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 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.

You can use vSphere Data Protection to perform a full image backup of a virtual machine that contains vCenter Server, a vCenter Server Appliance, or a Platform Services Controller. The virtual machine must use a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) with correct DNS resolution, or the hostname must be configured to be an IP address. If the hostname is configured as an IP address, the IP address cannot be changed.

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

As an alternative to vSphere Data Protection, you can also use third-party products that are integrated with VMware vSphere Storage APIs - Data Protection.

VMware vSphere Storage APIs - Data Protection is a data protection framework that enables backup products to perform 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.