With the release of vSphere 6.5 VMware has introduced a new method for creating a backup of the vCenter Appliance. This method is available from the vCenter Appliance web management interface on port 5480 (https://applianceaddress:5480). In this article I will explain how to create a backup and what the restore procedure is.
Backup files are stored via FTP, FTPS, SCP, HTTP or HTTPS, as is documented in the vSphere 6.5 Documentation. Also be aware of some limitations of this backup procedure such as the fact that it does not create a backup of your distributed switch configuration, which you should backup separately.
This backup procedure might not be the best choice for your environment, possibly a full virtual machine backup of your vCenter appliance might be a better choice. On the other hand you can never have too many backup copies so you could also consider to run both methods in parallel.
The user interface does not allow you to schedule the backup. So therefor I have spent some time to build a workflow for vRealize Orchestrator that allows you to schedule the backup of a vCenter appliance. This is described in another article (here).
Creating the backup is pretty straightforward. After you login to the appliance you can find the Backup option in the Summary pane of the Web Management Interface. (Via port 5480.)
Provide the details for the type of protocol and the details how to access the backup destination.
In the next step you select what components (parts) to backup. The common-part is mandatory and always selected. It contains the Inventory and Configuration. The optional component is to create a backup of the seat-part. This backup contains the data for Statistics, Events, Alarms and Tasks (S.E.A.T.).
Finish the wizard to start the backup job.
How to restore a vCenter appliance from a file based backup
This procedure is documented in the vSphere 6.5 documentation (here) but this is the procedure in a nutshell. You start the restore from the same graphical installer you used to install the vCenter 6.5 Appliance. The bottom most option is the one to restore it from a file based backup.
When you choose this option the next step is to point to the backup files through the protocol where they are available, in my example it's FTP.
This will deploy a vCenter 6.5 appliance exactly the same way as normal but in stead of asking for configuration and setup questions in stage 2 it uses the data from your backup files to recreate the appliance.
When this is done a script must be executed on the vCenter Appliance, which is explained in the documentation: https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-65/index.jsp#com.vmware.vsphere.install.doc/GUID-67C7D3ED-2A52-4960-95EC-03C4EE3F5E34.html