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ittechlabFlag for Canada

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backup VMs


I am new to ESXi.

I have several VMs that I need to backup and re register later.

Can some one provide me the steps.

I have two poweredge serves and connected to NFS where all my VMs are sitting.

i would like to remove the NFS and take those two servers for testing few features.

I would need to wipe out my current configuration and remove the servers.

However i would like to setup the environment same way as now in few months.

what should I do.

for testing purpose i want to do the following.

1. what files i need to backup
2. re register the vm in another server.

what steps should i take?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)
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Did you know, EE also has VMware Articles? Checkout my EE Articles

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

I would recommend you have a look at GhettoVCB for free as you have an NFS server, you need the VMX and VMDK files.

Regregistering VMs, please see Step 6, in this EE Article

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0
One possibility would be to look into Veeam Free Edition and using VeeamZIP to simply archive all the VMs;   ESXi does need to be licensed or in an eval/trial period, at least essentials edition.


1. Right click each datastore on each host and click 'Browse'.
  make sure there are no files on any datastore other than your NFS server.

2. Make sure there are no files on your NFS datastore other than your VMs.
3. Shutdown all the VMs.
4. Right click each VM and choose "Unregister"  not delete from disk

5.  The files you need to backup are on your NFS server.

6. Backup the contents of your NFS server.

7. Later when you load the VMs back on your NFS server, and setup the NFS datastore again
Right click the datastore, choose Browse

Select the VMX file in the datastore browser and choose  "Register virtual machine"
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when i right the VM i don't see unregister option.
"when i right the VM i don't see unregister option."
All versions of ESXi have such an option.
Do you see a simple "Remove from inventory"  option?

Different versions of the software have slightly different names for certain commands.
It's called Remove from Inventory, see EE Article for Screenshots and Walkthrough.
I do see remove from inventory option.
How can i backup  vcenter VM?

is that the same way i do back vcenter VM?
I have two poweredge servers connected to NFS device.

i moved all VMs to my NAS device.

i am using NAS device to keep my all VMs for now since i am going to reinstall ESXi and use install it again.

some time later i want to bring back to the current state.

is there is anything i need to backup from ESXi now?
Like any important configuration files.
If all the VMs  virtual disks and config files are on the NFS device,  then there really should be nothing to backup on the actual ESXi hosts -- when you reinstall ESXi later,  just
take notes about anything special you have configured, and reconfigure it from scratch when rebuilding it.

It is true that if you have the vSphere CLI  installed on a standalone host,  it is possible to backup the ESXi firmware configuration
vicfg-cfgbackup   --server <IP ADDRESS>   --save <FILENAME>

However,  this has limitations ---  it won't backup VM metadata or anything like that, and you won't be able to restore from backup  and have a valid configuration,  unless you are restoring to the same version of ESXi  that you are backing up..

The backup also contains hardware-specific information, and shouldn't be restored, except to a host that has identical hardware configuration.

This is more suitable for Disaster recovery, if you have production ESXi hosts with large complicated configurations,  such as many port groups,  that   would be difficult to recover
to replacement hardware   of the same type.
Veeam or GHettoVCB will backup ALL your VMs including vCenter Server.

Backup and Restore ESXi configuration

To backup the host you would run the command. --server <server_name> -s <backup_file_name>

To restore your backup configuration to your host you would run. This will cause the host to reboot once the process is complete. --server <server_name> -l <backup_file_name>

or if you have installed ESXi on USB

my EE Article

How to Backup an ESXi installation on an USB Flash Drive or SD card, for security or redundancy.
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