VMware ESXi backup configuration

This VMware ESXi backup configuration procedure applies to a single host configuration with local storage (DAS). It’s important to backup your single ESXi host in case of a failure. In a single ESXi host configuration, what do we need to backup:

A. The ESXi host configuration.
B. The VM’s (Virtual Machines).

Backing up your ESXi configuration will keep information like:

– the ESXi host IP settings.
– the VM’s inventory list.
– your Networking information like Standard Switch, virtual switch vSwitch, Virtual Machine Port Group, VMkernel Port.
– etc, etc.

VMware ESXi backup configuration

In case of an ESXi failure and you need to restore your host you don’t want to lose any of this information! So that’s why you need to create frequent backups. Let’s get started.

1. First you need to install VMware vSphere CLI tools. In order to download you need to login to VMware.com with your registered account.
Once logged in go to Download VMware vSphere, select your version (in this example I used version 5.1), select Drivers & Tools, Automation Tools and SDK’s and choose VMware vSphere CLI 5.1.
The CLI tool needs to be installed on a computer with Windows XP or Windows 7. In my case I use Windows XP.

2. Once installed the CLI tools, go to Start – Programs – VMware – VMware vSphere CLI and select Command Prompt.

Before you create a backup you need to know your host IP address and the root password.

3. In the Command Prompt box type the following command:

vicfg-cfgbackup.pl  –server [your host IP]  –username root –password [your root password] –save [backup location and filename]

For example:

vicfg-cfgbackup.pl  –server  –username root –password Yamaha@13 –save c:backup11102013.cfg

In raw HTML it looks like this:



Update 01-2015

Another way to create a backup file is to create a compressed tqz file. Here’s how to do this:

vicfg-cfgbackup.pl  –server  –username root –password Yamaha@13 –save c:\backup_esxi_configbundle-

This will create a Tqz file. Have a look yourself to see what’s inside this compressed file using 7-zip.



The best way is to use Notepad++ to create the backup command and then past it into the CLI Command Prompt. Do not use Windows Notepad as it screws up the command line and will result in this error:

Server version ” at ‘https://localhost:443/sdk/vimService.wsdl’ unsupported.

If you get this error,

GET unsuccessful : 404 Not Found

then you need to create the /scratch and the /scratch/downloads folder in the installation drive of your ESXi host.  To do this enable SSH server. Use a SSH client like Putty to connect your ESXi host. Use the following commands to create the folders:

mkdir /tmp/scratch
mkdir /tmp/scratch/downloads

After having this done you will be able to create a backup without having errors.


After you run the command you will see:

Saving firmware configuration to c:backup11102013.cfg …

This means you created a successful backup to you local disk. Now browse your disk and find the backup file (backup11102013.cfg). Keep this file in a safe location for instance a USB pen drive. Mark your pen drive with a label writer.

Once you successfully went trough this VMware ESXi backup configuration topic you now probably have a useful backup of your ESXi host configuration. Now it’s time you need to worry about how to backup your VM’s. Since API’s are limited in the VMware Free Edition you cannot use backup software like Veeam.

Only the backup procedure for your ESXi configuration (A.) is discussed in this topic. Please visit the VMware ESXi restore configuration page for more details how to restore VMware.

Terms And Conditions Of Use
© 2013 Datamirage.All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner of Datamirage will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.