How to Backup VMware Workstation, VMs, VMDK Files


There are two ways to back up VMs, one is manual and the other is automatic and targets professional users.

The simplest way to create a backup for VMware Workstation virtual machines is to shut them down and then take a manual copy of the entire folder containing the VMware VM and its files, such as VMDK and VMX files.

The above may be fine for beginners or for users who want copies of their VMs every now and then and don’t need much beyond that. Apart from having to do this by hand, it also requires downtime.

A more professional method is to backup VMware Workstation using BackupChain.


Automated Live Backups of VMware Workstation

Using BackupChain you can schedule live backups of VMware virtual machines to run at any thinkable schedule you want. It uses deduplication and compression to create small and incremental backups of even very large VMDK files.

For example, if you have a 1 TB VMware VM stored as a single VMDK file, BackupChain will likely bring it down to about 300-400GB at the first backup, then about 5 to 10% of that (say 20-40 GB) for each cycle thereafter. These increments are also moved faster over the wire if you are backing up to a NAS box, network server, or an FTP server far away.


Granular Backup of Files Inside Virtual Machines


Granular backup is an innovative method BackupChain uses to get access to files inside a VM but accessed from the host. Instead of backing up your entire VM every hour, you could schedule a second backup task to just back up a folder inside the VM every hour. For example, a SQL database or an Exchange database running inside VMware. Most of the time it’s fine to have a daily or just weekly full backup of your VM and have critical folders backed up more often. This hybrid backup method is unique to BackupChain and doesn’t require specialized skills to setup. No backup scripts, just a couple of clicks.


Full and Granular Recovery

Restoring and backing up virtual machines isn’t all you can do with BackupChain. Imagine your VM was lost and now you need a file that was changed inside your VM within minutes. If your virtual machine was 1 TB large, a full restore will take some time, depending on the hard drive you are using and its average speed.

Instead of waiting, you can open the Granular Restore screen, navigate to the file, click ‘open’ or ‘save’ and your file will open within seconds. This works on deduplicated and compressed backup chains, so you don’t need to keep uncompressed, full originals which may be wasting space on your hard drives.


Download BackupChain now; a fully functional 20 day trial is available at no cost. Back up your VMware Workstation VMs automatically and efficiently.