NFS is a great solution to use along with the ghettoVCB scripts I mentioned in my previous posts. This way you can backup your virtual machines to USB storage connected to a workstation or server.
Well my trial is over and I have now purchased it for use in my home lab. I have to say it works flawlessly. I experimented with some free NFS software that is out there but nothing seemed to work perfectly. I found that a lot of products would just stop working after a period of time and then you’d have to restart the service or program in question.
Allegro NFS is pretty easy to configure. You start the program, you specify the windows path name you want to share out via NFS, then you specify the hosts and rights you want to give to the share. Then you just go to your client computer and mount the NFS share as you normally would. Pretty straightforward, it doesn’t get any easier than this. This is a great solution for users using workstation operating systems such as Windows Vista to share out external USB drives as NAS storage.
However if you want to use a workable free solution in your server environment then I would suggest using the Windows Services for Unix download with your Windows 2003 install. To get this working please do the following:
Now you can mount the share from VMware. When you go to add NFS storage just point it at the IP of the server and the path. So if the server’s IP address is 192.168.1.10 for example, then the serer name would be 192.168.1.10 and the NFS path would be /NFSBackup.
In my last blog post I spoke of a program called Plink. Plink is a command line interface to Putty. This allows us to connect to an SSH session from the command line. This can be leveraged using batch scripting and windows scheduled tasks to schedule ESXi jobs.
For my example I will show you how to schedule the ghettoVCB.sh script I spoke about in my last blog entry. Please see my detailed instructions on how to do this in my blog post here.
So in order to implement this script you will first have to enable SSH access to the ESXi server. You can do this by following my enable SSH instructions in my blog post here.
Then after you have enabled SSH, please follow my detailed instructions in my blog post here.
File level backups are self explantory, they are the backups you run with backup software to backup the individual files, folders and system state data on a server. Everyone should already be doing these kinds of backups.
Virtual machine level backups are backups of the entire virtual machine itself. Virtual machine backups consist of the actual files that make up the entire virtual machine. For example in the case of VMware, the vmdk and vmx files for example. By backing these files up, you can restore the entire virtual machine to another location if your ESX server and the storage area that holds the virtual machine blows up. You can install a new ESX server and restore the entire virtual machine to a new storage location managed by a new ESX host.
One of my favorite products to do this is the free script from William Lam called GhettoVCB. You can read more details about it in my post here.
Vizioncore makes a great product called vEssentials which consists of vRanger Pro, vReplicator, and vCharter Pro. The Vizioncore offering is a lot cheaper than some of the competitor offerings.
vRanger Pro backs up the entire VM allowing you to restore it if something happens to it. vReplicator replicates the entire VM to another site for a great disaster recovery alternative and vCharter Pro provides a great solution for performance monitoring.
You can check out their products here. Despite using these products for virtual machine backups, I would still use a normal backup product to backup the individual data inside the virtual machine so you can do granualar restoration. Virtual machine backups are more for the situation where you lose the entire VM not for when you just need to restore an individual file.