Can you Backup the Free Version of ESX 7?

KB ID 0001757


‘Backup the Free Version of ESX?’ This was asked on Experts Exchange this week, I responded with the usual answer of “No the VAPI is not exposed in the free version, so it cannot be backed up by a third party backup ¬†application.”

The poster responded with, “That’s what I thought, but I’ve got a Technical Consultant here who says it can be done with version 7

This should be easy to test, I simply need to spin up an ESX7 VM put a free licence on it and see if I can back it up right?

Backup the Free Version of ESX ?

Off on a Tangent: Things always go wrong the most when you are doing someone a favour! First my test machines (In a corporate data centre, didn’t have CPUs compatible with ESX7.¬† No problem I’ll spin one up on my macbook in VMWare Fusion, and attempt a backup from the DC (I have a site to site VPN to the DC). Then none of my fusion machines could get network access, then when I fixed that, the VPN was down and needed fixing. Then I was in the middle of a Veeam upgrade anyway, that took about 12 hours!

ESX 7 BackupBackup the Free Version of ESX

Back to the answer: Whoever started this rumour needs a percussive adjustment to the face, free ESX still cannot be backed up, here’s what happens when you try with Veeam for example;

Backup the Free Version of ESX

Veeam Error:

Error: Current vSphere license or ESXi version prohibits execution of the required operations

So I Can’t Backup the Free Version of ESX?

Well not using a VMWare aware backup solution, but theres nothing to stop you installing backup agents into your VMs, and backing them up that way, (treat them as if they are Physical machines.)

Alternative Backup Solution: I’ve seen people suggesting using GhettoVCB which might fit your requirements, but you need to install it into the ESX server as a VIB, then you can create a folder in your storage. Finally you can then script the VIB to take snapshots of your VMs, and then copy the backups into that folder, but it requires some CLI skills and it leaves your backups on the same box as you production VMs. It you’re an enthusiastic tech type (with no budget) you might want to take a look at it.

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Author: PeteLong

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  1. I used Nakivo to backup some Vm on a Esx 6.x server (it require only to enable ssh). I don’t try with esx7. Maybe…..

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  2. I used Thinware vBackup for scheduled backup tasks on ESX 6, but that was a few years ago.

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