VMware Cloud Foundation 3.x Component Backup and Restore Methods

With the release of VMware Cloud Foundation 3.7.2 it is now possible to perform a file-level backup and restore of the SDDC Manager next to an image-level backup and restore. But what are the supported backup and restore methods of the other components in VMware Cloud Foundation?

Although the general supported backup and restore methods of the different components are supported, there is no real overview of this for all the components used in VMware Cloud Foundation.

The VMware Cloud Foundation 3.x documentation doesn’t have any information about the supported backup and restore methods but the older 2.3.x documentation does. This post combines the different documentation sources and provides an overview of the supported backup and restore options of all the components in VMware Cloud Foundation.

Backing Up and Restoring SDDC Manager

It is possible to back up and restore SDDC Manager with an image-based or a file-based solution (starting from VMware Cloud Foundation 3.7.2). It is recommended that you use the image-based solution. The file-based approach is more limited, has a higher network-ingress cost since patch and install bundles have to be re-downloaded, and requires scripting and working with APIs.

Whatever backup method is being used, follow the best practices below:

  • Schedule backups when SDDC Manager is not running any workflows.
  • Take periodic backups on a daily to weekly frequency.
  • If a workflow does not complete successfully and the Cloud Foundation environment is in this state when the scheduled backup is taken, resolve the failure as soon possible and take an unscheduled backup. Restoring your environment from a backup that includes unresolved failures is more difficult than restoring from a clean backup.

Image-Based Backup and Restore

For an image-based backup of the SDDC Manager, use a solution compatible with the VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Data Protection (VADP).

For an SDDC Manager backup, connect your backup with the management domain vCenter Server. Configure the product to take non-quiesced backups of SDDC Manager. To reduce the backup time and storage cost, use incremental backups in addition to full ones.

File-Based Backup and Restore

With Cloud Foundation 3.7.2 and later, it is possible to use APIs for a file-based backup and restore solution for SDDC Manager. The APIs are building blocks and do not implement a complete solution.

To restore the SDDC Manager , select the backup file to restore and download the appropriate OVA file. It is possible to deploy this OVA either through vCenter Server or the OVF tool. After deployment of the OVA, load the state on the newly deployed SDDC Manager.

The following limitations apply for a file-based backup of the SDDC Manager:

  • You must manually configure the NSX Managers in your Cloud Foundation environment to back up their state to an (s)FTP site. You must repeat this step each time you create a workload domain.
  • If you do not make these changes, the NSX Managers will continue to backup their state to SDDC Manager. These NSX backup files are not backed up if you use the file-based backup and restore.
  • This solution cannot be used for composable servers.
  • This solution cannot be used when you have stretched clusters in your environment.
  • File-based solution cannot be used if you have a vRealize product or Horizon 7 domain in your environment.

Backup Methods for VMware Cloud Foundation Components

The different VMware Cloud Foundation components each have there own backup and restore method. The following table describes the components that are needed to be included in the backup process, and the methods for backup and restore. 

This table only gives a high level overview of the backup and restore method of each component. The guidelines, limitations, and caveats can be found respectively in the specific component documentation.


Backup Method

Restore Method

SDDC Manager

Image level (non-quiesced) / File level

Image level / File level




vCenter Server

Image level (quiesced) / File level

Image level / File level

Platform Services Controller

Image level (quiesced) / File level

Image level / File level




NSX-v Manager

Files backed up by SDDC Manager

File level

NSX-v Controller

No backup





NSX-T Manager

Files backed up by SDDC Manager

File level

NSX-T Edge Node

No backup


vRealize Log Insight



vRealize Log Insight Node

Image level (non-queisced)

Image level

vRealize Operations



vRealize Operations Analytics Node

Image level (non-queisced)

Image level

vRealize Automation



vRealize Automation Appliance

Image level (non-queisced)

Image level

vRealize Automation IaaS VM

Image level (non-queisced)

Image level

vRealize Automation SQL Database

File level

File level


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