I am aware that the higher end products of vmware like vsphere etc have backup features or even there seems to be 3rd party products for such functions. I am however just a vmware workstation pro user user, only familiar with workstation & player, but I had been using these wonderful products for more than a decade since version 4 days.
My suggestion arose from my own needs, I run NAS & email servers in VMs, in a small business office, very reliable for many years.
My host machine is Linux, and I have crontab jobs, running every night to backup my servers. My scripts put each VM 1 by 1 to suspend mode, copy the whole folder to a backup volume and then restore it, before proceeding to the next VM. It is working fine for me especially the NAS has no user at the night time.
There is however a slight problem for the email server, obviously, during my backup period (few minutes), the server is down, and incoming emails are receiving no respond error from my server which got put in suspend mode for backup.
Hence, I am suggesting, a new feature for backup purpose, to allow VM to be continuously running non-stop, no disruption to their functions during their backup. In concept, alike a temporary snapshot being taken, and wholly duplicated to another folder location, just only without the new delta vmdk files containing changes after the snapshot point, and after duplication, this temporary snapshot is deleted, and the VM continues to function undisrupted.
In the duplicated folder, there should be a content of a full VM, in a snapshot state, still snapshot in power ON state. Freezing the state exactly at the moment of the backup time.
My suggestion is to have this feature added into the snapshot manager area, as a new option, call it SNAPSHOT-BACKUP or any more appropriate name anyone else better than me can think of. The UI need to prompt for user to specify a destination folder which backup will duplicate VM into.
At the same time, append a new command into the VMRUN command line utility, calling it by this same new name, so that e.g. we issue command to “vmrun snapshot-backup /home/vm/email/email.vmx /mnt/backup_vm/email” the last part specifies the destination folder for this backup VM to be copied into.
With this feature, I hope VMware Workstation Pro users can easily carryout UNDISRUPTED BACKUP of running VMs.
If this feature could be provided in new version Workstation Pro, it will be beneficial and meaningful, and what the users will get is very similar to what I am doing for the time being – got a duplicated VM in suspended power state, but during the time of backing up my VMs are temporary off-line, disrupting their users.
Thanks & regards.