• Paul Kennard

Part 1: vCenter Backup & Recovery - Essentials

This is the first post in the essentials series and also the first part towards VMware backup and recovery series.

Each post in backup and recovery will be a quick pickup and go post outlining key areas to back up within your VMware environment and should the worse case scenario happen help you towards a swift and painless recovery.

The areas outlined in the backup and recovery series are around my own experiences and the frequent occurrence where a major incident to where systems are unrecoverable, which should typically be a rapid and smooth recovery process turns into something much longer because of zero backups of core components or configurations available.

If you would like to jump to the other parts you can use the links below:

Part 1: vCenter Backup & Recovery

Part 2: Distributed Switch Backup & Recovery

Part 3: ESXi Host Backup & Recovery

Grown Ups Whaaaat

vCenter Server Appliance Backup/Recovery

VCSA Configure/Backup

Connect & logon to the vCenter Appliance Management Interface, where you can both configure and backup the vCenter configuration.

1. Open web browser to https://vCenter-FQDN:5480

2. Login as root

VMware Webclient admin login

3. Click  Backup

4. Click Configure

vCenter backup

5. Configure Backup location in following format protocol://serveraddress/folder/subfolder. The supported protocols are FTPS, HTTPS, SFTP, FTP, NFS, SMB and HTTP

6. Add Backup server credentials enter UN/PW

7. Set the backup Schedule

8. OptionalEncrypt backup enter encryption password

9. Enable/Disable DB Health Check which will check DB status before backup

10. Set the Number of backups to retain as part of the schedule

11. Optional – Select if Stats, Event and Tasks are need to be in backup

12. Click Create to set the schedule specified

13. Test by clicking Backup Now to check all is working and to get first backup

14. Tick box to Use backup location and user name from backup schedule

15. Enter backup credentials Password

16. Click Start

vCenter Backup Now
vCenter Backup Completed

VCSA Recovery

To restore your vCenter you will need your vCenter media/iso available to get started, this covers just configuration recovery not full VC install.

1. Mount iso and run installer.exe

vCenter Installer

2. Click Restore from previous vCenter Server Backup option

vCenter Restore

3. After accepting the EULA, enter backup details, you will need backup location & username and password then click Next to proceed.


4. Review backup information & click Next to proceed with the restore

vCenter Recovery Review

5. Enter deployment target details of what host the restored vCenter will provisioned to and click Next

vCenter Deployment target

6. Assign the newly deployed vCenter an inventory name, the same name can be used (1) was appended to mine automatically. Or you can just make (-new) and rename at the end after recovery. Set the new VC root password and click Next to move on.

vCenter setup target VM

7. Select the deployment size, ensuring the size suffices to accommodate the environment and click Next

vCenter Deployment Size

8. Select the datastore for deployment of vCenter and select option “enable Thin Disk Mode” if required, then continue by clicking Next.

vCenter deployment datastore

9. Enter the vCenter network settings, if the old vCenter is down and powered off already or unusable just disconnect vNIC or shutdown to avoid any IP conflicts etc.. and you can then reuse the same details.

Even if you configure IP details at deployment stage one the above still applies on stage two when the old VC configuration is restored back. Click Next to continue.

vCenter network settings

10. Click Finnish grab caffeine fuelled beverage and let stage 1 deployment and restore complete.

vCenter ready to complete stage 1

11. When stage one restore and deployment has completed, click Continue and it will progress straight onto stage two.

12. Click Next at introduction to move onto stage 2 and restore. Here you will see the backup details already entered from stage 1, so it's another Next.

vCenter stage 2 restore

13. Validate the backup and restore details, noting the warning regarding the old VC if still in the environment, hit Finnish

vCenter stage 2 ready to complete

14. Finally click OK, now the stage two restore will grab your vCenter backup from the location specified and recover both the vCenter and your sanity.

vCenter finalizing stage 2 restore
vCenter stage 2 restore in progress
vCenter stage 2 restore completed sucessfully

So as you can see, the process to both backup and recover your vCenter is a fairly painless process.

Personally even if you have, or believe to have a solid backup solution in place within your environment, for the small amount of effort and space required for the VC config I would always still strongly suggest these backups implemented as can tell you first hand it’s no fun when something like ransomware or data corruption takes out large areas of an environment out including your backup server etc.. leaving you with a rebuild/recovery task much more complex than above.

This concludes the vCenter backup and restore post, in the next Part 2 in the series I plan to cover how to back up and restore your Distributed Switches so hope you return and wish you all the best.


Cloud & Virtualization Blog by ITBOD - paul kennard