The vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.5 is full of new and exclusive features. One of which is the native file-based backup and restore. I’m happy to announce two new guided walkthroughs on the VMware Feature Walkthrough site. These walkthroughs will help illustrate how to setup the vCenter Server Appliance file-based backup feature. But also how to restore your vCenter Server Appliance to life when needed.
This new out-of-the-box functionality supports the backup of the vCenter Server Appliance or Platform Services Controller (PSC). This includes both embedded or external deployments. To begin the backup workflow, log in the VMware vSphere Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) of the VCSA or PSC. Navigate to the summary tab and click the Backup button to launch the Backup Appliance wizard. The VCSA file-based backup feature requires no quiescing or downtime of the selected appliance.
By default, the configuration and inventory data of a vCenter Server Appliance are backed up. There is also the option to backup the historical and performance data of the VCSA. The PSC will not have this option since all historical and performance data is kept in the VCSA database. Keep in mind that selecting this option could increase the backup time of the VCSA. The backup workflow will produce a set of files for the designated appliance. An option to encrypt the backup files using AES 256 is available by checking a box and entering a password. The encryption password is not stored and if lost, there is no way to recover those backup files. The backup files are then streamed to a backup target using one of the supported protocols: FTP(s), HTTP(s), and SCP. Once the backup workflow completes successfully, the files are visible at the backup target.
In the case of a disaster and your VCSA or PSC is no longer available, it’s time to put that backup to use. Make sure to have the original ISO used when deploying or upgrading your VCSA or PSC instance handy. During the restore workflow, enter the backup protocol and location used. If the option to encrypt your backup was selected, the same password used will be required to decrypt it. Without the encryption password, the restore of an appliance is not possible.
As part of the restore workflow, a new VCSA or PSC is deployed retaining its UUID and system name (FQDN). There are opportunities to change a few of the appliance settings during a restore. The deployment and storage sizes can remain the same or increase, but can not decrease in size. The appliance IP address, mask, gateway, and DNS can be changed. Two key points to remember when changing the appliance network settings. The first, if an appliance uses an IP address for its system name (FQDN), then it can not be changed. Second, in changing any appliance network settings remember to update DNS. The restore workflow will process to configure the appliance to the selected backup file.Once the restore workflow has completed, log in the vSphere Web Client to verify.
More information about the vCenter Server Appliance File-Based Backup and Restore can be found in the vSphere 6.5 documentation.
Give the VCSA file-based backup and restore walkthroughs a try and provide feedback in the comments below. You can also reach out to me on Twitter via @emad_younis.