How to Backup vCenter Server Appliance

KB ID: 2328
Product: Veeam Backup & Replication
Version: All
Published:
Last Modified: 2017-08-11

Challenge

There is a need to create a stable backup of your VCSA or restore it properly.

Solution

VCSA with Embedded Database:

BACKUP:

To backup the VCSA with Veeam, it's important to understand that Veeam does not directly support Postgres SQL (VMware's embedded DB). Instead, it's optimal to perform backup in 2 parts:

  1. Image Level Backup with Veeam
  2. Database backup via VMware Best Practice
Part 2 is not required, however, but please beware that restoring the image-level backup ensures the same state the Database was in at the point in time of the backup. VMware Best Practice shows to backup the database as regular maintenance. Then you would be able to restore the server from step 1, then restore the database to whichever point in time with the backup from step 2.

To backup the VCSA with Veeam (step 1):
  1. Create a typical backup job
  2. Enable VMware Tools Quiescence
  3. Ensure Application-Aware Image Processing (AAIP) is either disabled or excluded for the VCSA VM.
  4. Customize other settings to desired configuration.

To backup the VCSA Database (step 2):
  1. See this VMware KB on how to backup the database.

RESTORE:
When restoring the VCSA, there are some Considerations and Limitations from VMware. Once you understand the considerations and limitations, it's important to understand how to restore your vCenter when there is no vCenter in which to point Veeam. Then you are ready to perform a Full VM Restore or Instant VM Restore.

Once the VCSA is fully restored, if database backups were created, you are now ready to restore the Embedded Database to the desired point in time using the steps mentioned in the above KB.

VCSA with External DB:

BACKUP:
Backup is the same as above with the difference that you may also create an image-level backup of the database server if you so choose. The benefit here is that you may restore the entire VM to a specified state. This state will be of the time in which the image backup was created and without capability of point-in-time database restores. 

For Microsoft SQL and Oracle databases, Veeam can perform log backups to provide point-in-time restores. 
  1. For requirements, details, and how to enable log processing for Microsoft SQL, see this KB.
  2. For requirements, details, and how to enable log processing for Oracle, see this KB.

RESTORE:
The restore process is yet the same as the previous steps with these exceptions:
  1. VCSA requires the database to function. If needed, the database/server should be restored first.
    1. Server restore:
      1. Instant VM Restore
      2. Entire VM Restore
    2. Database restore:
      1. If Veeam was used to backup the database transaction logs you may restore with their corresponding tool:
        1. Veeam Explorer for Microsoft SQL Server
        2. Veeam Explorer for Oracle
  2. Once the database is restored you can restore the VCSA via Full VM Restore or Instant VM Restore.

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