Recovery to VMWare ESXi

Hi everyone,

 We are planning to setup an offsite replication system where our ShadowProtect image files are copied across to a server in a data centre.

We plan to have the server running VMWare ESXi, initially with one VM to simply receive and store the image files.

In the event of a disaster, we would then create additional VM's on this remote server, and load recover the images onto these new VM's.

My problem is how would the new VM's access the image files?  There wouldn't be any network in place as such, just the other VM that is storing the images, but I'm not sure how the new VM's would be able to get to these.  Even if we were able to copy them to a USB hard drive, we wouldn't be able to recover from them because ESXi doesn't support USB.

Anyone done this before or have any ideas how we could achieve this?

 Cheers,
Michael

 

Comments

STC-JWT

Re: Recovery to VMWare ESXi

In order to restore directly from a ShadowProtect Backup Image to an ESXi virtual machine, you will have to have a network connection existing between the location of the backup images and the machine hosting the Virtual Machines. It is my understanding that you cannot even manage an ESXi Server without having a network connection to the machine as the management console for an ESXi machine can only be accessed by logging into the ESXi server from another machine on the network.

The first thing that you would do is push the ISO over to the ESXi server (or insert the CD), then mount it to the Virtual Machine, boot the virtual machine and choose to boot from the Recovery CD. You then have to load networking and mount the network share that contains the Backup Images. You can then restore the image to the virtual machine.

This is according to my knowledge of ESXi Server and ShadowProtect. I was not able to find another way to do this.

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mboucher

Re: Recovery to VMWare ESXi

Thanks for your reply.

The backup images would be stored on one of the virtual machines.  Is there no way to access the drives of one virtual machine from another on the same host without a network?

Could this be achieved by simply connecting the host to a switch?  As it would effectively be talking to itself... VM --> VM.

Normally there would be a network in place to manage the ESX VM's, but this situation would arise in the event of a disaster with out primary site and network destroyed, leaving the VM host server by itself.

I guess the alternative would be to run MS Hyper-V Server?  As I believe it supports USB.

STC-JWT

Re: Recovery to VMWare ESXi

 You can set up a virtual network in that case. Were the network exists between the two virtual machines, but there has to be some sort of network connection between where the images are and the virtual machine, otherwise there is no way to restore the images.

 Hyper-V also does not have support for USB. At this time the only Virtual Environment that does support USB is VMWare Workstation. Possibly one or two other VMWare products.

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mboucher

Re: Recovery to VMWare ESXi

How would we set up a virtual network?

The FAQ on the Hyper-V Server site suggests it does support USB....

Q.  What types of physical storage does Microsoft Hyper-V Server support?

A.  

Hyper-V offers flexible storage support such as:

  • Direct Attach Storage (DAS): SATA, eSATA, PATA, SAS, SCSI, USB, FIrewire

  • Storage Area Networks (SANs): iSCSI, Fiber Channel, SAS

fguk

Re: Recovery to VMWare ESXi

Hyper V server can read USB drives, the server side of it, but it will not allow the USB drive to be visible inside the VM it creates. This is apparently because Microsoft think we do not need that functionality.....doh! It didnt appear in R2 of Hyper V or Windows 2008 Server, so I wont hold my breath. Having said that, it isnt in ESXi either, so there is obviously some architectural issue.

Regarding Esxi I have done something similar to you, albeit without the data centre aspect.

So I have an ESXi server, and I backup incrementals from a Physical server to a NAS drive (on the same network as the ESXi server), I then use the VMware Vsphere client to manage the esxi server over the network, pop the SP CD in, boot a new VM from it, connect the shadowprotect PE networking side of things to a shared drive on the NAS, select my image and its a normal restore process from there.

A virtual network can easily be setup using the vsphere client (i think by default new VM`s will get created on the same virtual switch), and all you have to worry about is the IP addresses and normal networking stuff like mapped drives etc.

HTH

STC-JWT

Re: Recovery to VMWare ESXi

 That would be correct. Hyper-V does not allow any access of any USB devices from within the Virtual Machine. On that same note ESXi also claims to have some USB support, atleast the virtual machines I created when testing ESXi showed a USB device, but none of us were ever able to get it to connect.

As far as the network from V-V is concerned, if you have multiple machines on the same host and networking is enabled on those machines, then they should be able to already talk to each other over the virtual network.

There is the question of how are you going to access any of these machines if the physical network goes down?

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