Create VMDk Backups

Hi Experts,

We have multiple flavors of VSpere, 5.0, 4.1 and 4.0. We have multiple VM's guests that include Linux and Windows on these stand alone servers with no VMDK backups.

We purchased VM Essentials+ and Vcenter,but have not installed or configured it yet and not sure which steps need to be taken.

1) How to Create Backups for VM's.
2) Patch Servers(do i need to shut down vm's before patching?)
3) How to Install Essential+ plus Licensing,

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There are several ways to do backups.  Our choice is to use a product called Veeam. It does a great job of backing up VM's and, at least with the version we use, you also get a virtual lab so that you can spin up your machines in a sandbox environment for test new things.

If you are talking about patching the underlying ESX/ESXI OS, then you can patch it with everything up, but you do need to reboot. If you have enough resources to do vMotion you will not have any downtime; if not, then you will.

Not familiar with the Essential + product or it's licensing.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. The simplest and quickest method of getting a backup is to do the following:-

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

Later you can install VMware Data Protection, and start backups that way with vCenter Server. This is included with your Essentials Plus Licensing.....

2. Install VMware Update Manager, you will need to install vCenter Server first!

HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Update Manager (VUM) 6.0

3. Essentials Plus, is just a license key, but you will need to download and install vCenter Server, add you hosts to vCenter Server, install VUM, Update Hosts, and install VDP...

You have got a lot of work, but I have EE Articles for you to do this.....step by step with screenshots, tutorial....

So what licenses do you have?

Have you download and installed vCenter Server ?
talltreeAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew,

We have.

vCenter Server 5 Essentials and vSphere 5 Essentials Plus.

I have not downloaded VCenter server yet, should i build an windows7 vm on the esxi box and then install vcenter? the biggest thing we need is to have patching and backups done asap.

thank you
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
A Windows 7 VM is not compatible with vCenter Server.

If you need to do Backups and Patching ASAP, these can be done without vCenter Server, depending upon your timescales, vCenter Server installation, Update Manager, and VMware Data Protection can take a while to setup.

I would highly recommend vCenter Server Appliance, rather than vCenter Server for Windows.

1. You install and setup vCenter Server Appliance based on Linux, no need for a Windows Server, or use a Windows License. See this article.

HOW TO: Install and Configure the VMware vSphere vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 5.5

you will then need to add hosts to vCenter Server

see here

HOW TO: Add VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi Hosts to VMware vSphere vCenter Server 6.0

This is the same procedure for 5.0.

then you wlll need to install VMware Update Manager, on a Windows Server (VM).

see here

HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Update Manager (VUM) 6.0

finally, you will need to Import the VDP appliance, and then start backups.

How many hosts do you have ?

Essentials only manages 3 Host Servers.

VMs do need to be shutdown before patching.
talltreeAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew,

I have 3 host for the Essentials+ license. So the VM appliance is not a physical appliance you buy it can be used on the ESXI host and is just Linux based?

Is it possible to create backups for the VM"s on the hosts without VCenter or would i need to by a VEEAM license?

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You are licensed to download and use the vCenter Appliance for FREE.

Nothing to purchase!

vSphere Data Protection (VMware Backup product) is also included in your license.

So again nothing further to purchase!

You cannot backup VMs on the host, why would you want to do that, if the host failed, all your backups would be lost.....

you really want to backup your VMs, to a local storage, that is not a ESXi host.

Purchase Veeam if you wish.....but you already have a backup product.
talltreeAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew,

I may have worded it wrong,  I mean backup of the host and then move the backup to a another location.

I will download the software and start working on setting up the appliance and  then vSphere Data Protection.

I will follow your documents you have posted and see how I make out.

Thank you very much.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
With most Backup Applications you Backup the VMs from the Host to another location....

with VDP, which is an appliance, which is running on the Host and Host Datastore, to avoid a single point of failure, you will need to place your VDP appliance on a non-host datastore!

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talltreeAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew,

You mean the VDP appliance needs to be on an different ESXi host than the the Host and VM's that are being backed up?

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Well, let me ask you a question?

Would you want to store your backups of your VMs on your ESXi hosts ?

Have you given any thought as to where, you will store your VMware vSphere Backups, in the event you have a disaster, and need to restore them?

The VDP appliance is installed on the same datastore as your VMs, and when you backup, the VM is backed-up into the appliance, which is stored on the same local datastore (in the VMDK) as your VMs.

So normally, you would connect your ESXi servers, to shared network storage, and install your VDP appliance on this storage, so in the event your host fails, you do not lose your backups.


You could create two VDP Appliances...

VDP A on Host A
VDP B on Host B

VDP A backs up and stored VMs from Host B.....
VDP B backs up and stored VMs from Host A.....
talltreeAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew,

My intent is to store them offsite. At this time we do not have any shared storage, so I am looking at the possibility of purchasing a small SAN or a VSAN solution.

We are a reltively small company, but growing and the past IT staff implemented some of our critical core servers on free vmware which to me is risky, thus my first step was to purchase the essentials+ package.

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