The new VMware vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 appliance has a number of great new features that are baked in to the newly designed VAMI interface running on port 5480. One of these features included with the VCSA 6.7 appliance that was sorely missing in VCSA 6.5 is the ability to “schedule” backups within the interface. It was nice to actually have a means to perform file level backups in VCSA 6.5, but without a native mechanism of scheduling, it is a sadly underutilized feature. There has been some great work to create shell/PowerCLI scripts to take care of this deficiency in the VCSA 6.5 appliance, however, again, the missing native functionality was a bummer. However, enough about the inadequacies of the VCSA 6.5 backup functionality. All of this has been changed with VCSA 6.7. Let’s take a walk through of the new VMware vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 Backup Schedule feature configuration.
VMware vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 Backup Schedule Feature Configuration
The redesigned VCSA 6.7 VAMI interface is a joy to work with. The new HTML5 Clarity interface yields a buttery quick experience and the menus and workflows are laid out very nicely! What are the prerequisites for the new Backup Scheduler feature? Well, really the only one is the most important part of the configuration – the file transfer protocol server that will accept connections from and store your backups.
We have covered a couple of configuration options using FileZilla which is a great (free) way to quickly provision a target for effective VCSA backups.
Configuring Backup Scheduler in VCSA 6.7 VAMI
To configure the backup schedule, login to the VAMI interface on the VCSA 6.7 appliance. You can get here by browsing out to https://<vcsa 6.7 IP address or FQDN>:5480
Here you see the new redesigned Backup functionality. Alas the Configure button for Backup Schedule! Click the Configure button to get started. Notice also, you have the Backup Now butotn to perform Ad-hoc backups as you could previously. Supported backups are still FTPS, HTTPS, SCP, FTP, and HTTP.
Under the Create Backup Schedule configuration, we set the:
- Backup location – backup server name and path
- Backup server credentials – credentials to authenticate
- Schedule – Schedule options
- Encrypt backup (optional) password – Encryption password for encrypting data at rest
- Number of backups to retain – Retention policy for VCSA 6.7 backups
- Data – Which data you want to backup
Of course the main functionality new here is the Schedule and Number of backups to retain. We will look at the schedule further below, but the “Number of backups to retain” is a nice option here as you can choose to:
- Retain all backkups – does what you think, keeps everything
- Retain last _____ – allows specifying the number of backups you want to keep on disk
Diving a bit more into the Schedule options available for the Schedule option, you have the following choices:
***Note*** – One thing you will notice is there is no Hourly option for file level backups. Even in the Custom Schedule (you will see in the next screenshot) does not contain the option for hourly – something to keep in mind.
When Custom Schedule is selected, you can selectively choose which days you want to perform the VCSA 6.7 backup and which hour the backup is performed for the days specified.
Once you have created a VCSA 6.7 backup schedule, you can easily Edit, Disable, and Delete previously created backup schedules.
You can also still choose the Backup Now option for Ad-hoc backups. The nice thing with the Backup Now feature is you have a checkbox at the top to Use backup location and user name from backup schedule which can save quite a bit of configuration for a one off backup if you simply want to target the same server.
We can see the file transfer activity coming across our FileZilla server with each backup schedule iteration or ad-hoc backup operation.
The new VMware vCenter Server VCSA 6.7 Backup Schedule Feature Configuration is extremely intuitive and straightforward to configure. The new Clarity UI themed HTML5 VAMI interface provides a great UI experience to configure the backup schedule feature. The workflow is laid out extremely well and flows nicely. The new backup schedule option provides daily, weekly, and custom schedule options which provides good coverage for most production environments. As shown above, there is no hourly option, however, again for most, the daily option will probably suffice. The custom schedule provides a nice way to select specific days for running the file level backups. I really like the feature as well to configure “backups to retain” so that you can specify the number of backups you want to have available on disks. Alternatively, you can also select to keep all backups. It is nice to have the options for retention here as many environments will most likely want to make use of that feature.