VMware vCenter Appliance: image backup is deprecated since 7.0


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I had the discussion two times last week, so I think it is worth sharing here.

You may have noticed, VMware deprecated image level backup of its vCenter Appliance (VCSA) with vSphere 7. What does this mean? Basically, it is still supported to do image level backup and restore with VCSA 7.0. But it will not be supported in future releases. Notice that U1 and U2 are still 7.0 versions. With 7.n, with n>0, VMware will not support image restore of VCSA any more. 

From my perspective, this step was taken because problems arise when restoring this Linux appliance. I have seen many appliances requiring a filesystem check after restore or crash. When you are lucky, everything works fine afterwards. If not, you have to file a support ticket.

To avoid this, VMware offers a new way for VCSA backup. Since 6.5 it is possible to run file-based backups and restore of VCSA. Since 6.7 this can be scheduled. With this, new protocols are supported as well: FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS, SFTP, NFS, or SMB. Please correct me, if I am wrong: with vSphere 7 (or U1?) SMB Version greater 1 is supportet since.

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/7.0/com.vmware.vcenter.install.doc/GUID-1C73996F-8312-4BBD-A16C-B2C8FC3C0D31.html

So if you did not set up file-base VCSA backup, do so now:

  1. Connect to your VCSA on port 5480 using a browser.
    Using root or SSO-admin account
  2. Click Backup → Configure

     

  3. Set up Backup Schedule

 

To test it, you can click Backup now and enable Use backup location and user name from backup schedule

 


13 comments

Userlevel 7
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We have the file-based VCSA backup in place since version 6.7. Works fine.

But… once there was a VSAN problem and the VCSA was not accessible anymore.

The file-based backup saves the files inside the VCSA only, not the configuration files of the VM. So we had to setup a new VCSA and restore the file-based backup.

If we had have a snapshot backup at hand we would have to restore the VM configuration files only…

Since this time we do a snapshot backup additionally to the file-based backup….

Userlevel 7
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@JMeixner: While it is true it does not save any files “outside the VM” such as .vmx files you don’t need those to restore the vCenter Server from the file-based backup regardless. Could an Instant VM Recovery bring the vCenter back faster? Yes, absolutely, but I guess we just need to adjust to change :grinning:

Userlevel 7
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Yes, I agree. And my case was rather special,  I guess.

We are doing the file-based backup. It is the supported method with V7.1 and later anyway.

But it is no big problem for us to do the snapshot backup additionally to have the configuration files at hand. This issue was not a VCSA problem, but a VSAN problem.

 

Userlevel 7
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@JMeixner: I’d love to better understand what the issue was here. Are you saying because it was VCSA on VSAN it was not possible to restore the VCSA using the file-based backup?

Userlevel 7
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VSAN had lost references to some files - the configuration files of the VCSA were among them. The files were there but VSAN did not find them. The VMDK files of the VCSA were there but it was not startable because of the missing VMX Files and so on. Restore of these files would have been enough to get the VCSA working again. We have tried this with several other VMs.

As I said, it was a special case… The VMWare admin colleagues are in discussion with VMWare about this issue...

Userlevel 7
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VSAN had lost references to some files - the configuration files of the VCSA were among them. The files were there but VSAN did not find them. The VMDK files of the VCSA were there but it was not startable because of the missing VMX Files and so on. Restore of these files would have been enough to get the VCSA working again. We have tried this with several other VMs.

As I said, it was a special case… The VMWare admin colleagues are in discussion with VMWare about this issue...

I am afraid I do not understand your problem completely too. Was your problem that you have lost the VMX-file of your VCSA?

Userlevel 4
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i agree with you.

Userlevel 7
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[update]

I forgot to mention, that it is just possible to restore these file-base restore points, when you have exactly the same vCenter Version (incl. build) as ISO file.

Therefore I recommend to download full VCSA ISO - with same version ofupdate/upgrade - afterwards.

Userlevel 7
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Yes, VSAN has lost reference to a whole bunch of files. Among others were the VMX and VMXF files of the VCSA.

 

Userlevel 4
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[update]

I forgot to mention, that it is just possible to restore these file-base restore points, when you have exactly the same vCenter Version (incl. build) as ISO file.

Therefore I recommend to download full VCSA ISO - with same version ofupdate/upgrade - afterwards.

thanks for your update 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

[update]

I forgot to mention, that it is just possible to restore these file-base restore points, when you have exactly the same vCenter Version (incl. build) as ISO file.

Therefore I recommend to download full VCSA ISO - with same version ofupdate/upgrade - afterwards.


And archive those ISOs on a safe place so that you can easily find them if needed. I've never had the problem with VMware but I often had to search for older Microsoft Exchange CUs and Microsoft doesn't offer them for download anymore...😅

Userlevel 7
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Good to know! However I think is still easier do VCSA backup with Veeam B&R.

Userlevel 7
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Good to know! However I think is still easier do VCSA backup with Veeam B&R.

Yes, backup is easier! But keep in restore in mind too!

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