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XSIBACKUP 5.0.0. What has changed?.

XSIBackup started as an inner project aimed at backing up our customers' VMs. In any case three years after having offered it for download it has become quite popular. We have taken some time to rethink some of the main code components of the application to improve it and to make it even more reliable.

Keep existing snapshots: before version 5.0.0 XSIBackup would delete all snapshots before backing up a VM, this allowed it to access the base disks to back them up. Since version 5.0.0 XSIBackup allows you to keep your existing snapshots. It will create a snapshot named "xsibackup" on top of all the preexisting ones and delete it when the backup process has finished.

This has some implications that you must fully understand to get the most out of this tool. When vmkfstools is used as the --backup-prog (default), XSIBackup will use the previous snapshot to access the data on disk. This will generate a single vmdk disk that contains all data up to the snapshot the VM was running on at the time of starting the backup. This applies to every disk with snapshots. This causes the resulting backed VM not to keep the snapshot layout as it was previous to the backup cycle. In other words: XSIBackup will preserve all snapshots at the VM being copied, but the resulting backup will be a consolidated VM with all snapshots deleted. On the other hand, if you wish to keep all snapshots -as they are- at the resulting backed up VM, so that you can revert your VM to a previous state once backed up, you may use rsync as the --backup-prog. When rsync is choosen as the backup program, XSIBackup will try to access every single file in the VM disk layout. If the file is locked XSIBackup will skip it, on the contrary the file will be copied over to the destination folder, thus keeping the exact same .vmdk disposition. Do not forget to consolidate your snapshots at the target to see the correct snapshot layout

Do not forget to consolidate snapshots

Remember that all files are copied to the same folder, so if you had your .vmdk files distributed across different datastores, you will have to redistribute them when restoring your backup, editing the .vmx file as needed. This is quite simple, you can find a brief explanation in this post: Restoring a VM. XSIBackup will rename disks in the backed VMX file to point to the base disks when using VMKFSTOOLS, only if there aren't any snapshots present at the time of making the backup, this is to ease starting the VM in its backup location, as the snapshot files will not be present any more. Nevertheless, if you run your VMs in a personally tweaked environment, you are responsible to put every piece back in its place at the time of restoring a VM. If you run a simple scenario with every disk in the same VM folder, then everything is straight: backups will run directly in their backup location and to restore the VM you will only need to copy its folder back to where it was at the time of making the back up. In case you backup VMs without any snapshot present, the behaviour of XSIBackup will be exactly the same as before.

GMail support: starting on version 5.0.0 XSIBackup will offer support for GMail's SMTP server You don't have to configure anything, the program will detect that you are using Gmail's server and change the protocol conversation accordingly.

Key changed to RSA: to keep compatibility with ESXi 6.0.0 update 2, that does not allow to use DSA keys, we have changed XSIBackup to use this type of key. If you have linked servers and use XSIBackup 5.0.0, you will need to relink to the servers you have linked to with any previous version.

Improved routines: we have strengthen the logic behind XSIBackup's core routines, so that it is able to handle almost any layout and argument string. As an example, you can now omit doublequotes in all arguments and XSIBackup will still read them, just as long as you respect expected syntax.

This is now a valid list of VMs argument:

--backup-vms=New Virtual Machine 2, Windows8

Before, you were obliged to set it this way (between double quotes):

--backup-vms="New Virtual Machine 2, Windows8"

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