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  • 1.  Remote ESXi server with backup

    Posted Apr 21, 2010 09:18 AM


    At my company we are currently discussing the possibility to place ESXi servers at our remote offices, and then run the local Windows server as a VM on the ESXi server. That will give us hardware independency, room for additional servers, etc.

    Now, if I were to setup a single server at any given site with ESXi 4.0, and wanted to add a USB disk to it, and then setup some kind of VM backup that places the VM clone/backup/vmdk-files on the external USB drive - would that be possible somehow?

    If the answer is 'no', I would appreciate some ideas as to what else I could do. I am not interested in additional server or SAN hardware at the remote sites - only this ESXi server (single IBM server).

    Thanks in advance for any help.


  • 2.  RE: Remote ESXi server with backup

    Broadcom Employee
    Posted Apr 21, 2010 04:09 PM

    Would a USB drive connected to the VM itself be useful? Would mean that your backup would not be an image (vmdk)..

  • 3.  RE: Remote ESXi server with backup

    Posted Apr 21, 2010 04:47 PM

    You might be able to do it... Although I would not recommend it... Unless the USB drive has redundancy built into it, you're not going to be much better off than just burning dvd's of the backup files created in the VM...

    Check out this information for connecting USB devices, on the host, to a VM...

    VMware VCP4

    Consider awarding points for "helpful" and/or "correct" answers.

  • 4.  RE: Remote ESXi server with backup

    Posted Apr 21, 2010 08:36 PM

    The simplest way to accomplish this would be to have the vm that is running or one of the vm's if there are multiple have access to the pen drive and run file-based backups within the operating system. Direct access to the VMDK's for backup is basically not possible.

    The exception is if you do some encapsulation where you run openfiler/freenas then create the windows VMDK's on the virtual storage appliance which is a VM residing on the same box and at which point you could backup the windows-based vmdk's. This scenario does work but isn't the fastest and very convoluted...ok for in a lab environment but I would be leery about in production even for low usage scenarios (too much management overhead, performance loss).

  • 5.  RE: Remote ESXi server with backup

    Posted Apr 21, 2010 09:31 PM

    I think you're better of getting a cheap nas that supports NFS.

    Mount the NFS export under ESXi and use that for backups

    You could use the ghettovcb script to make sapshots from you running VM's

    I'm in a simmilar situation as you and I'm considering the above sollution for two remote sites.

    The only think else I would like is the use of a tapestramer from within the VM (SDLT) but don't think this is possible yet.

  • 6.  RE: Remote ESXi server with backup

    Posted Apr 22, 2010 08:55 AM


    First of all, thanks for all your replies.

    It seems however, that I need to clarify why I would like this "feature".

    We're already running file based backup by replicating necessary files with DFS to servers at our central site. I created this thread because we need a solution to restore all servers as quickly as possible, and then just replicate data with DFS.

    So imaging that the physical ESXi server explodes and we get a new server delivered locally on the site. My thoughts were to have ESXi just on a bootable USB stick or a scripted install on a CD or whatever easy solution, that we can instruct a local user to change to the new server.

    No matter how we end up doing the above, there's still the issue about the VM's. How do I transfer them to this new server, so that I can start them up, and start doing file restore with DFS?

    It would be nice to have a USB disk, little NAS or whatever that we could just instruct a user to move to the new server, and then we could do the restore of VM's ourselves.

    What about setting up a small cheap NAS box that supports iSCSI - like Synology products? I like the USB solution better (because of administration), but all suggestions are welcome. The only important thing is that it shouldn't cost a lot, and it must be easy so administer (and easy for a non-IT user to be instructed to move, etc.).



  • 7.  RE: Remote ESXi server with backup

    Posted Apr 22, 2010 03:15 PM


    i´m not sure what perfomance you need. But youre right. You can use something like a NAS that supports iSCSI. There are a lot of small or cheap boxes. Qnap or what you want. Are you using VCenter to manage the Hosts? When there are problems with the esxi host you can backup the config of your host with the vicfg-cfgbackup command.

    To install an new esxi Server, i think theres no problem for anybody. A simple phone call should be enough to help.


  • 8.  RE: Remote ESXi server with backup

    Posted Apr 22, 2010 03:22 PM

    I wouldn't need great performance. I would only need to make a backup or clone of the VMs ones every month or so.

    Yes we have VC to manage, but it is installed on a server at the central site. Would that have any oerformance impact for the clone/backup operation to the local iSCSI device? It shouldn't right?


  • 9.  RE: Remote ESXi server with backup

    Posted Apr 23, 2010 07:47 AM


    thank i think this would be a good solution.