VMWare ESXi backups on-the-cheap

This week I needed to sort out backing up my ESXi VMs to an another location. A few Google searches brought me into contact with a fantastic set of tools to do just that. Following is the setup I made, with links to the helpful people. Thanks so much to everyone linked below.

  1. First you’ll need to decide on your backup location. I decided for an NFS share on my existing backup server, which is running Windows Server 2008. That meant installing the NFS tools for Windows Server 2008, and also finding an available Server 2003 machine to install the User Mapping provider on, as Server 2008 has deprecated it. Read http://miketrellosblog.arcadecab.com/2010/08/setting-up-an-nfs-share-to-receive-esxi-4-1-vm-backups/ and http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sfu/archive/2008/12/15/set-up-services-for-network-file-system-in-windows-server-2008.aspx
  2. Use the ghettoVCB script to create the backups of the VMs, take snapshots if necessary, copy the backup to the network location, and then purge the snapshots. FANTASTIC piece of script. http://miketrellosblog.arcadecab.com/2010/08/using-ghettovcb-sh-to-backup-esxi-4-1-vms-to-nfs-datastore/
  3. For scheduling the backup job, you may wish to create a specific backup user on your ESXi machine, or perhaps you’ll need to change the root password to something you’re happier to write in a plain text file. Either way, these will help: http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2008/08/14/esxi-ssh-and-non-root-users/ and http://www.theblueboxes.com/how-modify-root-password-vmware-vsphere-esxesxi-4-vsphere-client

Made my life a whole lot easier.