When it comes to do regular backups from your guest machines, there are a lot of options from which you can choose. Following this blogpost we have found this excellent shell script toolkit from William Lam, the GhettoVCB.

The author of the previously mentioned blogpost says that he cloud stop right there, ignoring the GUI programs offering the same kind of functionalities. Well, we stopped right there. The reason is that it is very handy to be able to run the backup jobs in the host OS directly, without maintaining any extra server(s) just to host the backup schedules and a GUI program on it. Having an extra server for this is always an another point of possible failure. We are not saying that the you should put all current and future roles on a single, monolithic server, but in our case, this schell script set + the neccessary cronjob entries is a very good solution.

It works by mapping an NFS server export as a local datastore, and you can configure ghettoVCB to copy the backups to this datastore.

Check out the documentation as well as the restore docs set. Some of the cool features do include:

  • backup running vm’s (by creating and deleting a snapshot on the fly)
  • gzip compression support
  • ability to configure individual VM backup policies
  • support vm exclusion list

When configuring your crontab on the esxi server, be sure that you don’t have time offset issues. VMWare servers tend to run on UTC, and not in a local time zone.