Backing up your VCSA!

For this post, I wanted to talk about something stimulating, so I chose backups! Who doesn’t love talking about backups? Specifically, I wanted to give you guidance on how to back up your vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) using the native file-based backup built into the VCSA.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been diligent in backing up my VCSA and Platform Service Controller (PSC) in my home lab. However, when it came time to upgrade the software it was aggressive in making sure I backed it up. So I figured now was the time to set it up. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it was so simple and I was just that lazy.

You’ll need a repository to act as a target for your backups that the VCSA/PSC can access. I use a small Linux box as the target for my backups. You’ll have the option to backup using either FTPS, HTTPS, SCP, FTP or HTTP.

Without further ado here are the steps required to configure backups for your VCSA. Note for this post I’m using vCenter 6.7. The same steps apply to both the VCSA and PSC if you’re using an external PSC.

Step 1 – You’ll need to log in to the vSphere Appliance Management Interface (VAMI). You typically access it by going to https://vCenter-url:5480

Step 2 – Select Backup.

Step 3 – Click on Configure.

Step 4 – Fill out the backup location. In this example, I’m using the SCP protocol.

Step 5 – Enter the username and password you’ll use to access the target location.

Step 6 – Choose the backup schedule you would like to implement.

Step 7 – If you wish to encrypt (AES 256) your backups enter a password here.

Step 8 – Select an option for the number of backups to retain.

Step 9 – You can choose to backup the Stats, Events, and Tasks.

Step 10 – You have the option of creating a description.

Step 11 – Click Create

Step 12 – Now it’s time to test your backup. Select ‘Backup Now.’

Step 13 – Select ‘Use backup location and user name from backup schedule.’ Enter your password, any encryption password, select the stats and an optional description then click ‘Start.’

At this point, it will verify that it can connect with the target location and begin the backup. If all goes well the status will show ‘Complete’ when finished.

Should your backup error out you can SSH into your VCSA (assuming you have it enabled) and view the backup.log file at this path ‘/var/log/vmware/applmgmt/backup.log’.

Remember you’ll need to repeat these steps for any external PSC appliances.