VMware Consolidated Backup & Alternatives after vSphere 4.1

Since VMware has announced the End of Availability of VMware Consolidated Backup in 2010, what have been used to back up VMware ESXi VMs afterwards? Here I will introduce the replacement of it in this article.


By Crystal / Updated on March 8, 2023

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Important: VMware Consolidated Backup EOA

If you are looking for VMware VM backup solutions, you may have heard the term VMware Consolidated Backup. VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB) is basically a scripting framework that offloads of backup workloads from production ESX servers to centralized proxy servers, providing fast and efficient backup capabilities with backup software.

However, it may disappoint you that VMware has announced the End of the Availability (EOA) for VMware Consolidated Backup in 2010. vSphere versions after 4.1 are all not supported with VCB.

In its place, VMware vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VMware VADP) was released with vSphere 4.0.

EOA of VMware Consolidated Backup

VCB Replacement: vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VMware VADP)

Actually, VMware Consolidated Backup achieves image-level and file-level backups by taking snapshots, copying or mounting the snapshot to VCB proxy, and then exporting VMware snapshot or the mounted drive to target destination via third-party software. It has some disadvantages, such as the need of using restore agents or VMware Converter to restore backups, and that file-level backups can only be performed on Windows guests.

As the replacement of VMware Consolidated Backup proxy, vStorage APIs for Data Protection basically follows this mechanism, but makes up for many of its shortcomings. For example:

  • VADP is built into the data protection software, while VCB requires additional download and installation.
  • VADP can perform file-level backups on both Windows and Linux, while VCB is within Windows guests.
  • VADP requires only a single step (source to target) for a complete VM image-level backup, while VCB requires two steps (source to VCB proxy to target).
  • VADP can perform incremental image-level VMware backups via change block tracking technology, while VCB cannot perform them.

VCB transition VMware announcement

Therefore, you can see this iteration as an improvement. Compared to VCB, VMware VADP improves the VMware virtual machine backup method, and enhances work efficiency.

Free VMware backup solutions based on VMware VADP

VMware Consolidated Backup has been replaced by vStorage APIs for Data Protection for years. As vSphere has been iterated to 7 and ESXi upgrade 6.7 to 7.0, has VMware VADP been fully utilized? And how do you transition to it?

Actually, now Data Protection APIs are included with all licensed vSphere versions, and backup vendors have also released backup features based on vStorage APIs for Data Protection.

Most of the dedicated backup software provides faster and better image-level VM backup features as a result, but with different prices. You may choose an economical one from them according to your situation. If you want a free VMware backup software, I recommend you AOMEI Cyber Backup.

As a professional VMware backup tool based on vStorage APIs for Data Protection, AOMEI Cyber Backup simplifies the process of multiple VMs image-level backup into 3 easy steps. In addition, it offers the following benefits:

✦ Agentless Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi VMs.
✦ Multiple Storage Destinations: backup to local or network share destinations.
Automated Execution: create backup schedules to automate virtual machine protection.
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. Here I will demonstrate how to create a backup task of VMware ESXi VMs in 3 steps. You can click the following button to download the freeware.

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

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

3 easy steps to backup multiple VMware ESXi VMs

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 as the source device. And then click > Bind Device.

Add VMware ESXi host

2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task, and then set Task Name, Backup Type, Device, Target, and Schedule.

  • Device: cover multiple VMs on the host in one backup task .
  • Target: selecting to back up to a local path, or to a network path. Used paths will be saved in Favorite Storage for handy selection.
  • Schedule: choosing to perform full, differential or incremental backup, and automate execution daily, weekly or monthly according to the frequency you specified.

Create a VMware ESXi backup task

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

Created backup tasks will be listed and monitored separately, for progress checking, schedule changing and restoring.

While the Free Edition covers most of VM backup needs, you can also upgrade to Premium Edition to enjoy:
Batch VM Backup: batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server or standalone ESXi hosts.
Backup cleanup: Configure a retention policy to auto delete old backup files and save storage space.
Restore to new location: Create a new VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup, saves the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.

Backup cleanup


If you ever relied on backup methods based on VMware Consolidated Backups, then unfortunately, with VMware’s announcement of the End of Availability (EOA) for VCB, these methods have come to the end of the road.

But please don’t be disappointed, for vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VMware VADP), the replacement of VCB proxy VMware released can provide you with a better backup experience. Dedicated backup tools based on VMware VADP such as AOMEI Cyber Backup, can then better protect your VM data whether you want to perform incremental VMware backups, or hassle-free image-level backup VMware virtual machine while running.

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.