Iperius is a backup software for VMware ESXi, vCenter and ESXi Free. It is powerful, complete, and extremely easy-to-use. It supports incremental and differential backup of ESXi (CBT/VDDK) virtual machines, including the free ESXi Free version.
Iperius also allows connections via vCenter and the automatic restoration of virtual machines, including on different hosts. These powerful features make up a complete framework for protecting any server infrastructure, with features such as Hyper-V backup/restore, SQL Server database backup/restore, and Exchange mail servers.
Finally, Iperius supports the replication of virtual machines from datastore to datastore and from host to host, to have an exact copy of virtual machines always ready to be started in case of malfunction or crash of the main machine. Replication can also be planned and performed on multiple destinations, thus enabling an optimal failover policy.
Following some of the most significant features of Iperius for this kind of backup:
- Incremental and differential backups of virtual machines (full support for Changed Block Tracking (CBT/VDDK));
- Backup of ESXi Free (the free vSphere Hypervisor version), including incremental and differential backups;
- Replication of virtual machines from host to host and from datastore to datastore (to have an immediately bootable copy in case of crash)
- Backups only of the disk space that is actually being used;
- Restore of individual files (file-level restore)
- Full support for connecting to VMware vCenter Server and ESXi Cluster;
- Auto-restore of virtual machines, including on different hosts (also useful for the replication/cloning of virtual machines);
- Extremely lightweight and stable software (Iperius is also portable and does not install anything that will affect the performance of the server);
- Compatible with all ESXi (4.x, 5.x, 6.x) versions;
- There is also the possibility to exclude specific virtual machine disks and manage independent disks;
- One of the lowest price on the market (€ 219), perpetual licence, both support and updates are for free;
- Agentless: with just one installation, you can back up any virtual machine on the network
- Only one license nedeed for unlimited host and virtual machines;
- Complete backup utility with many other features.
N.B.: For the incremental and differential backup of virtual machines (CBT), the operating system where Iperius is installed must be 64-bit.
Following, a short tutorial shows how to perform backup of ESXi virtual machines:
As soon as Iperius has been installed and launched, you can create new backup job:
Then add a special item, an ESXi backup, as the picture below shows:
First, you must create a connection account to the ESXi server (host) o vCenter. To do that, click on the dedicated button as shown in the picture below.
Creating an account is very easy: you simply have to specify the ESXi host IP address (or vCenter server), the username and the password.
Once the account has been created and saved, you can establish a connection in order to see and select the virtual machines:
Once you have selected one or more virtual machines, go ahead in the wizard and choose the Backup Mode among Standard, CBT or Replica:
- It’s possible to use the Changed Block Tracking mode (CBT) which allows for incremental or differential backups of virtual machines by using the VDDK VMware libraries, and only the disk space that is being used (for this mode we must remember that the virtual machine should not contain snapshots and must have the CBT option enabled). This kind of backup is very fast and powerful, and also allows you to have a larger number of complete backups. During the restore procedure you can choose which incremental, differential or total backup you would like to use to restore the machine.
For this backup type you can also choose the “Number of backup”, that is the number of copies to keep. For example, if you choose as Backup Type “One full backup + Incremental backups” and Number of backups equal to 3, it means that Iperius creates a full backup and two incremental copies where will be saved new and modified files. These copies will then be overwritten on each new backup cycle.
Next step in the configuration is to choose the destination path.
You can specify a backup destination, which can be either a local folder or network share (in this case it might be necessary to specify an account to authenticate in the shared folder).
- Standard backup mode, also available in versions of Iperius prior to version 5, allows you to create an exact copy of individual files from a virtual machine file, downloading them locally in their entirety. This is always a full backup, which produces a folder containing all virtual machine files (.vmdk, .vmx, etc …), in the same state as they appear in the datastore.
- The replication allows you to make an exact copy of the selected virtual machines on another ESXi host or another datastore. This feature, fully automated, is very useful for a failover policy, since it allows to immediately restart a virtual machine clone from its backup, in case the main machine should for some reason stop working. We see in the following image the great simplicity of configuration of the replica:
In the next step we have to choose the destination datastore and the folder where we save the VM.
Additional settings for VMs:
That said, in the advanced settings is possible, from Iperius version 6.3.3., individually configure the quiescing, the power off and the restart for each virtual machine.
Quiescing is recommended to have the certainty of a backup that is “application consistent” (the option is in fact enabled by default for all VMs). For virtual machines with Linux operating system, it is necessary in addition to run pre-freeze and post-thaw scripts. This operation is carried out automatically by Iperius at the time of the VM snapshot and, to allow this, you must specify the username and password of the guest machine (it is recommended to use the “root” account).
Iperius Backup will create the scripts directly inside the Linux machine, so that they are automatically executed before and after the VM snapshot. The backup thus configured will always be “application consistent”, and not just “crash consistent”. In order for this procedure to work properly, an essential requirement is for VMware Tools to be installed inside the Linux machine.
If an error occurs in the backup snapshot, it may be necessary to disable the syncDriver.
To do this, you have to create/modify the file “/etc/vmware-tools/tools.conf” adding the following section:
enableSyncDriver = false
The ESXI backup configuration is ready. So save the virtual machine backup item by clicking OK.
Specifying a destination is not mandatory (since the destination is already included in the item). Skip the panel Destinations, unless you want to copy the backup to further destinations (i.e. Tape/Cloud/FTP).
In the “Options” panel, leave all the options to their default values. To know more about automatic scheduling and email notifications, you can read the following tutorials:
Finally, choose a name for the backup job and save it clicking OK.
You can immediately launch the backup right clicking on it, as shown in the image below:
Considerations on backup speed:
With a standard configuration the backup is much faster when Iperius is installed on a physical machine (external) in the same network of the ESXi server, while it can be slower when Iperius is installed on a VM hosted in the ESXi server itself. Anyway, to improve network performances and to solve possible problems, it’s recommended to read the related VMware documentation: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1004087 .
Backups made using the CBT/VDDK mode will be much faster than standard backups. This is due to the fact that with a full backup, only disk space that is actually being used will be downloaded, as well as the fact that incremental and differential backups only download any detected differences and are therefore very fast.
Iperius also includes complete restore features, useful for restoring an entire virtual machine in just a few clicks, even on different hosts or datastores. The restore is completely automatic and can be done in a granular way, starting from specific incremental or differential backups. To see how easy it is to perform a complete restore of a virtual machine, consult the related tutorial: https://www.iperiusbackup.net/en/restore-of-vmware-esxi-virtual-machines-with-iperius/
Restore individual files (file-level restore)
In addition to the bare-metal restore of an entire VM, Iperius also allows you to restore individual files (also called file-level restore). You can explore incremental and differential backups, or any VMDK file, and easily extract any file or folder. To see how easy it is to open a VMDK file or a VM backup and extract individual files, consult the related tutorial: https://www.iperiusbackup.net/en/restore-individual-files-from-esxi-virtual-machine-backups-with-iperius/