How to Backup vCenter 6.7 or 7.0 Using SMB Protocol

This article introduces the procedure used to create file-based vCenter Server backups, which would help you recover your environment after a failure.


By Crystal / Updated on November 4, 2022

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Overview of vCenter backup protocols

Before you update or upgrade vCenter Server, it is necessary to backup vCenter. With the backup, it ensures that you can easily restore/rebuild the vCenter server in case of any irreparable issues.

From vSphere 6.7 U2, there are some new backup options: you can now back up to NFS or SMB file systems directly. In total, there are now seven protocols supported for vCenter backup: FTPS, HTTPS, SFTP, FTP, NFS, SMB, and HTTP.

In this article, I will explain how to backup vCenter using SMB protocol. The file-based vCenter backup contains the vCenter Server core configuration, inventory, and historical data such as statistics, events, and tasks.

vcenter 7.0 backup

How to backup vCenter using SMB protocol (Tutorial)

Before you can perform a vCenter backup to SMB, you should set up and configure the SMB server, so that the vCenter server can access it. Here, I will backup vCenter 7.0 using SMB protocol as an example. You can also use the similar steps for vCenter 6.7 backup to SMB.

Tips: Make sure the SMB server have enough disk space to store the vCenter backup.

Step 1. Configure the vCenter backup location first

1. You should create user object (service account) on active directory domain controller, and configure storage location on your Windows system. Right-click the vCenter backups folder and select Properties.

create vcenter backup

2. Click the Sharing >> Advanced Sharing button. Then check the Share this folder in box, and enter a name and click the Permissions button.

share folder

3. Select the service account (vcBackcups-svc) and click OK.

vcenter backup permission

4. Back to the folder properties window. Click Security and select the service account, then click the Advanced. You should Add the service account and give it Full control permission. Close the window.

full control vcenter backups

Till now, you have configured the backup location.Then open VMware vCenter Server Management interface with 5480 port and Login.

Step 2. vCenter 7.0 backup using SMB protocol

Next, I will introduce the detailed steps of vCenter backup to SMB.

1. In vCenter Server Management Interface, click Backup >> Configure.

2. Enter the Backup location as the SMB protocol, where is the backups will be stored on the Windows machine.

Meanwhile, you can also backup vCenter to NFS.

backup vcenter to smb

3. Enter the service account username and password.

4. In the Schedule section. Select a time for the backup to run and how often you want to backup.

5. (Optional) Enter a password for encrypting the backups, especially in a production environment.

6. (Optional) The DB Health Check is selected by default. The DB Health Check helps you determine the status of the vCenter database.

7. Enter the number of backups you want to retain.

8. If you want to retain historical stats, events, and tasks, then pick that option in the Data section.

9. Review the settings and if you complete it, click Create tab.

You can monitor the process status of vCenter backup to SMB in Activity section. It takes time depending on the backup size to complete.

monitor vcenter backup process

Once backup is completed this is how the backed up data looks like on the shared folder, In case of any critical non recoverable issues I can use it to restore reinstall vCenter server easily from VCSA ISO.

backuped data on share folder

Tips: Some users reported the VAMI Backup with SMB error when using SMB protocol for vCenter backup. Now the issue is resolved in vCenter Server 7.0 Update 3c.

In a small business environment, there is no need to invest in vCenter backup at all. It is more affordable and convenient to choose a professional backup software to backup VMware virtual machines directly.

Batch backup VMs on vCenter for better data protection

vCenter Server provide a scalable, extensible platform for centralized management of VMware vSphere environments. With a single vCenter Server, you can manage up to 1,000 hosts and 10,000 running virtual machines. However, vCenter Server does not provide the feature of virtual machine backup.

So here I introduce you to a VMware backup software - AOMEI Cyber Backup, it enables you to backup multiple VMs either managed by vCenter Server, or on a standalone ESXi host.

Centralized Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs without install Agent VMs.
 Batch vSphere Backup: batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server, or multiple VMs on a standalone ESXi host.
Different Storage Locations: backup to local drive, or network destinations like NAS.
Auto VM Backup: schedule VM backups and run it automatically by daily, weekly, monthly.
Restore VM Easily: restore immediately available VMs from any selected restore points to original or new location without any complicated configuration or reinstallation.

AOMEI Cyber Backup

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions. Next, I will show you how to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server with AOMEI Cyber Backup. You can click the following button to download the 30-day free trial.

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
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4 Steps to batch backup VMs on vCenter Server

1. Bind Devices: Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, navigate to Source Device > VMware > + Add VMware Device to Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi host. And then click > Bind Device.

Bind device

2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task, and select VMware ESXi Backup as the Backup Type.

VMware ESXi backup

3. Set Task Name, Device, Target, Schedule, and Cleanup as needed.

▶ Task Name: you can chance the task name or use the default name with an ordinal.

▶ Device: batch select large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server for centralized backup.

Select virtual machines vCenter

▶ Target: select to back up to a local path, or to a network path.

select backup target

▶ Schedule (optional): offers full / incremental / differential backup methods and flexible time type for backup.

schedule VM backup

▶ Backup cleanup (optional): automatically delete the old backups and retain the new VM backups.

backup cleanup

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

Start Backup

4. Restore: You can create a new VM by hitting Restore button, and it allows you to restore VM to original/new location directly from any selected backups, which saves the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.

restore VM


This article covers the detailed steps of vCenter backup to SMB protocol. You need to configure the backup location correctly and then schedule the vCenter backup using SMB protocol. Backing up vCenter using SMB helps to restore vCenter Server environment after a failure or upgrading operation.

Besides, if you need to manage a large virtual environment, you may want to have multiple vCenter Servers to work simultaneously.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.