FastSCP was Veeam’s first product, and to this day is a free product that can be used to move files to and from ESX(i) servers. Stepping back in time, configuring SSH on an ESX server to move files via SFTP was a little clumsy; but possible. FastSCP allows VMware administrators to perform file copy, move and delete actions to and from Windows to ESX(i). FastSCP also allowed these operations to go directly from one ESX(i) server to another.
Working with large files has never honestly been pleasant. VMware-based virtualization required that administrators work with large files such as CD-ROM .ISO files as well as the occasional virtual machine disk format (VMDK) file much more often than before. This is due to ESX(i) not natively supporting the Windows disk formats, including NTFS and FAT. Instead ESX(i)’s native file system, VMFS is used to hold all relevant data on an ESX(i) server. This includes local storage if it is available on the server.
All of that is old news, but here is a little trick where FastSCP may not always be thought of as the best tool: Moving large files on physical systems. There are plenty of situations where moving large files with Windows will fail every time. Even resorting to RoboCopy and RichCopy will still yield the same futile result. Don’t believe me? Create for yourself a single file of about 650 GB and try to copy it to another drive letter with Windows native browser or tools.
The use case for physical servers is to have FastSCP installed on a system that has mapped network drives to allow Windows to Windows copies of large, cumbersome files. The network drives are to other systems, where the large files will need to be copied or moved. For newer operating systems, a tweak to the User Access Control feature of Windows may be required to display the network drives within FastSCP (as well as Veeam Backup and Replication). Check out this Veeam Forum post for more information on that configuration. The figure below shows both products with the mapped network drive available to move large files:
FastSCP will move these large files where the native Windows mover won’t be able to do it. This is because FastSCP manages the file transfer in small increments, continuously. While it is not quite a block or API-based transfer that we are familiar with in vSphere; it will move the large file from one Windows System to another regardless of them being a physical or virtual system.
There are of course ways around this issue where Windows Explorer or RoboCopy won’t get the file copied. These can include running Windows Server Backup (we can still call it NTBackup) to encapsulate the file and another step to launch a restore operation at the destination, setting up an FTP service or starting a web service engine. I believe you’ll find that FastSCP can help out swimmingly in this regard outside of virtualization!
Coming after a great Best of VMworld award and other accolades for Veeam Backup & Replication v5, it’s good to see that our free products are getting some awards as well. David Davis from Train Signal along with Kendrick Coleman from Acadia did a popular session (MA8339 “10 Best Free Tools for vSphere Management”) at VMworld 2010 in both San Francisco and Copenhagen. To coincide with these sessions, David Davis setup a poll on his site VMwareVideos.com to ask the community what their favorite free vSphere tools were. The results of this poll were announced on November 16, 2010 during a vChat episode that I was asked to be part of.
Below I have posted the graph showing the top 10 but notice that Veeam took the top 3 spots. Also, Veeam was the only vendor to score over 8, pretty impressive! Veeam FastSCP continues to be the most popular free vSphere tool as chosen by the community. Of course Veeam Monitor Free Edition and Veeam Reporter Free Edition also did extremely well. Thanks to everyone who voted!