HOWTO: Restore a dead or deleted vCenter server from an @HPE_Simplivity backup

This morning was vCenter update day for me. I had 15 customer vCenter instances that all needed upgraded from to, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and got started. 14 of the 15 completed with out a hitch, but there is always one! This one vCenter server failed to install the patch, leaving me with a dead vCenter. And this particular vCenter is residing on an HPE Simplivity cluster.

In case you didn’t know, Simplivity has it’s own built in backup and restore mechanism, which is generally accessed via the vCenter client. Which is cool, until your vCenter is dead, and you need to restore your vCenter from those backups, which is done via vCenter (that same dead vCenter you are attempting to restore). Then what do you do? HPE’s documentation on this isn’t super clear. I’d been down this same road earlier this year, so I had already trudged through the framework of what to do once, but I actually hadn’t written down. So this time – not only am I documenting it, I’m sharing it with you!

And as always before I begin:

Use any tips, tricks, or scripts I post at your own risk.

Open Putty and ssh one of the OmniStackVC VMs.

Login as svtcli / yourpassword (this is your emergency password)

Find the available backups:    svt-backup-show --emergency

The first column shows the Datastore name.  The second column is the VM name.  The third column is the backup name and will generally correspond to the backup time. It’s possible to do more granular searches with svt-backup-show. Use --help to get the parameters if you need to narrow down the results.

If the VM has been deleted, then it’s name will show as “VMNAME [Deleted] YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS+OFFSET” in this list (i.e. “VCENTER01 [DELETED 2022-12-10T13:20:34+0000]” in my example below)

**Note** Your text may be wrapped in Putty – I recommend copying and pasting the text out of Putty into Notepad++ or some other editor for easier reading.

To restore the VM, you’ll need to know the Datastore, the Object, and Backup Name (which is the time of the backup) you are restoring.  The syntax for a restore is this:

svt-backup-restore --datastore “Datastore --vm “Object --backup “Backup Name--emergency --force

So in my case, it was:  svt-backup-restore --datastore “SVT-DS02--vm “VCENTER01 [DELETED 2022-12-10T13:20:34+0000]--backup “2022-12-10T07:00:00-04:00--emergency –force

If everything worked correctly, you should see a Task Complete. The VM will then be restored into a new folder on the original datastore.

**Note** It may take a minute or two before the restored VM actually appears on the datastore. Be patient! If you simply hit the up arrow and hit enter again to run the restore again, you’ll end up with another copy!

If your original VM has been deleted, then you can safely rename this folder as required to match the original VM’s name.  I’m taking these screenshots after the fact, so the existing VCENTER01 shown below is the one I restored earlier this morning (and is now back into production) which inspired this writing – the VCENTER01-restored-blahblahblah is the one I just restored in the screenshots above for my documentation.

Now you can log into the WebUI of one of your ESXi nodes as root, register the recovered vCenter, and power it on. To register the VM, right click Virtual Machines, select “Create/Register VM”, select “register an existing Virtual Machine”, navigate to the datastore and select the restored .vmx file.

**Note** I’m not particularly happy with the editor in WordPress anymore… If anyone knows how I can write these posts in Outlook or Word and then copy and paste (including the formatting) into WordPress, please let me now.

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