Data Backup and Recovery

Snapcenter for VMware without vCenter ?


Hello all,


currently we use Veeam to backup our VM's.We are exploring to move away from Veeam as we really do not want to be using Windows (we use Linux and the only Windows server we have in our team is for Veeam)

Few years ago we looked at Snapcenter but there were couple of requirements that we missed compared to Veeam.

1, vCenter requirement. 

- How do you restore vCenter if Snapcenter requires vCenter and can not target ESXi host directly for the restore ?

In Veeam, we have 2 ESXi hosts "hard coded" in addition to our vCenter in case vCenter is unavailable and we need to restore it (obviously for regular VM backup/restore we use vCenter)


2, Does Snapcenter allow for 2 destinations ?

- With Veeam we backup our VM's to two repositories that are on two independent Netapp NFS volumes with two different retention policies. Is this possible in Snapcenter ?


Thanks for all your feedback.


(over the last year, we started using "infrastructure-as-code" so there are very few VMs we are actually getting backed up and Veeam Windows requirement is a hindrance for us)



We would recommend contacting NetApp sales / marketing or Product management to get your questions answered. 


These kind of generic responses are not very helpful. Honestly, it'd be better to simply ignore the post.
I know I can contact our support contact...


Thanks. Mine was not a generic reply. You may not have all answers from community support and trust me you don’t want to miss anything. NetApp team does a pretty good job of understanding and studying your environment before suggesting you a solution. 


There's this post about using snapshots for NFS-based vCenter:

Unrelated to SnapCenter: I used to use built-in vCenter backup schedule to dump data to external location.

I restored it twice (6.7U3 and 7.0U1, back then) after some plugins messed vCenter up, by deploying vCenter with a script (10-15 min), and then restoring data from my HTTPS backup. It worked fine both times. But my environment didn't have any of the challenges from the list of limitations:

The links are for vSphere 8, but the info for 6 and 7 is similar.


Different destinations: don't know if SnapCenter can do it, but you can snapshot-and-FlexClone the destination - not sure if that would work for you.


Another possibility - if SC or cloning isn't feasible - would be backup to S3.

VMware-specific bit:

This also requires a working vCenter, it appears.


Thanks a lot for taking the time.


- We are not using NFS.
- S3 and SC is not feasible, unfortunately.
- completely forgot about built-in vCenter backup. This is something I will have to look into. 

If I remember correctly, you had to first install vCenter and then restore configuration and hope the version you installed is exactly the same as the backup. 

Honestly, I'm surprised this isnt possible with Snapcenter to this day (restore vCenter to a ESXi standalone host, like it is in Veeam)

Will explore vCenter backup but for now Veeam it is.


Thank again.


> If I remember correctly, you had to first install vCenter and then restore configuration and hope the version you installed is exactly the same as the backup. 


Yes, but a scheduler is built in, so it's pretty much set-and-forget. Of course it's a good idea to have monitoring in place for the target and to set reminders to rotate passwords in vCenter if they expire on the target. Scheduling:


I did have one failed restore but that was on me - my backup destination had been down for a while and two minor versions later a plugin broke my vCenter and I didn't have any backups from the previous version (my "latest" was for 2 versions ago). Then I had to go back 2 versions ago, update vCenter, take a backup, and then update vCenter again....


> Honestly, I'm surprised this isnt possible with Snapcenter 


Based on the docs, it doesn't seem, but maybe I missed it. I was also curious so I tried to check as much as I could. There may be some scenarios or possibilities that I'm not aware of, so what the other reply said still applies - maybe reach out to some SE from your account team or a partner, both of whom can follow up with the product team.


A crude workaround is to snapshot and FlexClone the DS with vCenter and maybe keep it on a different aggregate. That's 3-4 to get a SnapLock'd clone. If you create a vCenter only volume, or maybe vCenter/AD/DNS/NTP/SnapCenter/VMware Console, you could have enough means of bootstrapping your environment to the point where vSphere is up & running, and then use SnapCenter to recover the rest.