VMcom brings a new solution, for free!
ESXi Free Hypervisor has been the go-to virtualization solution for small companies and home labs for a long time. It offers enterprise grade reliability, small footprint and great guest OS support at zero cost.
There are very few drawbacks to it. Apart from the obvious lack of support, it can be boiled down to these:
- No vCenter Server support which means no clustering and HA.
- A single virtual machine cannot have more than 8 virtual CPUs.
- Remote API features are limited to read-only access.
While the first two are rather easy to live with, especially if you only have a single server, the last one effectively prevents performing image level backups of your virtual machines. And that is a serious issue.
Typically you could install a backup agent inside every single virtual machine on the host server and utilize guest level backups. This approach is similar to backing up a bunch of physical servers.
The problem lies in restoring such environments. Once again, it’s very similar to restoring a bunch of physical servers which can be lengthy and tedious.
Apart from that, the administrator needs to install and configure a backup solution every time they create a new virtual machine.
Where VMcom steps in
Starting with VMcom version 6.7.16, backing up ESXi Free hypervisors is fully supported. It offers the same GUI and feature set as for the regular vSphere environments, including:
- image level full and incremental backups
- inline deduplication and compression
- guest file level restores
- image level restores to both ESXi Free and regular vSphere
It is perfectly possible to combine your vSphere environments and ESXi Free hosts within a single VMcom instance. This provides a single management console for all of your backups with the possibility to restore virtual machines from vSphere to an ESXi Free host and vice versa.
How it works
VMcom Backup Appliance works around ESXi Free API limitations by utilizing SSH access directly to the host. In order for this to work, SSH service must be started on the host.
See also our How to securely enable SSH on ESXi hosts article.
The ESXi API access is only used for read-only operations like obtaining a list of virtual machines from the inventory or fetching details about individual virtual disks.
In order to utilize the incremental backups feature, it is necessary to manually enable changed block tracking (CBT) for each virtual machine. The ESXi Free hypervisor currently provides no capability to enable CBT remotely. VMcom performs full image backups with the CBT disabled and notifies the user about this option automatically.
Please refer to VMware KB article 1031873 for details on how to enable CBT.
Backing up free hypervisors is free
VMcom requires no license code for ESXi Free hypervisor backups. We as IT geeks and administrators want to make the life of fellow IT administrators a little bit easier and therefore we offer backing up ESXi Free product for free as well. So feel free to use it!
Please note that for licensed ESXi hosts and vSphere environments you still need to purchase a VMcom license. When combining ESXi Free hosts with vSphere hosts within a single VMcom instance, you only need to buy a license for vSphere hosts.
How to backup your ESXi Free right now
Go to our download page and deploy the full trial version. The backup functionality for ESXi Free is not limited to 14 days and it will work for you for years for free.