Home Data Center VMware Server Tip – Snapshots of Running Virtual Machines

VMware Server Tip – Snapshots of Running Virtual Machines

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Written by: Michael Fox (www.ivdesk.com)

The general way (as far as I know) to backup a VM using the free version of VMWare is by either taking snapshots or by using a traditional backup product like BackupExec.  In the free version of VMWare, snapshots are a fairly manual process.  Backup agents have their own headaches (such as the high cost for licensing and their ability to negatively impact the performance of other VMs when running).  We use a simple snapshot product called Drive Snapshot from Tom Ehlert Software, which is available at http://www.drivesnapshot.de/en/.  The great thing about this software is that with 1 simple command line it allows us to: 

  • Take a snapshot of the RUNNING VM (backup apps w/out a special agent!).
  • Send this snapshot to a different physical location.
  • Uniquely name each partition snapshot file with the time and date of the snapshot.
  • Snapshots are stored in an efficient compressed format and generally take 3 to 15 minutes to run to completion. 

The software is inexpensive and restores are a BREEZE for anyone with general command line experience.  Using a virtual floppy image you can restore a snapshot to a new VM in about 15 minutes.

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