VMware ESX: CUCM, Unity, IPCC, Virtual Machine Backup

Posted: December 21, 2008 in LINUX *NIX

How to transfer files (GIGS in size) between  ESX 3.0.1 or 3.0  server as an FTP client

A friend of mine asked me if I can sell my CCIE server to him for $1500. Normally I won’t sell it, rather keep it as a monument, after I passed all my lab using this server.
But after several requests, to keep friendship I finally agreed to sell my server. After that the challenge was that I had to take all virtual machine backup.

On last Friday I bought a 1 terabyte (TB) hard disk (for AUD $200) and tried transferring files using winscp. I couldn’t transfer those files because those were big.

So finally I had to install vsftp in the ESX server and make a softlink of my /vmfs to a ftp users home directory then download using “File zilla ftp client”

Hardware details: HP ML-580, Dual Xeon 3.0 processor, 4 gig RAM. Loaded with CCM pub/sub, unity and IPCC.

Here is the procedure:

  1. SSH to ESX server – issue ‘chkconfig iptables off’ , service iptables stop (its culprit)
  2. Download vsftpd-1.2.0-4.i386.rpm
  3. Copy vsftpd-1.2.0-4.i386.rpm to your ESX server
  4. SSH to your ESX server console using a root account (make sure in /etc/sshd/sshd_config has root account enabled else use below method)
  5. After logging in using a normal user, become the root user (su -)
  6. Install the FTP server rpm -ivh vsftpd-1.2.0-4.i386.rpm –nodeps
  7. vi /etc/vsftpd/vsftpd.conf
    • Change anonymous_enable=NO (for security)
    • You need to add the following lines to force passive mode to only use ports 2050-5000.
  8. Start the FTP server with a service vsftpd start
  9. Create a user. Do not use ‘anonymous’ or ‘ftp‘.
    User and Pass cannot contain symbols like @ (single quote)

    • adduser mybackups.
    • passwd mybackups.
  10. To have the ftp server automatically start on boot, type:
    chkconfig –level 3 vsftpd on
  11. Remember you will probably have to change the permissions on the /vmfs/volume you are using as a FTP destination.
    chmod 1777 /vmfs/volumes/(UUID of Folder)
    You can also link the path to a simpler name, such as:
    ln -s /vmfs/volumes/UUID-NAME/backups /backups
    Then use just ‘/backups’ in the express configuration.
  12. Use filezillaftp  client to download the files from ESX server


Make sure that you have NTFS or Ext2/3 file system where you are going to store the files.
I had FAT32 and it won’t copy more than 4 gig file size. It will come up with an error saying that no desk space. How stupid is this error message, after all I had 1TB of HDD and still got that message that can’t, copy the file, disk running out of space.

Here are the limitations:

fat16 – 2 gig max
fat32 – 4 gig max
NTFS – Above 2TB
EXT2/3 – 2 TB

That’s all.

Cheers, Push

  1. Kamal says:

    Hi Push,

    I don’t understand why would you use FTP when you have a built-in mechanism in VMware ESXi to backup all your files using datastore . I backed up around 30Gigs of data in less than an hour.I don’t think using ftp will make much of a difference to decrease that backup time.

  2. pushkarbhatkoti says:

    I had ESX and not ESXi. both are different cattle of fish. ESXi runs hypervisor only.


  3. Hi Push says:

    Hi push,

    I use esxi and I use datastore as well to download the vmware files.

  4. Endy says:

    Great post.. thanks for sharing 😀

  5. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that Ihave really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

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