VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

0

In the last post, we covered the process to backup the new VCSA 6.5 appliance.  Let’s now take a look at the VMware VCSA 6.5 appliance restore process from the backup file set.

As shown in the previous post, the backup process is very straightforward.  Simply login to the vSphere Server Appliance Management interface and perform the backup.

To restore however, the process is quite different and more involved.  To restore the VCSA 6.5 appliance backup, the process is basically to let the new installer interface create a new vCenter 6.5 appliance, and then it brings in the backed up configuration.  Hopefully VMware will streamline this process in the future as it is quite inefficient when we think of having to install a completely brand new appliance and then restore the configuration.  It would seem that we should be able to use the existing appliance and bring in the configuration.  However, it is still early on and there may be a way to do this so time will tell.  In this post, we will walk through the obvious restore process to restore the backed up configuration.

VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

To begin the VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance restore operation, we need to launch the GUI installer that is found in the VCSA 6.5 ISO when mounted.  This is the same utility we use to deploy the VCSA 6.5 appliance.  Choose to Restore.  Notice it mentions in the Restore option that we are going to restore from a previously created vCenter Server Appliance backup.

vcsa65_rest01 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

This is an interesting restore approach.  Basically, we have to deploy a brand new vCenter appliance and then restore the configuration to that new appliance.

vcsa65_rest02 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

vcsa65_rest03 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

An interesting issue I ran into with the restore using the same Firezilla server (the same server I had used to backup the appliance to) was that it didn’t like pulling the backup from the root FTP folder.  It seemed to want the backup to be found in a subfolder.

vcsa65_rest04 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

As mentioned above, I received this error when pulling it from the root FTP folder.

vcsa65_rest05 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

All I had to do to get past the error was move the backup files to a subfolder in the root FTP folder called “backup”.

vcsa65_rest06 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

It happily moved forward once I had done that.  Now we just basically follow the same prompts as we used when deploying the appliance.

vcsa65_rest07 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

Choose a different VM name than the current VCSA 6.5 appliance name.

vcsa65_rest08 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

A cool thing about restoring this way is that you have the option to change some of your decisions the first go around.  If you chose Tiny the first time and now need a larger deployment, you can do that with the restore.

vcsa65_rest09 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

Disk target choices…

vcsa65_rest10 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

Notice the backup configuration is pulling the name of the vCenter appliance from the backup at this point.  Also, the network configuration is known and brought forward.

vcsa65_rest11 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

Another interesting detail in the restore process – I received the error A virtual machine with the same FQDN/IP exists in the target.  What is interesting about this is that I had disconnected the network from the old VCSA appliance.  So it wasn’t really discovering this at the network level.  All I had to do to get past this however was power off the old VCSA 6.5 appliance – again interesting.

vcsa65_rest12 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

After powering off the old appliance, the network settings screen allowed me to move forward and we finally get to the confirmation screen.

vcsa65_rest13 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

The restore process begins.  As you can see below, the first stage is to deploy vCenter Server like a new appliance.

vcsa65_rest14 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

After Stage 1, we are told that we are about to proceed to Stage 2.

vcsa65_rest15 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

Notice Stage 2 is all about the VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore backup configuration process.

vcsa65_rest16 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

Ready to begin Stage 2 – note that we are told to Shut down the original backup appliance before you proceed to avoid network conflicts.  I was actually not able to move past the network configuration screen in the restore process without doing this.

vcsa65_rest17 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

A warning about the process not being able to be stopped or paused…

vcsa65_rest18 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

Restoration begins…

vcsa65_rest19 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

I kept an eye on my Firezilla server and noticed at this point, I saw activity of the backup files being FTP’ed from the Firezilla server to the new VCSA appliance.

vcsa65_rest20 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

Services are starting…

vcsa65_rest21 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

After the backup configuration files are copied over and the restoration works its way through, we get a Restore Complete dialog directing us to the login pages of our restored VCSA 6.5 appliance.

vcsa65_rest22 VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore

Thoughts

The VMware VCSA 6.5 Appliance Restore operation is maybe not so efficient in that you have to create a new VCSA appliance, however, the configuration restore from the backup process seems to work well in my testing here.  Hopefully we will see a process that allows the configuration backup to be restored directly to the original appliance instead of having to use a new appliance as a shell to restore to.