Best way to backup and restore VMs | ESXi / vCenter 7


I have a ESXi 7.0 host with a vCenter Server Appliance and some other VMs. My question is pretty simple: What is the best way to automatically backup and if required restore the VMs? As backup destination I could use a different disk / datastore inside the same host, a FTP server or my OneDrive. Is there an integrated tool within vCenter? I know that it is pretty simple to take snapshots but that is not a backup. The server runs a VMUG Advantage license and I only use it for private purposes, so a paid tool would not be an option for me.

Any help / suggestions are appreciated!

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  1. vCenter provides a file based backup capability in it’s appliance management UI. This would let you backup to a variety of targets. VMware’s Docs outlines it well, see – https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/7.0/com.vmware.vcenter.install.doc/GUID-3EAED005-B0A3-40CF-B40D-85AD247D7EA4.html

    The other option is image based backups where you would back up the VM where VC is running. Make sure your backup solution supports restoring to an ESXi host in that case.

  2. Veeam Community edition is what you want. If you have any certs you get an upgraded NFR key for home lab use that includes more instances.

    If that’s not enough instances, you can potentially piece together enough free offerings- Vembu, Veeam, I’m sure there are others, but at that point… something’s up, and it’s probably not homelab/vmug advantage worthy.

    There’s also always ghettoVCB- but that’s not really ideal as there’s no incrementals

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