[Complete Guide] How to Back Up vCenter with SMB Protocol

SMB lends itself well to vCenter backup due to its compatibility with virtualized environments and its ability to handle large amounts of data. Please read this article and know more about SMB protocol for better use.


By Zelia / Updated on September 8, 2023

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What is SMB

The Server Message Block (SMB) protocol is a network communication protocol used for sharing files, printers, and resources between computers on a local area network (LAN) or across the internet. Developed by Microsoft, SMB facilitates seamless resource sharing and collaboration, allowing users to access files and printers on remote systems as if they were on their own.

SMB is a crucial component in many networked environments, facilitating seamless resource sharing and collaboration. However, because it is a widely used protocol, it has also been targeted by security threats, leading to various vulnerabilities. Therefore, it's important to keep SMB implementations up-to-date and secure to protect network resources and data.


Challenges in SMB backup for vCenter

Server Message Block (SMB) is a widely used network protocol for sharing files and resources across local area networks and the internet. When it comes to backing up VMware vCenter Server using the SMB protocol, several challenges can arise and lead to vCenter SMB backup not working.

  • Limited Resources: SMBs often operate with constrained budgets and fewer IT resources, making it challenging to implement comprehensive backup solutions.
  • Data Volume: As data volumes grow, SMBs struggle to efficiently manage backups, leading to increased risks of data loss.
  • Data Security: Ensuring data security and compliance with regulations is a priority for SMBs, but it can be challenging to achieve without dedicated IT personnel.
  • Authentication and Permissions: Misconfigured permissions can lead to unauthorized access or backups failing due to lack of access rights.

How to backup vCenter via the SMB protocol

Backing up VMware vCenter Server using the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol involves configuring your vCenter Server to store backup copies on an SMB network share. Here are the steps to perform vCenter appliance backup SMB:

✧ Advanced settings for vCenter backups using SMB protocol

1. Begin by right-clicking on the folder, then select Properties. Next, navigate to the Sharing tab and proceed to click on the Advanced Sharing button.


2. Click the Share this folder checkbox and assign a name to the shared folder. Following this, click the Permissions button.


3. This screenshot shows a pre-created service account for backups and added to the users list. Select the service account and check off all of the permissions checkboxes. Once accomplished, press the OK button. Subsequently, click OK on the Advanced Sharing dialog box.


4. This action will return you to the folder properties window. Click on the Security tab, then choose the service account and click the Advanced button.


5. Add the service account and give it Full control. Conclude this process by clicking OK and subsequently Close on the folder properties window.


✧ Set up the backup schedule in the vCenter Server Appliance

1. To initiate the process, open your web browser and access the vCenter Server Management interface by logging in with the root account. You can access this interface using the following URL: https://appliance-IP-address-or-FQDN:5480. After successfully logging in, proceed to select the Backup option.

2. Next, click on Configure to commence the completion of the fields. In the Backup location field, specify where the backups will be stored on the Windows machine. As illustrated in the screenshot below, this format pertains to utilizing the SMB protocol.

3. Provide the service account's username and password in the designated Backup server credentials fields.

4. Navigate to the Schedule section, where you can choose the desired time for the backup to commence and specify the frequency at which backups should occur.

5. By default, the DB Health Check option is enabled. This feature assists in assessing the status of the vCenter database server. Keep in mind that enabling this option may extend the duration of the backup process, which may not necessarily be disadvantageous.

6. Specify the number of backups you wish to retain. If you intend to preserve historical statistics, events, and tasks, opt for that selection in the Data section.

7. Upon completing vCenter backup configurations, click the Create button.


8. Expand the Backup Schedule to verify that your preferences have been successfully saved.


9. To ensure that the backup configurations are correctly established and operational, click on the Backup Now button.


Alternative to vCenter backup and restore via AOMEI Cyber Backup

While vCenter SMB backup solutions have served many small and medium-sized businesses well, the complexity and growth of virtual machine infrastructures demand more comprehensive protection. Enter vCenter VM backup, a sophisticated approach that not only safeguards VMs but also provides enhanced functionality and efficiency.

So I would like to introduce you a professional VMware backup software -AOMEI Cyber Backup, a versatile and user-friendly backup solution. Here are some key features and steps to consider when using AOMEI Cyber Backup for vCenter VM backup and restore:

▸Agentless Backup: Create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi VMs.
▸Support Free ESXi: Support both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi.
▸Various Backup Methods: Besides full backup, you can also perform incremental or differential VM backup to capture only changed data and save storage space.
▸Automated Hot Backup: Auto backup running VMs and notify via email.
▸Restore to new location: Besides in-place recovery, you can restore a VM to new location in the same or another datastore/host/vCenter.

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi 6.5 and later versions. You can click the following button to download 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.

How to back up and restore VMware VMs with ease

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.


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


3. Specify backup task setting - Task Name, Device, Target, Schedule, and Cleanup as needed.

  • Task Name: Change 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.


  • Target: Select to back up to a local path, or to a network path.
  • Schedule (optional): Perform full, differential, or incremental backup, and automate execution according to the frequency you specified.


  • Cleanup (optional): Automatically delete the old backup copies that exceed the retention period you specified.


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


5. Start Restore: Choose to Restore to original location or Restore to new location. And click Start Restore to restore VM from backup.



In conclusion, SMBs often grapple with challenges when using the SMB protocol for vCenter backup. Nevertheless, they can overcome these hurdles by leveraging SMB or adopting alternative solutions like AOMEI Cyber Backup.

Data protection is a critical aspect of SMB operations, and choosing the right backup strategy is essential for ensuring business continuity and safeguarding valuable data. Whether you opt for SMB protocol-based backups or a dedicated backup solution like AOMEI Cyber Backup, prioritizing data security and recovery in your SMB's IT strategy is key to success.

Zelia · Editor
Zelia is an editor from AOMEI Technology.She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. Writing is one of her hobbies and she wants her articles to be seen by more people. In her spare time, she likes to draw and listen to music, and it is a pleasure for her to focus on her own world.