Disclaimer: The credit for the answer goes to John Nicholson (http://thenicholson.com/) a.k.a. lost_signal from the VMware SABU and I added some points.
As I am going through my physical design decisions, I came across a simple question for which I couldn’t find an immediate answer:
How can I restore my vCenter instance (VCSA) if I put in on the very same cluster it is supposed to manage? Can I restore directly on vSAN via an ESXi host?
As my google-Fu let me down, it was time to start a discussion on reddit:
TL,DR: The good news is: Yes, you can recovery it directly and with 6.6. vSAN clusters this is straightforward with no prerequisites. Look into the vSAN Multicast Removal-guide for the post-processing steps.
As there are other aspects you generally need to consider (not only for vSAN), I decided to summarize some basic points (for 6.6 and onward clusters):
- First things first, make a backup of your VCSA on a regular schedule along with your recovery objectives.
- Create ephemeral port groups as recovery options for the VCSA and vSAN portgroups
- This is not vSAN specific but should be generally considered when you have the vCenter on the same vDS it manages
- Make a backup of your vDS on a regular basis (or at least after changes)
- If you are using Veeam as a product of choice, have a look at the VCSA/PSC backup and recovery white paper by Michael White
- Export your storage policies
- Either for fallback in case you make accidental changes or for reference/auditing purposes
- You might need them in case you are ever forced to rebuild the vCenter from scratch
- John pointed out that a backup product with “boot from backup” capability (e.g. Veeam Instant restore) doesn’t need raise the initial question at all as an additional (NFS) datastore is mounted.
- A point from myself: Verify the impact of NIOC settings if you followed the recommended shares in the vSAN guide for the vDS. The NFS mount uses the management network-VMK interface which is quite restricted (note: that this would only apply if you have bandwidth congestion anyway).
I would be more than happy if anyone is willing to contribute to this.