[How To] Backup VM inventory on VMWare ESXi servers

In the past, we’ve had issues with ESXi hosts changing the IDs of the datastores after power off, so VMs became "orphaned" when the host was powered on.

Before shutting down the whole VMWare environment, some preventive measures should be taken in order to prevent data loss.

- Screenshots with VM inventory from vSphere Client on each VCenter, in order to retain the location of each VM / Resource Group.

- Backup of /etc/vmware/hostd/vmInventory.xml file from each ESXi host, in order to have the list of VMs and datastores where they reside.

- Copy output of the command: ls –la /vmfs/volumes in order to retain the list of datastores and their IDs. This output should be compared before and after host has been rebooted, to see if there are any differences.

- Make sure backup of critical VMs (ideally - all VMs) is up to date.

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