I searched and compared the offerings to backup VMs on the Internet so you don't have to.
As they say, you don't need a backup until you need a backup. For me, I have to backup two VMs (Domain Controller & pfSense) that are not stored on my ZFS pools in case of a drive failure. They are currently running off 120GB Intel 520 SSDs that are local datastores in ESXi. The reason for this is that napp-it (my ZFS software) has trouble when it cannot connect to its domain controller or establish a proper network connection. Therefore both of these need to power on before napp-it and thus why they cannot be stored on a ZFS pool (as I am running an All-In-One configuration).
From my search I found 7 reputable free products that can be used to backup VMs in ESXi. They are:
- Veeam Backup Free Edition v9
- Nakivo Backup & Replication v5.8
- UniTrends Free v1.05
- VSquare v1.4.6
- ThinWare vBackup Standard v4.0.1
|PRODUCT||OS||RAM||VMs||INCREMENTAL BACKUP||REMOTE STORAGE||NOTIFICATIONS||SCHEDULING||OTHER|
|Veeam||Windows||4GB||Unlimited||No||Windows File Explorer to choose||No||No|
|Nakivo||Windows, Linux, OVA||4GB||2||Yes||CIFS||Email with PDF reports||Yes||NFR License is unlimited VMs|
|VSquare||Windows||Not stated. My tests show 2GB is enough||Unlimited||Yes||Windows Drive Mapping||Email with PDF reports||Yes||Gmail TLS is not working at the moment.|
|ThinWare||Windows||Not stated.||Unlimited||No||Windows File Explorer to choose||With Windows Task Scheduler||Free license requires a request to be made|
|ghettoVCB||ESXi||N/A||Unlimited||No||Depends on what you can mount into ESXi||With Crontab||Simple solution that can be built into ESXi|
|XSIBackup||Linux||N/A||Unlimited||Yes (rsync)||Depends on what you can mount||With Cron||Script with no GUI|
- From my tests I can chose VSquare over the other products as it had ticked almost all my boxes. The Administration Console did crash on me a few times I would admit. I would have preferred if it ran on Linux as well.
- If not the limit of 2 VMs on Nakivo I would have gone with instead but I'm trying to look to the future where this could hold me back.
- I don't understand why some programs did not have the ability to manually schedule backup tasks, to me that would be the most important feature to have.
- ghettoVCB and XSIBackup are just scripts which perform copy pasta. They do work though so don't doubt them if you are in need of some RAM or something smaller