By Crystal / Last Updated April 25, 2022

What is datastore backup in VMware

Datastore is a storage container for files in VMware, including virtual machine files, templates, and ISO images. To ensure data security, backing up datastore seems a good idea which allows you to perform a complete restoration when needed. But before any operation, you should figure out what you really want to backup.

If you want to back up virtual machines, you need to back up .vmdk files in datastore to protect your VM from unpredictable events. Or if you want to back up all data of datastore, you need to back up a full copy of machine files, templates, and ISO images. This operation includes all specific data even the discarded files you don’t need.

This article will be divided into 2 parts to discuss how to back up entire datastore in VMware and how to back up VM files in datastore. No matter which one you prefer, you can find your solution in the following part.

backup vmware datastore

Is it possible to back up an entire datastore in VMware

If you want to back up a whole datastore, you will create a copy of virtual machine files, templates, and ISO images. The backup process can take a lot of time, even to keep some useless files forming a huge backup package. But the advantage is that your backup data will be very complete.

Till now, if you want to back up an entire datastore, it is impossible to achieve the full backup with official tool and. So you can try a professioanl software to back up virtual machines in datastore.

How to back up VM files in VMware datastore

I believe that most users when looking for how to backup datastore are more concerned with how to back up virtual machines in datastore. So, in this part, I will introduce 3 cases for virtual machine backup in datastore in which the procedures are simple.

Case 1. Download VM files to local file system for datastore backup

Using Datastore Browers to download your VM files to local file system is a secure way to store data in VMware datastore.

1. Log in vSphere client, click Storage and open Datastore Browers.

2. Click the target datastore in the inventory and click the folder you want to back up.

3. You can notice the logo right above, then click Download button.

download files

4. Select a location folder to store the file, and click OK.

The download process may take several minutes which depends on the size of VM file.

5. After finishing the download, please check it in your local destination folder to see whether it is successful.

check files in local file system

Now you have created a successful backup for VM in datastore.

Case 2. Back up VM files to another datastore

Backing up a VM to a different datastore is to create a duplicate for data protection, and it is also beneficial to utilize storage.

If you are available to vCenter, clone VMs is convenient for you to achieve the backup in datastore. If you don’t want to use vCenter, copying is also a good choice for backup in VMware. Please refer to the following procedures to choose the suitable method for your VM backup.

Procedures to clone datastore files to another datastore:

1. Log in vSphere web client, and click Storage and select a VM you want to back up.

2. Right-click and select Clone, and click Clone to virtual machine to open the wizard.

back up to another datastore

3. In Edit setting page, do as follow:

✦ Select a name and folder (no more than 80 words), then click Next.

✦Select a computer resource to run the task, then click Next.

✦Select Same format as source and Keep existing VM storage, then select a destination datastore to store the VM file, click Next.

✦Select Customize the operating system and Power on virtual machine after creation, then click Next.

✦Finally, confirm the information you set for your VM backup and click Finish.

Procedures to copy datastore folders to another datastore:

1. Navigate to the Datastores and select Datastore Browser.

2. First, go to the destination datastore and create a new directory to store the VM file

3. Go back to find the original VM folders or files (.vmdk files and .vmx files) that you want for backup, then click Copy.

copy to another datastore

4. Select the destination directory you just created, and confirm to copy the files into the new folder, then click Copy again.

After finish these steps, you will have a complete backup in another datastore.

Case 3. Use efficient backup tool to back up VMs in datastore

If you are looking for automatic and secure tool to back up your virtual machine files in datastore. Here comes a professional software for VMware ESXi or Hyper-V called AOMEI Cyber Backup. It can help you schedule a flexible backup task for unlimited virtual machines easily.

Automatic VMware Backup: It automatically backs up virtual machines on regular basis to protect VMware workloads and simplify the IT operations.

Centralized management of multiple devices: It helps to manage multiple virtual machines from a central management console.

Flexible VMware Backup Schedules: The powerful utility provides full backup, incremental backup, differential backup to back up the entire VM, or changed data since the last (full) backup.

VM Backup Retention Policy: It helps to delete old duplicate VM backup and specify the retention policy to retain VMware backups so as to save the storage.

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi 6.0 & later versions
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Steps to back up virtual machine in datastore:

☞Download AOMEI Cyber Backup, then add VMware ESXi devices.

add device

☞In backup task page, click Create New Task to set up the customized backup plan step by step.

☞Enter a task name. Click VMware ESXi Backup > select the host and virtual machines you want to back up > select the location for backup files (Local path or Network path).

Note: You can select numerous virtual machines for backup as the same time, which saves a lot of time and simplifies the operation procedures.

☞ Configure the Backup Method which includes full backup, incremental backup and differential backup.

☞ Select the Schedule Type as daily, weekly, monthly (by week) or monthly (by date).

schedule backup

☞ Specify Backup Cleanup plan. When old backup files exceed the scheduled retention period, it will delete the files automatically.

backup cleanup

☞Click Start Backup.

After finishing backup, you don’t need to worry about data-losing and insufficient storage. Besides, this professional software can also achieve fast disaster recovery to different locations.


This article mainly introduces some knowledge about datastore backups in VMware. According to your need, you can choose to back up an entire datastore or VM files in the datastore. Whichever backup method you take, you will ultimately achieve the goal of data protection.

If you are interested in other backup knowledge, you can also refer to our other articles. Hope this page could help you.