By Crystal / Last Updated March 8, 2023

The necessity of vCenter NFS backup

vCenter Server is the management center for virtualization. It basically contains your core configuration, inventory, and historical data such as statistics, events, and tasks, which may be cumbersome to reconfigure from the scratch. It is essential to make backups before making major changes to the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA), especially when you have multiple vCenter Servers in a large-scale virtual environment of enterprise. 

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, and this article will mainly focus on vCenter backup to NFS.

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 backup vCenter Server appliance to NFS as an example.

nackup vcenter nfs

How to backup vCenter Server Appliance to NFS

How to backup vCenter Server configuration to NFS? Here's tutorial based on vSphere 6.7.

Since vSphere 6.7, you can schedule VCSA backup tasks in VMware to run it periodically, which greatly enhance VCSA for most of users. If you want to do it in earlier version, such as backup vCenter Appliance 6.5, you cannot set up a schedule, but you can still create backup manually in VAMI (VMware Appliance Management Interface).

Steps to schedule vCenter backup to NFS:

Tip: To schedule backup vCenter Applicance to NFS, please ensure you have at least updated vSphere to 6.7 U2.

1. Log in to 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:

  • Select the Backup location from nfs:// protocol.
  • Enter the username 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 backup additional historical data from database. Then Create.

vccenter backup nfs location

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 the following method.

Steps to back up VCSA manually:

1. Click BACKUP NOW.

2. In the opening wizard, click Use backup location and username 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

This part illustrated how to backup vCenter Appliance 6.7. After making a backup, you may need to restore VCSA from it sometimes.

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 protocol. 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 ESXi 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, an effective VMware backup solution.

It is a professional backup tool to store VM backups to network easily, and supports both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi and Hyper-V. It could also back up multiple VMs at the same time, and allows you to schedule backup tasks. Just hit the button below to enjoy the 30-day free trial:

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

Batch back up VM to network location (step by step)

1. Download AOMEI Cyber Backup and Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi host to it as Source Device.

Bind device

2. Create backup task: click Create New Task >> enter task name >> choose device and VMs >> specify the backup target >> schedule backup >> backup cleanup.

In Device windowbatch select large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server for centralized backup.

Select virtual machines vCenter

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

In Cleanup window, it can automatically delete the old backup copies that exceed the retention period you specified.

3. Run Backup: Click Start Backup and select Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.

Start Backup

4. Click Restore. You can restore your virtual machine from any point and easily achieve data migration without reinstalling and configuration applicatioins. When your original VM corrupts, you can easily and quickly restore the entire VM to usable state.

When restoring, you can also restore to new location to create a new VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup, saving the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.

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.