The necessity to restore entire VM
Virtual machine backup is the most basic measure of VM data protection. Periodic backups can keep the backed up data up to date, thus when a VM fails, you can easily restore it from the backup file.
But as you know, there are different methods for VM backup. If you back up a virutal machine as a physical machine and perform file-based backup on it, you can probably recover certain files quickly when they get lost or corrupted. But if this VM system has crashed, such a recovery is not a true cure.
For virtual machines loaded with critical data or business, more downtime means more loss. So in practical, you may need the ability to quickly restore a whole VM after disaster strikes. On the one hand, you can make the original VM back to usable state in-place; On the other hand , you may restore the entire VM out of space, which means to create a separate and identical VM in a new location.
Available methods to restore entire virtual machine
How to restore VMs depends on how you backed them up. If you want to restore a whole VM that is instantly usable, you need to perform an image-level backup that contains the operating system, configuration files, and all data on disk, including applications, empty disk blocks, system state, etc.
Basically, you can try these ways for full VM recovery.
- Manually upload VM files and register a new VM
- Import OVF template as a new VM
- Restore VM from backup (third party)
Accordingly, I will take VMware ESXi as an example, to introduce how to restore virtual machine in VMware ESXi.
How to restore entire VM in 2 ESXi built-in ways
If you have only a few VMs to backup and restore, it may be more convenient and affordable to use the built-in ways.
In this section, I will introduce how to restore virtual machine in VMware ESXi built-in ways.
1. Access the VMware ESXi web client, navigate to Storage page and click Datastore browser.
2. In the pop-up window, click Create directory to create a folder for the new VM.
3. Click Upload and specify the VM files to this folder.
4. Click Close the Datastore browser window, and then click Register a VM to open the wizard.
5. In the pop-up window, navigate to the newly created folder, select the VMX file and click Register.
6. Navigate to Virtual Machines, and Refresh the VM list.
Now you can see the new VM with the same name as the VMX file. You can right-click on its name and Rename it.
7. Power on the restored VM. There will be pop-up window, select I Moved It and click Answer.
1. Access VMware ESXi web client and navigate to Virtual Machines page.
Click Create/ Register VM to open the wizard.
2. On Select creation type tab, select Deploy a virtual machine from an OVF or OVA file, then click Next.
3. On Select OVF and VMDK files tab, provide a name (up to 80 characters) for the new VM, and then click the blank to specify the OVF/OVA file you exported. Click Next to continue.
4. On Select storage tab, specify a datastore to store the VM files, then click Next.
5. On Deployment options page, select the Network mappings, Disk provisioning, and Power on automatically or not. Click Next to continue.
6. On Ready to complete page, review the settings and click Finish to start. You can see the progress in Recent tasks.
Options such as downloading virtual machine files and exporting virtual machines, while available, are not really image-based backups. They can hardly meet some common backup needs for enterprise, such as backing up multiple VMs, creating VMware backup schedule, etc.
Therefore, many IT staffs prefer to peform full VM recovery from image-based backup created by dedicated backup tools. Here I introduce you to AOMEI Cyber Backup, the free virtual machine backup software to restore VM from backup. It offers you the following benefits:
✦ Image-Based Backup: create independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs agentlessly.
✦ Automated Backup: create backup schedules to automate virtual machine protection.
✦ Restore Entire VM: restore immediately available VMs from any selected restore points.
✦ Perpetual Free: you can use AOMEI Cyber Backup Free Edition with no time limit.
AOMEI Cyber Backup supports both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions, as well as Hyper-V in Windows 8/8.1/10/11, Windows Server/Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 and later versions.
Next, I will demonstrate how to restore VM from backup via AOMEI Cyber Backup. The steps are even simpler than VM backup. You can click the following button to download the freeware.
*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.
How to perform full VM recovery via AOMEI Cyber Backup
1. Access AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, and Navigate to the backup task you want to restore, click ... > Restore to open the wizard.
Or you can click Backup Management > History Versions. Specify a VM and select a restore point from the left list.
2. Choose to Restore to original location. And click Start Restore to recover the virtual machine in place.
After a few simple steps, you can restore a whole VM without any complicated reinstallation and configuration.
Regular backup and restore are essential to protect the VM data. In this article, I introduced 3 available ways to restore an entire VM on VMware ESXi.
If you have multiple VMs that need to be backed up and restored, using native ways may be laborious. Therefore, in most cases, IT staff will choose a suitable VMware backup software.