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Using Veeam to Backup VM Images

Veeam Software is an IT company that specialized in virtual machines, particularly in the niches of data storage, protection, backup and restoration. While their software is certainly aimed at IT industry professionals, preserving backups of your virtual machine images is a rather straightforward process.

Initial Setup

Before a VM image can be backed up through Veeam, you must first add an ESXi server to your system. This is easily accomplished by right-clicking on the Servers node found inside the system management tree, and then clicking on "Add Server." From here, simply enter the IP address or DNS name of the server, make sure the option "Standalone ESX(i) host" is checked, and click the "Next" button.

The Backup Process

After installing the ESXi server, you are now ready to go ahead with the backup. The first step is to specify the server's connection settings, including the port. You'll need to have the system administrator's credentials to proceed past this point, so make sure you have the appropriate username and password handy. Click "Next" to complete the Add Server Wizard, making sure to check the box that reads "Connect when I click Finish". From this point, click the "Finish" button to continue to backup process.

Next, launch the New Backup Job Wizard by right-clicking on the Backups node, which is located under the Backup and Replication tab within Veeam's management wizard. Select "Backup" to continue, where you'll be immediately be given the opportunity to give your newly created job a specific name and description.

Now you'll have to make you first big decision: which backup mode to use for the task. There are three different options, each of which has its own advantages. Direct SAN Access Mode is recommended in cases where ESX hosts utilize any kind of shared storage, while Network Mode works best when your ESX host relies on local storage devices. Finally, Virtual Appliance Mode, which is only available on virtual machines that use ESX or ESXi hosts, takes advantage of advanced SCSI protocols to improve overall performance of the backup process. Once you've selected the appropriate option, click "Next" to continue.

Here you will select the virtual machines you wish to backup. If your virtual machine is not immediately listed in the display tree, you may need to click the "Add" button and locate it manually. Once selected, you will be prompted to choose your backup destination from the Destination tree. You can also use the "Path to folder" field to name a specific backup folder on the host system. From here, you can either enter the filename of your newly created backup and click "Next" to proceed or you can configure the advanced settings of the backup job. This allows you to create full synthetic backups, periodic backups and more.

The next step in the wizard is the Guest Processing window, which creates an accurate transaction-based backup that helps to protect against data loss during a virtual machine restoration. You will also establish the administrator privileges of the virtual machine that is being backed up.

Finally, the last phase of the wizard allows you to define a regular schedule for the backup job, which is used to automate the entire process for future use. Click "Create" to proceed, and if you want to initiate the backup process immediately, simply check the box that reads "Run the job when I click Finish." Finally, click the "Finish" button to exit the wizard.


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