A couple of days ago I released my first IT Hero podcast with Raymond Overman. He’s based out of North Carolina, and we first became acquainted when I started touring the US to speak at VMUG across the country. In fact I’m writing this at the airport lounge at Boston Logan Airport after just speaking at the New England VMUG!
Just a couple of weeks ago I was on Skype when Raymond messaged me to ask me a quick couple of questions about backup of VM on stand-alone ESX host. I was able to give a couple of pointers. So when VMware SMB approached me to create some podcasts from folks in the vCommunity – Raymond was the first name I wrote on my list.
There are number of ways to backup VMs on stand-alone ESX host. The problem is that most SMB admins discover out is the vast majority of backup solutions on the market place require vCenter server – and that might not play well in situation where the free stand-alone ESX hypervisor is in use. That applies to even many of the evaluation or “freebie” solutions which are designed to tease the customer into using 3rd party products with the hope of up-selling them to a fully-featured product. In the end I recommend to Raymond that he check out a free script called “GhetoVCB” that’s been around for some years and created by William Lam of VMware. GhetoVCB takes me right back to my very early days of using ESX in 2003. Back then there were really no backup solutions for archiving the virtual disks of a VM. King of the hill was a script called “vmbk.pl”, then along came VMware’s VCB and a whole host of commercially available VM backup tools from the likes of Veeam and VizionCore.
Of course back then there was a full “Service Console” on the head of an ESX host based on Redhat Linux. You could still fit a USB removable drive; mount it to the host – and archive your virtual disks there. In the end that method didn’t have a long term future. With the exorable rise of ESXi – which is infinitely more secure direct access to USB storage at the physical server has gone by the by. Remember, you can still present USB removable storage to a VM. By default GhettoVCB backups up a NFS or iSCSI target. So a cheap consumer grade NAS box could be used as the target for you backups – so you can easily access 2-4TB of storage backup for less than $500.
So check out my very first podcast with Raymond Overman of North Carolina – a system administrator in SMB who has transformed his organization’s infrastructure from zero virtualization, to hero virtualization in a matter of months. Within months of being engaged, Raymond had migrated 80% of the companies servers on to the vSphere Platform by the fourth quarter 2011 all their servers were running under ESX 5.0. In the 20min podcast Raymond shares with us his personal virtualization journey and we talk about how he’s approach the issue of backing up VMs in a SMB environment. There are some interesting possibilities – don’t just take my word for it – check out Raymond’s views and perspectives.
Mike Laverick is a VMware vExpert who writes, instructs and otherwise communicates about virtualization.
Get to know Mike – Read 10 Questions With… Mike Laverick