You can use third-party backup solutions to protect system, application, and user data in your virtual machines.

VMware offers the Storage APIs - Data Protection to work in conjunction with third-party products. When using the APIs, third-party software can perform backups without loading ESXi hosts with the processing of backup tasks.

The third-party products using the Storage APIs - Data Protection can perform the following backup tasks:

Perform full, differential, and incremental image backup and restore of virtual machines.

Perform file-level backup of virtual machines that use supported Windows and Linux operating systems.

Ensure data consistency by using Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS) for virtual machines that run supported Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Because the Storage APIs - Data Protection leverage the snapshot capabilities of VMFS, backups that you can perform do not require downtime for virtual machines. These backups are nondisruptive, can be performed at any time, and do not need extended backup windows.

For information about the Storage APIs - Data Protection and integration with backup products, see the VMware Web site or contact you backup vendor.