By Crystal / Last Updated April 27, 2022

Overview of VMware vCenter backup by using NFS

When mentioned vCenter backup, you may ask “Is backing up vCenter as important as backing up VMware VM?” Actually, it is necessary to perform VMware vCenter backup since it helps to achieve data protection, fast recovery, and saves the storage space.

For now, there are 7 protocols supported by vCenter such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SCP, NFS, and SMB. Among them, NFS and SMB protocols are commonly used in the enterprise. Meanwhile, when you use NFS to back up vCenter, you need to know what you are backing up is vCenter Server core configuration, inventory, and historical data such as statistics, events, and tasks.

Whether you use vCenter Server or vCenter Server Appliance, the steps to backup vCenter to NFS are largely the same. In this article, I will introduce how to back up and restore vCenter Server appliance by using NFS as an example.

nackup vcenter nfs

How to backup vCenter Server Appliance to NFS

Since vSphere 6.7, you are allowed to schedule the VCSA backup tasks in VMware to run it periodically which is a great enhancement of VCSA for most of users.

Before you back up VCSA to NFS, please ensure you have at least updated vSphere to 6.7 U2.

Steps to schedule backup vCenter Server Appliance:

1. Log in VMware Appliance Management Interface, then enter the root and password.

2. Select Backup >> CONFIGURE.

3. In the Create Backup Schedule, you can do following configurations:

vccenter backup nfs location

Select the Backup location from nfs:// protocol.

Enter the user name and password for Backup server credentials.

Schedule: Set a time to run the task automatically.

Encrypt backup: If you encrypt your backup files, please enter a password for restoring procedures, which is optional.

Number of backups to retain: Retain all backups or Retain last___ backups.

Select the default option State, Events, and Tasks to back up additional historical data from database. Then click Create.

After finishing all these steps, you’ve created a scheduled backup task for VCSA. It will automatically start backup at its schedule. But if you want to execute the backup task for once manually, you can try he following method.

Steps to back up VCSA manually:

1. Click BACKUP NOW.

2. In the opening wizard, click Use backup location and user name from backup schedule.

3. Enter Password> Enabled> Data> Description.

4. Click START.

vcenter backup manually

5. You can check the status of backup task in the Activity section.

vcenter backup status

How to restore vCenter from NFS step by step

After these steps, you don’t need to worry about something happens to your vCenter Server Appliance since you can restore VCSA anytime from NFS.

1. First, find your “installer.exe” and launch it.

2. Click Restore.

restore vcenter

3. Accept the terms of the license agreement, then go to select the location to store your VCSA backup files and enter the User name and Password of the backup task, click Next.

enter backup details

4. Check the backup information is correct, then deploy the target vCenter server, and set up the target vCenter Server VM, click Next.

Note: The name of the new virtual machine should be different from the current one, then enter root password and confirm it, click Next.

5. Choose the deployment size according to your infrastructure and click Next.

selet deployment size

6. Select the datastore with sufficient space and click Next.

select datastore for restoring vcenter backuo

7. Check network configuration which should be matched to the running vCenter server appliance since we are restoring it and click Next.

configure network settings

8. In Ready to complete stage 1, check all the information is correct and click Finish.

It takes a few minutes to complete the deployment process. After successful deployment, click CONTINUE to go to the Stage 2.

In Stage 2, check all information of restoring and click Finish.

Note: The original appliance needs to be shut down in order to avoid any network conflicts.

9. A warning is displayed that once the restore process is started it cannot be paused or stopped and click OK.

The restoring process will be completed then you can power on vCenter.

What’s the difference between NFS and SMB for vCenter backup

Many users are confused about the differences between NFS and SMB protocols. To be honest, they are extremely similar, only subtle differences between the them.

NFS uses the host-based authentication system, while SMB provides a user-based authentication. And if the backup files are medium-sized or small, NFS offers better performance. For larger files, the timings of both methods are almost the same.

In the case of sequential read, the performance of NFS and SMB are almost the same when using plain text. However, with encryption, NFS is better than SMB protocol. So, you can choose the suitable method that fits you best.

Backing up vCenter Server Appliance to SMB is also similar to NFS on operation. Only one different point: choose the smb:// instead of nfs://.

create vcenter backup smb

After you finished the steps of creating vCenter backups via SMB protocol, you may confront this question: why my SMB protocol is not supported? Generally, it is due to the default SMB version which is not matched with your original ISO. You can install a suitable one to solve the problem.

How to back up VM to NFS easily

As we mentioned before, backing up vCenter to NFS is necessary for data protection. So, some of uses may also want to know “is it possible to back up virtual machine to NFS?”

The answer is YES. Backing up virtual machines to NFS can be an effective way to save storage space. You need to access to NFS service, configure NFS server correctly, then enable it. But configuring NFS server could be complicated, so you can also use backup software to back up virtual machines to a network location using AOMEI Cyber Backup.

It is a professional backup tool to store VM backups to network easily. It could also back up multiple VMs at the same time, and allows you to schedule backup tasks.

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Conveniently detailed steps to back up VM to network location

1. Download AOMEI Cyber Backup and Add Device to it.

2. Create backup task: click Add backup task >> enter task name >> choose device and VMs >> specify the backup target >> schedule backup >> select retention policy.

In Target window, you can choose Create a new network path to store VM backup files which saves storage.

backup to nfs

In Schedule window, it offers full / incremental / differential backup methods and flexible time type for backup.

schedule backup

3. Click Restore. You can restore your virtual mchine from any point and easily achieve data migration without reinstalling and configuration applicatioins. When your original VM corrupts, you can restore the backup to original or even another host immediately.

restore VM


Backing up vCenter by using NFS saves local storage space and allows all to use it by other machines on the network. It is convenient and reliable to protect data security and restore vCenter.

Achieving data backup is critical for businesses, whether it's VMware vCenter backup, VMware VM backup or Hyper-V backup, data security ensures business sustainability.