Last updated on Thursday 14th of September 2023 10:28:47 AM

Installing ©XSIBackup-App, backup appliance for ©VMWare ©ESXi servers

Detailed instructions to install ©XSIBackup-App in any ©vSPhere hypervisor (AKA ©ESXi) 5.5 or above

What is ©XSIBackup-App It is an appliance based in Linux CentOS 7 Operating System including ©XSIBackup 2.0 and an nCurses GUI. It is able to backup VMs stored in any ©VMWare ©ESXi host 5.5 or above reachable over SSH protocol. You can download it from Sourceforge.

©XSIBackup-App includes VMXNET3 support for 10GB virtual NIC and LSI Logic SCSI. It is built on top of CentOS 7, it offers NFS, Samba, iSCSI compatibility and it allows you to install software to mount most used cloud services such as Amazon S3, Google Cloud, Azure, etc...

Why isn't there an .OVA file to install?

Although ©VMWare claims vSphere suite to be compatible with .OVA format, the crude reality is that an OVA package is not very portable, especially across different versions of ©ESXi. It's easy to install only if you are lucky enough to meet the .ova package requirements.

We distribute the appliance as a Virtual Machine package containing a .vmdk file descriptor, a -flat.vmdk disk file and a .vmx file. It is HW version 9, thus it will work in any ©ESXi host 5.5 or above. It may be able to work in 5.1 too, it was created using 5.5 though.

How do I install it?

Installing the appliance is very simple, you just have to upload the .tar.gz package to the root of some datastore in some ©ESXi server 5.5 or above, uncompress and register it.

How do I upload it to the ©ESXi host?

You first have to enable the SSH protocol in the ©ESXi box previous to uploading the .tar.gz file containing the appliance.

You have different ways to upload the appliance to the host, but given the fact that you will have to untar the .tar.gz package in the command line, we will cover uploading it through SSH, as you will have to use it anyway.

WinSCP profile creation Create profile in WinSCP

There are different programs able to connect to an SSH host. For Windows OSs: WinSCP, FileZilla, Plink (Putty companion binary). In Linux OSs you have a built in SCP client installed by default in almost every distro, even in the minimal installs, same for Mac OS.

XSIBackup-app appliance .tar.gz package in the root of datastore1 ©XSIBackup-app appliance in the root of datastore1

I uploaded the appliance, now what

Now you will need to connect to the ©ESXi shell command line using an SSH client. This is like an old telnet or VT-100 client that allows you to enter the remote host's command line.

The best SSH client for Windows is Putty. I believe almost everybody will agree on that. In any case, we don't need it to be the best, but just to work.

Putty main window Putty main window

Once you connect to the server, cd to the datastore root, extract the package contents and register the appliance. We have prepared the package so that it creates the VM folder when extracted, thus cd to the VM folder and register the VM from the .vmx file. Remember to provide the full absolute path to the .vmx file. The vim-cmd solo/registervm command will return the newly created virtual machine Id.

/vmfs/volumes/6467b717-01af5155-9c9f-480fcf3cd704 # cd /vmfs/volumes/datastore1
/vmfs/volumes/6467b717-01af5155-9c9f-480fcf3cd704 # ls -la
total 1969160
drwxr-xr-t 1 root root 1540 May 31 21:10 .
drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 512 May 31 21:12 ..
-r-------- 1 root root 1310720 May 19 17:51 .fbb.sf
-r-------- 1 root root 267026432 May 19 17:51 .fdc.sf
-r-------- 1 root root 1179648 May 19 17:51 .pb2.sf
-r-------- 1 root root 268435456 May 19 17:51 .pbc.sf
-r-------- 1 root root 262733824 May 19 17:51 .sbc.sf
drwx------ 1 root root 280 May 19 17:51 .sdd.sf
-r-------- 1 root root 4194304 May 19 17:51 .vh.sf
drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 560 May 30 20:16 ISOs
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1206060461 May 30 16:44 XSIBackup-App_1.0.0.0.tar.gz
/vmfs/volumes/6467b717-01af5155-9c9f-480fcf3cd704 # tar -xvf XSIBackup-App_1.0.0.0.tar.gz
/vmfs/volumes/6467b717-01af5155-9c9f-480fcf3cd704 # cd XSIBackup-App/
/vmfs/volumes/6467b717-01af5155-9c9f-480fcf3cd704/XSIBackup-App # ls -la
total 8389648
drwxr-xr-x 1 root root 700 May 31 21:12 .
drwxr-xr-t 1 root root 1680 May 31 21:12 ..
-rw------- 1 root root 8589934592 May 30 16:31 XSIBackup-App-flat.vmdk
-rw------- 1 root root 555 May 29 22:00 XSIBackup-App.vmdk
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 2148 May 30 16:31 XSIBackup-App.vmx
/vmfs/volumes/6467b717-01af5155-9c9f-480fcf3cd704/XSIBackup-App # vim-cmd solo/registervm /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/XSIBackup-App/XSIBackup-App.vmx
/vmfs/volumes/6467b717-01af5155-9c9f-480fcf3cd704/XSIBackup-App #

If you prefer to use the GUI, navigate to the VM folder through the storage node. Right click the .vmx file and register.

Register VM through the ESXi web GUI Register VM through the ESXi web GUI

Post installation config: keyboard, NICs, etc...

When you finish to install the package add a VMX3 NIC, switch the appliance on and connect via SSH protocol. The appliance is configured to get an IP via DHCP and to use en-us keyboard. You will be able to change the KB layout and the IP through the gui.

You can invoke the GUI by typing "gui" or "xsibackup-gui" in the command line. You can easily change your IP to a fixed one, add remote NFS or SMB mounts, etc...

Many sys admins like to take control of their IP space through a DHCP server, binding MAC addresses to fixed IPs from a centralized point of management though. We recommend that you leave the DHCP assigned IP and use DHCP to set it, if possible.