vCenter Server Backup and Restore

File-Based Backup and Restore 6.7 Overview

The vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) had several exclusive features introduced in vSphere 6.5. One of those features was the built-in file-based backup and restore. This native backup solution is available within the VMware Appliance Management Interface on port 5480. It supports backing up both the vCenter Server Appliance or Platform Services Controller (PSC). There is no need for any type of backup agents, nor is any quiescing or downtime of the VCSA or PSC required. The backup files are then streamed to a backup target using one of the supported protocols: FTP(s), HTTP(s), and SCP. These are all the files that make-up the VCSA, including the database.

Restoring the VCSA or PSC only requires mounting the VCSA ISO used during its deployment. Select the restore option and point to the backup protocol used. The restore workflow first deploys a new appliance, retaining its original identity. This is key since other solutions communicating to the VCSA will continue to do so as its UUID remains the same. Then it imports the backup files from the selected backup bringing the VCSA back online. Now with the release of vSphere 6.7 comes new enhancements for file-based backup and restore.

File-Based Backup 6.7

File-Based Backup has moved from under the summary tab and to its own backup tab. Front and center are several noticeable changes when going into the new backup tab. At the top, there is now an informational banner about the supported backup protocols. One of these protocols must be set up and accessible to the VCSA before taking a backup. Right below is the new built-in backup scheduling option. Here we can configure the backup schedule including location, frequency, and time. The backup location format has changed from vSphere 6.5. Now the backup protocol is part of the backup location, using the following format: Protocol://Server Address: Port/Backup Folder/Subfolder. The backup folder and subfolder do not need to be created before running the backup schedule wizard. A default backup folder called vCenter will be created during the backup if one is not supplied. Subfolders with the corresponding VCSA FQDN will also be created.

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Also included in the backup schedule configuration is a new retention option. The retention option allows the selection of the number of backups to keep. Two options are available, keep all backups or specify the number of backups to keep. When the backup location reaches the retention number, the oldest backup gets removed. After completing the backup schedule configuration, its information is available by expanding the backup schedule status. The backup schedule also includes options to edit, delete, or disable as needed. Right below the backup schedule section is another new section named activities.

The activities section logs detailed information about each backup job.

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File-Based Restore 6.7

The restore workflow in vSphere 6.7 has also improved. Now included is a backup archive browser. After entering the backup location details, the backup archive browser will launch. This is a great improvement over having to remember the entire backup location path. There is also a search option, handy if the same backup server is being used for several VCSAs within your environment. The backup archive browser displays the following information for each backup directory:

  • If the backup was done manually (M) or scheduled (S).
  • Version information found in the VAMI summary tab 6.7.0.10000 (6.7 GA), 6.7.0.11000 (6.7.0a).
  • Timestamp of when the backup was taken
  • Description, if one was provided during backup. It's base64 and not human readable.

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During the restore of VCSA, the vSphere SSO credentials are required for reconciliation. In the past, a restore script was required after restoring a vCenter Server registered to a PSC for reconciliation. This is no longer the case or required for either embedded and external deployments. Restoring an external PSC while other replication partners are available is no longer allowed. Since the PSCs are multi-master the same data is being replicated in the vSphere SSO domain. Now simply decommission the external failed PSC from the vSphere SSO domain using the cmsso-util unregister command. Then deploy a new external PSC which will get its data from the existing replication partners. This ensures that all external PSC have the most current data within the vSphere SSO domain.

vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 File-Based Backup

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This walkthrough demonstrates backup of the vCenter Server Appliance 6.7.

imagevCenter Server File-Based Backup is exclusive to the vCenter Server Appliance. This feature supports the scheduling and retention of backups for both embedded and external deployments of the vCenter Server Appliance and Platform Services Controller. The following protocols are supported as backup destinations HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SCP.

imageLet's begin by logging into the VMware Appliance Management Interface of the vCenter Server Appliance or the Platform Services Controller that needs to be backed up. To access, open a web browser and go tohttps://FQDN or IP Address of the vCenter Server Appliance or Platform Services Controller:5480. Log in using the root credentials supplied when initially setting up the vCenter Server Appliance or Platform Services Controller.

imageOnce logged into the VMware Appliance Management Interface the default navigation goes to the Summary pane.In the bottom right-hand corner of the VMware Appliance Management Interface, go to the [Backup] tab.

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Click [Configure] to start the Backup Schedule wizard. Note: There is also an option to manually backup clicking [Backup Now].

imageThe Backup Schedule wizard will now appear. Enter the backup location using one of the supported backup protocols (HTTPS, HTTP, SCP, FTPS, FTP). The backup location uses the following format: Protocol://Server Address/Backup Folder/Subfolder followed by the backup destination credentials. Note: The backup folder does not have to be created prior to running the Backup Schedule wizard.

imageEnter the backup schedule information including frequency, select daily, weekly, or, custom. Enter the time for the scheduled back. The backup schedule time corresponds to the Appliance server time in the Time tab.Optional: encrypt backup data using AES 256. If selected, the backup password will be required during the restore workflow.Note: The backup password is not stored and therefore the backup cannot be restored without the password.

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Select the number of backups to retain. Either selecting to keep all backups or specifying the number of backups to retain. Now select the components to backup. The vCenter Server Appliance inventory and configuration is backed up by default. There is an backup Historical data (Stats, Events, Alarms, and Tasks). Each component will show the space required. Click on [Create] when finished.

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The backup schedule status can be viewed from the backup tab. Expand the [Status] to view its configuration. In the right-hand corner, there are options to edit, disable, and delete the backup schedule.

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The backup status will be displayed in the activity pane.

imageThe activity pane also retains a log for each backup taken.After the backup job is completed click on [Logout] in the upper right-hand corner to exit the VMware Appliance Management Interface.

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The backup destination will contain the necessary files to restore the vCenter Server Appliance or Platform Services Controller when needed.

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This concludes the vCenter Server Appliance File-Based Backup Walkthrough. To learn more, visit vSphere Central at vspherecentral.vmware.com

vCenter Server Appliance 6.7U2 File-Based Backup (NFS/SMB)

imageThis walkthrough demonstrates an NFS & an SMB backup of the vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 Update 2.

imageIntroducing NFS & SMB as the newest supported protocols for the VCSA File-Based Backup and Restore (FBBR) in vSphere 6.7 Update 2.vSphere 6.7 Update 2 also includes new notifications and Alarms such as Backup Job Status, as well as Success and Failures events.

imageWe begin by logging into the VMware Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) of the vCenter Server Appliance or the Platform Services Controller that needs to be backed up. To access the VAMI, open a web browser and go to https://:5480. Log in using the root or SSO Domain credentials of the vCenter Server Appliance or Platform Services Controller.

imageOnce logged into the VMware Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) the default navigation goes to the Summary pane. In the bottom right-hand corner of the VMware Appliance Management Interface, go to the [Backup] tab

imageClick [Configure] to start the Backup Schedule wizard. Note: There is also an option to manually backup clicking [Backup Now].

imageThe Backup Schedule wizard will now appear. Enter the backup location using NFS. The backup location uses the following format: Protocol://ServerAddress/Backup Folder/Subfolder followed by the backup destination credentials. Note: The backup folder does not have to be created prior to running the Backup Schedule wizard.

imageEnter the backup schedule information including frequency, select daily, weekly, or, custom. Enter the time for the scheduled back. The backup schedule time corresponds to the Appliance server time in the Time tab.Optional: Encrypt backup data using AES 256. If selected, the backup password will be required during the restore workflow.Note: The backup password is not stored and therefore the backup cannot be restored without the password.

imageSelect the number of backups to retain. Either selecting to keep all backups or specifying the number of backups to retain. Now select the components to backup. The vCenter Server Appliance inventory and configuration is backed up by default. There is an option to also backup Historical data (Stats, Events, Alarms, and Tasks). Each component will show the space required. Click on [Create] when finished.

imageThe backup schedule status can be viewed from the backup tab. Expand the [Status] to view its configuration. In the right-hand corner, there are options to edit, disable, and delete the backup schedule.

imageThe backup status will be displayed in the activity pane.The activity pane also retains a log for each backup taken.

 

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imageLet's now setup a backup to an SMB location. Create/Edit the Backup Schedule.Enter the backup location using SMB. The backup location uses the following format: Protocol://Server Address/Backup Folder/Subfolder followed by the backup destination credentials. Note: The backup folder does not have to be created prior to running the Backup Schedule wizard.

imageIn the same manner we viewed the Backup Schedule for NFS, begin by expanding the [Status] to view the SMB backup configuration.

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The backup status will be displayed in the activity pane.

imageAfter the backup jobs are completed, it is simple to view the job details (Backup Location, Backup Server Username, Start Time, etc). Once finished, click [Logout] in the upper right-hand corner to exit the VMware Appliance Management Interface.

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This concludes the vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 Update 2 File-Based Backup Walkthrough. To learn more, visit vSphere Central at https://vspherecentral.vmware.com

vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 File-Based Restore

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This walkthrough demonstrates restore of the vCenter Server Appliance 6.7.

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vCenter Server File-Based Restore is exclusive to the vCenter Server Appliance. This feature supports restoring the vCenter Server Appliance and Platform Services Controller directly from the vCenter Server Appliance ISO used during deployment. The identity of the vCenter Server Appliance is retained which includes: FQDN, Certs, UUID, etc. A backup archive browser is included for easy visibility and searching of backups during the restore workflow.

imageMount the vCenter Server Appliance ISO downloaded from My VMware. Click on the mounted media and navigate to the vcsa-ui-installer directory. Select an operating system and launch the vCenter Server Appliance Installer.Note: The installer supports macOS, Linux, and Windows operating systems

imageSelect [Restore] to start the vCenter Server Appliance Restore process.

imageThe Restore workflow is a two-stage process. The first stage deploys a new vCenter Server Appliance or Platform Services Controller. The second stage restores the Appliance from backup. Click [Next] on the introduction screen.

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Review and accept the terms of the license agreement to continue. Click [Next].

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Next, enter the location of the backup destination using the following format: Server Address/Path/Backup Folder/subfolderfollowed by the backup destination credentials. Note: minimum requirement is the protocol and server address, a backup archive browser will appear.

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From the backup archive browser, select the backup location of the vCenter Server Appliance to restore from and click [Select].

imageAfter selecting the backup location, click [Next].

imageReview the backup information displayed and then click on [Next].

imageProvide the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the vSphere ESXi host or management vCenter Server. This will be the initial deployment target for the restored appliance. Provide a User Name and Password with privileges to create a VM. Click on [Next].

imageAccept the SSL SHA1 thumbprint by clicking on [Yes].

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Select a VM folder to deploy the vCenter Server Appliance to and click [Next].

imageSelect the compute resource to deploy the vCenter the vCenter Server Appliance to and click [Next].

imageProvide a VM name (inventory name) for the vCenter Server Appliance. The VM name can be a new name from the previous or the same. If the same VM name will be used, then the previous vCenter Server Appliance will need to be removed from inventory prior or renamed.Enter a secure password and click on [Next].

imageThe installer provides the option to select an [Appliance size] and [Storage size]. By default, the installer reverts to the original vCenter Server Appliance deployment and storage sizes. The Restore workflow provides the option to increase both the Appliance and Storage sizes. Select the required deployment and storage size, then click on [Next].

imageSelect a datastore from the list provided and click on [Next].

imageProvide the necessary network configuration settings and click on [Next]. Note: A different IP address from the original vCenter Server Appliance deployment can be used, but the FQDN will remain the same. Ensure that the FQDN has been provided A and PTR DNS records for both forward and reverse DNS resolution.

imageReview the vCenter Server Appliance settings and click [Finish].

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The installer will begin to deploy the vCenter Server Appliance to the specified deployment target. Monitor the deployment progress.

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The deployment of vCenter Server Appliance (Stage 1) has completed. Click on [Continue] to restore the appliance data from backup.Note: If Close is selected, Stage 2 can be continued from the VMware Appliance Management Interface on port 5480 of the newly deployed vCenter Server Appliance or Platform Services Controller.

imageStart Stage 2 (Restore from backup) by clicking on [Next].

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Validate the backup details and enter the encryption password (if used during the backup process) and click on [Next].

imageEnter the vSphere Single Sign-On credentials to reconsolidation between vCenter Server and the Platform Services Controller.

imageReview the backup and restore details from the summary. Click on [Finish] to start the restore process.Note: The original appliance will need to be shutdown prior to avoid any network conflicts.

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A warning is displayed that once the restore process is started it cannot be paused or stopped. Click [OK] to continue.

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The installer will start the restore process. Monitor the progress until it is finished.

imageThe restore of vCenter Server Appliance has completed. Click on the link provided by the installer to launch the getting started page. Here the option to launch either the vSphere Client (HTML5) or the vSphere Web Client (Flash) is available. Click on [Close] to exit from the installer.Note: The VMware Appliance Management Interface can also be used to validate.

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On the VMware Appliance Managment, provide the vCenter Server root account and password. Click on [Login].

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Confirm vCenter Server Appliance restore is successful.

imageThis concludes this walkthrough on vCenter Server Appliance File-Based Restore. To learn more, visit vSphere Central at vspherecentral.vmware.com.

File-Based Backup and Restore 6.5 Overview

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.

File-Based Backup

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.

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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.

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File-Based Restore

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.

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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.

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vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 File-Based Backup

A new feature in vSphere 6.5 is vCenter Server Appliance File-Based Backup and Restore. This walkthrough demonstrates backup of the vCenter Server Appliance.

 

vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 File-Based Restore

This walkthrough demonstrates restore of the vCenter Server Appliance. 

 

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