In most cases, backups are the simplest and most reliable data protection measure. For ordinary files, disks, databases and other types of data, a simple copy and paste can be considered as a backup operation. However, the same is not true for virtual machines.
Currently, virtual machine backup mainly adopts an image-level backup approach to ensure the integrity of VM data to the maximum extent, especially for VMs on type-1 hypervisors like VMware ESXi. In addition to this, there is also a file-level backup approach that allows for granular backup and restore. The key to distinguish between these 2 backup approaches is whether an agent is installed on the virtual machine.
2 main classifications of VMware backup
From a methodological point of view, there are 2 types of VMware ESXi backup:
VMware agent-based backup (file-level backup): By installing an agent on the guest operating system, you can back up the virtual machine as the physical machine. It allows granular backup and recovery, but when restoring you still need to create a new VM, then install an OS and the agent.
VMware agentless backup (image-level backup): back up the entire VM, including the operating system, configuration files, and all data on disk. It is the most convenient and reliable way for VM backup and disaster recovery. Restore from it you will gain an immediately usable VM.
A VMware agentless backup protects the entire VM, maximumly ensures the data integrity, and facilitates management of multiple VMs. Therefore, it is widely accepted as the most appropriate approach for VM data protection.
Free agentless VMware backup solution – AOMEI Cyber Backup
After deprecated VMware Data Protection (VDP), VMware no longer offers any official backup option, instead focusing its investments on the development of vStorage APIs. This means that the task of VM data protection has shifted to specialized third-party software.
If you are looking for an effective backup tool to protect your VMware ESXi VMs in an agentless way, you can try the free VMware backup solution — AOMEI Cyber Backup. It allows you to create complete and independent image-level backups of entire VMs on VMware ESXi or Hyper-V, without installing an agent on these VMs.
In addition, AOMEI Cyber Backup simplifies the process of VM backup and provide an intuitive GUI interface. With simple clicks you can easily create a complete and automatically executed VM backup task, freeing you from 24/7 virtual machine management tasks.
How to backup VMware ESXi in an agentless way
AOMEI Cyber Backup supports VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions. To get started, you will need to bind your VMware ESXi host for authorization. Once authorized you will not need to repeat this step anymore, and you are free to manage the data protection of all VMs on the host without installing an agent on each of them.
- 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.
Unlike ordinary file backups, virtual machine backup relies more on backup software. And compared to file-level backups via agents, agentless backups which maximumly ensure the integrity of VM data are more widely accepted.
If you are looking for an effective agentless backup solution for your VMware ESXi VMs, you can try AOMEI Cyber Backup for free. It is a dedicated enterprise backup solution that allows you to centrally manage and monitor backup schedule of multiple VMs, supporting not just VMware ESXi, but also Hyper-V.