If you have the need to backup VMs in ESX free edition, you’ll need to use a script of some sort on the server.
Fortunately (and no surprise) someone has already gone through the pain of implementing a fantastic and extremely thorough implementation which can be found here:
Once downloaded, you’ll need to copy/edit the conf file to configure (in particular the backup location!) then run as follows
ghettoVCB.sh -m <VMNAME> -g <PATH TO CONFIG>
This will then run an individual VM backup. A list of VMs to backup is also an option.
Once you’ve got this running, you’ll want to schedule this in. CRON runs on ESX free, but there’s no crontab command so you simply have to edit the cron file once you locate it – which is here:
After that, you’re all backed up 🙂