If you are using a free VMware hypervisor, you should know that it comes with backup API disabled, meaning that backup will have to use older agent based backup. Is there a free backup for VMware? Is there a free backup for hyper-v? What is the best free backup for Hyper-v and VMware?

Below you can find 10 free Virtual Machine backup tools…

Nakivo Backup & Replication

Nakivo Backup & Replication Free edition has the following features:

  • Backup to remote or local destination
  • Instant file restore
  • Instant VM recovery from Backup repository
  • backup copy, including backup copy to Amazon cloud!
  • Network acceleration
  • Deduplication & Compression, both features are part of free edition
  • Amazon cloud support for archiving
  • Instant AD and Exchange object recovery
  • Full VM restore in case you have to restore a complete VM.
  • Encryption
  • You can use multiple backup repositories and transporters

One limitation that comes with free edition is incremental backup only. Once you set up the schedule and first full backup is run, remaining backups are forever incremental. Forever incremental backup is actually an advantage since you don’t need to periodically run full backups (which is long and puts an extra load on your network/storage). And in the Free edition, you can now save and recover from 1,000 recovery points per VM backup.

All in all, Nakivo Free backup looks like a great solution for backing up ESXi.

Altaro VM backup free

Altaro has a great backup product for VMware and Hyper-V. Main product is called Altaro VM backup and comes in two commercial editions. In order to give back to community they decided to offer a free product.

Free version is limited to two virtual machines. Backup features you will love are support for Hot and Live backups.

The Full version is one of the least expensive backup solutions and you can read Altaro Hyper-V backup review before installing it.

Even though Altaro VM Backup is a free version it uses compression and reverse delta for backup. Altaro free backup is quite capable if you use only 2 VMs. It’s one of the best free VMware and hyper-v backup solutions making it great for small servers and branch offices.

Veeam Backup Free Edition

Some of the features that makes it so special are:

  • Create a full backup of VMs
  • Recovery from backup, full backup restore, objects and files recovery
  • Migration for vmWare, you can migrate VMs between the hosts even if you are not licensed to use vMotion or vStorage vMotion
  • Tape support – you can use tape library or tape device to backup to tape, feature that is not usually present on free products
  • vCloud director – even though it’s it’s a free backup from Veeam it has support for vCloud director
  • SharePoint, Exchange explorers, it has standard Veeam explorers built in, meaning you can restore the individual objects from the backup

More information

Unitrends Backup Free edition

There is still a way to get Unitrends backup free edition. There are two versions.

  • Unitrends Free version (wmworld edition) is limited to a VMware – free edition.
  • Unitrends Free version (this is the one you’ll want) has been discontinued for public. It’s still available to members of Spiceworks community.

If you are not yet a member of Spiceworks, hurry and register before Unitrends changes their mind. Once a great company with visionary people, great leaders, voice that trumbled and was heard across the community is turning in to something. What, we will see.

 Trilead explorer

Trilead explorer version 5 was one of the biggest surprises of the last year. I love how they transformed classic, windows based GUI to a modern web based interface.

Trilead is one of the cheapest Backup solutions for both, Hyper-V and VMware. One installation which can backup unlimited number of virtual machines and can backup unlimited number of hosts can be bought for $760. Regardless of affordable pricing, Trilead also provides a free version of Trilead explorer.

Some of the features of Free version are:

  • Backup and restore
  • Compressed backups
  • Limited to 2 host servers

Scheduler is not is not included in the free version however.

Arkeia free vmware backup

Arkeia software was a company which had some amazing products. in 2009 they acquired IP from Kadena systems where they received deduplication technology which later evolved in products that were pitched against EMC Avamar. Company has a history of free editions of commercial backup software. Arkeia was acquired by hard drive manufacturer giant Western Digital in order to expend it’s portfolio to software and services.

Arkeia Virtual Appliance is also available as a free commercial edition. Once you register for a free account you will receive a key which will enable you to use Arkeia vmOne Step Virtual Appliance on a VMware ESX or ESXi. Some of the features:

  • Commercial VMware version is supported including vStorage
  • You can backup unlimited number of virtual machines
  • You can backup to storage or tape
  • You are limited to 250GB disk storage

Once you register, you will receive a perpetual license for virtual appliance free edition.


Thinware backup started off as a beta product available for public. First they released a basic product and slowly added features. Thinware backup is the cheapest backup available for VMware. Starting at $149 per host for Advanced version, Price for Professional version which includes all the functionality is $249 per host. They also offer a standard version which is free.

Thinware backup standard features:

  • Support for both, commercial and free ESXi
  • Instant restore
  • File based restore
  • Scheduled backup jobs
  • Backup Unlimited number of virtual machines

While you can schedule backup jobs with Thinware standard, you are limited by unavailable basic compression. You can backup thin provision disks but you can’t backup thick provisioned disks.

In the end, you can use it as a backup if your virtual machines meet disk provisioned feature and you should dedicate a bit more space for your backups. If you need a professional version, you can upgrade fairly cheaply.

More Information

XSI Backup

XSI Backup is an Opensource project created by the company called 33HOPS. That means that it’s completely free to use.  If you want, you can even join development. XSI backup runs directly in hypervisor host. You don’t need any installed in virtual machines. XSI backup supports ESXi 5.1 and ESXi 5.5. It works also with the free ESXi version.

Some of the features:

  • Command line tool with realtime output
  • hot backups, while VM is running
  • Automatic provisioning for space consideration
  • Detailed reporting (speed, shutdown, boot, space provisioning)
  • You can program it via Cron.

More information


Gheto.sh is a set of powerful scripts which can backup ESX/i servers for free. The solution is difficult to implement and requires good knowledge of VMware internals as well as Linux command line. Script takes snapshott of running virtual machines and backs the master VMDKs. When completed snaphost is deleted until the next backup takes place. Scripts are compatible with ESX 3.5-5.x.

Because it’s not utilizing VCB Proxy service, host server resources are utilized. There is also a front end called MKSBackup which can be used for schedling backup via Gheto.sh scripts.

More information

5 Nine Cloud backup for Hyper-V Free edition

5 Nine cloud backup is a fast, easy to use backup solution for Hyper-V. It was designed specially for Hyper-V private clouds. It does replication as well as backup. It also runs on free versions and it includes Centralized backup console, even on free edition. It supports up to 16 node Hyper-V clusters with the free license.

The free edition is  limited to  sequential backup and restore of virtual machines and it also doesn’t offer access to an API.

Free edition will be available for a limited time. More information