At a minimum, you’ll want to perform regular backups of your vCenter, Update Manager, and System databases. You don’t have to be a DBA to perform simple backups. You don’t need to know T-SQL or database programming to perform these steps. There’s an easy wizard that walks you through a standard Windows Next-Next-Finish set up.
There are a couple things to note in the walkthrough below. We’re using SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition 64-bit on a 64-bit Windows Server 2008 SP2 Enterprise Edition. The SQL server is also a virtual machine in a vSphere 4.1 environment.
Hopefully you’ll never have a disaster hit your datacenter, but if you do, this guide can show you how to restore your vCenter database to your latest backup. Your vCenter database holds all the information you see in the vSphere Client and more. Although your VMs will still run your ESXi hosts without vCenter and its associated database, you lose a lot of enterprise functionality.
In my testing, I found the SQL server to which you recover can have a different name. I did not change the name of my vCenter server. All machines involved had different IP addresses and resided in a different domain. All domain service accounts were recreated in the test domain. I’m leaning towards the possibility that the vCenter server can have a different name, as well.
A highly secured Windows installation can make your SQL installation fail
There are some highly modified default installations of both Windows desktops and servers that certain institutions use to increase the security of their networks. These versions of Windows are focused on security and are locked down from the ground up, which is a good thing. But all these security settings can give an IT guy headaches if you’re trying to get things accomplished. One such feature can make your SQL install fail. I happened to come across this recently in a test lab.
If you’re driving along with a standard SQL install, everything will be going fine until, towards the end of the installation process, you see the gem below. And SQL installs take a little time to complete. Having to reinstall can be a real pain.