Virtual Machines have undoubtedly become the core of IT development. And type-1 hypervisors such as VMware ESXi are also widely preferred for their high resource utilization. Therefore, it has also become one of the important daily routines to backup VMware ESXi VMs regularly for disaster recovery.
However, shutting down or suspending the VMs before each backup is both laborious and compromises efficiency. If you want to better maintain business continuity, hot backup that allows you to backup VMs while running is exactly what you need.
VMware backup type: hot vs cold
The ‘hot’ for hot backup refers to the active data state, and the main difference between hot and cold backups is whether they are performed when the VM is shut down or not.
To be more specific, let’s see their definitions.
Hot backup is performed while the system is running or powered on, and users have access to the virtual machines. During the hot backup process, the changed data has been generated continuously.
Cold backup occurs in a shutdown or offline state, where virtual machine database is not available. During cold backup, there is no new data is produced, which ensures data consistency and security for recovery.
Although less stable than cold backup, hot backup does reduce the shutdown time and ensure business continuity. And sometimes it is common to require VMs to run 24/7 without downtime, especially for enterprises.
If you are in this situation, then an enterprise backup software that supports VMware hot backup can be very helpful.
VMware backup solutions to protect VMs While Running
In fact, since VMware Data Protection (VDP) was deprecated, VMware has focused its investments on the development of vStorage APIs, which means that the task of VM data protection has shifted to specialized third-party software.
Of the available built-in VM data protection measures, only snapshots and hot clones can be performed when the virtual machine is powered on. However, neither of them is the best choice for VMware hot backup.
Snapshots are more often used to quickly roll back a VM as failsafe rather than backup. This is because snapshots are not independent and can compromise VM performance. As for the other way, hot clone an identical VM is an unnecessary waste of resources, and the free tool vCenter Converter Standalone has also been removed from VMware’s product list.
Fortunately, most of the specialized VM backup software available today supports VMware hot backup. For example, a free VMware backup solution — AOMEI Cyber Backup. It is an agentless backup solution that allows you to create independent and stable VM backups, whether it is running or not.
How to hot backup VMware ESXi VMs while running
AOMEI Cyber Backup simplifies the process of VM backup and provide an intuitive GUI interface for operation. It is also an efficient tool that support centrally manage protection of multiple VMs, supports VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions. Bind your VMware ESXi host and authorize it, then you are free to create automatic backup tasks and hot backup running VMs.
- Create backup task
Navigate to Backup Task and click + Create New Task, it will pop up an intuitive wizard for you to set up.
- Set task name and type
You can provide a unique name for this backup task, or just use the default numbered name. And then confirm the VMware ESXi Backup option is selected.
- Select VMs to backup
Select your VMware ESXi host and VMs to backup, you can cover running VMs in tasks to perform hot backup.
- Specify storage path
Select a local folder or a network path to store the VMware ESXi VM backups.
- Set up backup schedule (Optional)
Click Schedule and specify to perform full/differential/incremental backup on a daily/weekly/monthly basis for automatic execution. Then you can click Start Backup.
Created backup tasks will be listed and monitored separately, for later restoring, progress checking, or schedule changing. You can restore from any restore points listed clearly in History Versions.
For enterprises, business continuity is of great importance, so it is common that the VMs are required to run all day long without downtime.
If you are looking for an effective backup solution for VMware hot backup, you can try AOMEI Cyber Backup. It provides you with free VMware backup, and capable of maintaining the data consistency without powering off the VM.