact.

Most companies I've worked with do something similar.
jmcgOwnerCommented:
Well, of course you want to back it up!

For the ESXi hosts themselves, you just need to backup their configuration. Choose your method from the ones given by VMware:

Backing up and restoring ESXi configuration using the vSphere Command-Line Interface and vSphere PowerCLI (2042141)

That's just a file you need to have backed up. The recovery path for ESXi is to re-install it on the repaired or replacement hardware, then apply the backed-up configuration.

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That leaves the VMs themselves. There's no one best way to backup the VMs. What works best for you depends a lot on where they are stored (local vs shared storage, for instance) and whether you're invested in backup software that can do the VMs using VMware APIs or just host-based; blind or application-aware; etc. as well as what scheme you have in place for replicating the VMs or their workloads across different sites.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I would test the Backup and Restore using PowerCLI because it's not working correctly at present!

We do not back them up, (because it's broken!) we have documentation and screenshots, of how to restore, and it does not take very long to rebuild a server and apply changes, we tested, it and it was 30 minutes.

You can backup the USB flash drives, if you have installed on USB flash drive or SD card.

As for VM Backups...

see my EE Article

12 commercial software backup products for VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) you should be evaluating today
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Zephyr ICTCloud ArchitectCommented:
Why not use host profiles for re-configuring a re-installed host?
Mr TorturSystem EngineerCommented:
Hi,
usually I don't backup the ESXi servers, nor recommend to.
As told above it is not very long to reinstall (about 15min) and reconfigure (between 10 and 20 minutes for me also it is only an example).
I think host profile will be good for the ones having esxi enterprise plus edition only, won't it? Or you can backup freely your host profile and use that for restoring on a new ESXi installed thanks to the evaluation period ? I did not test that but maybe.
operationsITAuthor Commented:
Ok it doesn't take long to build an ESXi host and restore.  When you say screen shots is that of how to install ESXi in your environment?  What is it exactly when you say apply changes should we be careful to document?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
When you say screen shots is that of how to install ESXi in your environment?

do you not have any build documentation, of how your environment, was built ?

If you organisation had a fire or bomb go off, what would you do?

All changes you apply to your Production environment, e.g. Host ESXi servers, and VMs should be recorded.

Yes....see my EE Articles, you'll get the idea....


see my EE Article, Step by Step Tutorial Instructions with Screenshots


Part 1: HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 2: HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client

Part 3: HOW TO: Create an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image (*.iso), and MD5 checksum signature, for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 4: HOW TO: Upload an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image to a VMware datastore for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client, and checking its MD5 checksum signature is correct.

Part 5: HOW TO: Enable SSH Remote Access on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 6: HOW TO: Create your first Linux Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 7: HOW TO: Create your first Windows Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 8: HOW TO: Install VMware Tools for Windows on a VMware Windows virtual machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 9: HOW TO: Install VMware Tools for Linux on a VMware Linux virtual machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 10: HOW TO: Backup (Export) and Restore (Import) virtual machines to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 for FREE

Part 11: HOW TO: Suppress Configuration Issues System logs on host are stored on non-persistent storage

Part 12: HOW TO: Configure and Replace the SSL Certificate on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

Part 13: HOW TO: Shrink or Reduce a VMware Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone v5.5.2

Part 14: HOW TO: Configure basic networking on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

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operationsITAuthor Commented:
Thank you for all the details
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