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How to Backup a VMware Image

VMware, Inc. provides software-based solutions for use in cloud computing and hardware virtualization applications. One of their most popular tools, vSphere, replaced the application known as VMware Infrastructure 3.5 in 2009. The replacement facilitated the addition of new and improved functionality to the application, including the VMware Data Recovery utility. Bundled with the "Essentials Plus" or "Advanced Edition" of vSphere, the Data Recovery utility provides an effective means of backing up and restoring your critical files.

What is vSphere's Data Recovery?

VMware vSphere Data Recovery is meant to facilitate the backup and restoration of virtual machines, including virtualized Windows environments. Although vSphere's Data Recovery utility is not meant as a sole means of backup, it can work in tandem with safeguards that are already in place in order to strengthen your system and ensure the safe storage of data. While it is possible to restore the state of an entire virtual machine via vSphere's Data Recovery, singular files, such as lost documents, will need to be restored through a different application.

Creating a Backup Schedule

Once vSphere's Data Recovery utility is live and running through the established network infrastructure, you can then proceed to initiate an automatic backup schedule to take care of the job for you. Note that a system must be using less than 90% of its available resources in order for an automatic backup to begin. If more than 90% of the system's resources are being consumed, vSphere's Data Recovery utility will wait until enough resources are available before it begins the operation.

To configure an automatic backup, open the vSphere client. Open the Home page and click "VMware Data Recovery," which is found within the "Solutions and Applications" section. Next, simply highlight VMware Data Recovery and click "Connect" to launch the wizard. You will be asked for security credentials before proceeding any further, but it may be a good idea to create a brand new user account to keep track of ongoing backup operations.

The next step in the wizard is to setup a backup destination. If the storage destination is located on a network, click "Add Network Share" to entire the location. Make sure that you are using the actual IP address of your network as opposed to a network name.
From here, you'll need to "Mount" and "Format" the storage destination. This can be completed through the wizard itself. Once finished, click "Setup New Backup Job" and click "Close." If the backup process doesn't begin immediately, simply click the "Backup" tab and then click "New."

Next, you'll be presented with a list of virtual machines that are available for backup. Make sure the boxes are checked next to the virtual machines you wish to backup and then click "Next" to proceed. Here you will be given the option to define a schedule, also known as a "backup window," which lets you establish how often to perform an automatic backup.

The last page of the wizard lets you establish a backup retention policy. Use this option to determine how many backup copies to keep and a specific timeline before deletion. You will want to consider the amount of free storage space available within the storage destination in order to set an appropriate retention policy.


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