You can use vSphere Data Protection or a third-party product that is integrated with VMware vSphere Storage APIs - Data Protection to back up and restore a virtual machine (VM) that contains vCenter Server, a vCenter Server Appliance, or a Platform Services Controller.

vSphere Data Protection is a disk‐based backup and recovery solution that is powered by EMC. vSphere Data Protection is fully integrated with vCenter Server and lets you manage backup jobs while storing backups in deduplicated destination storage locations. After you deploy and configure vSphere Data Protection, you can access vSphere Data Protection by using the vSphere Web Client interface to select, schedule, configure, and manage backups and recoveries of virtual machines. During a backup, vSphere Data Protection creates a quiesced snapshot of the virtual machine. Deduplication is automatically performed with every backup operation.

In vSphere 6.0, to back up and restore a virtual machine that contains vCenter Server, a vCenter Server Appliance, or a Platform Services Controller, you must do a full image backup, and the virtual machine must meet the following requirements:

The virtual machine must have VMware Tools installed and running.

The virtual machine must use a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) with correct DNS resolution, or must be configured with a static IP address.

The following backups and recoveries are not supported:

Incremental backups

Differential backups

Individual disk backups

Virtual machines that have snapshots

Virtual machines configured with Fault Tolerance

You can also use vSphere Data Protection to restore a virtual machine that contains vCenter Server or a Platform Services Controller instance directly on the ESXi host that is running the vSphere Data Protection Appliance when the vCenter Server service becomes unavailable or when you cannot access the vSphere Data Protection user interface by using the vSphere Web Client.

As an alternative to vSphere Data Protection, you can also use third-party products that are integrated with VMware vSphere Storage APIs - Data Protection to back up and restore a virtual machine that contains vCenter Server, a vCenter Server Appliance, or a Platform Services Controller.

VMware vSphere Storage APIs - Data Protection is a data protection framework that enables backup products to do centralized, efficient, off-host LAN free backup of vSphere virtual machines. For information about VMware vSphere Storage APIs - Data Protection, see the VMware Web site. For information about the integration of backup products with VMware vSphere Storage APIs - Data Protection, contact your backup vendor.

The General vSphere Data Protection Workflow section includes basic vSphere Data Protection tasks. The Backing Up and Restoring vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller, Backing Up and Restoring a vCenter Server Environment with a Single External Platform Services Controller, and Backing Up and Restoring a vCenter Server Environment with Multiple Platform Services Controller Instances sections provide detailed workflows on how to backup and restore your environment depending on the deployment type and number of Platform Services Controller instances.