Using vSphere Management Assistant vMA or VIMA Virtual appliance ?

People,

Can anyone here please share me what is the purpose and reason using vSphere Management Assistant vMA or VIMA ?

The only reason that I know is to perform manual update of ESXi server settings using vicfg-cfgbackup command that can only be stored locally in the appliance itself.

is there any good reason to keep it running on your environment ?

Note:
If the Powershell can be scheduled to backup ESXi settings regularly to the other WIndows NAS drive, then it would means the vMA is redundant.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Centralise CLI commands, for your environment, you do not have to install the tools on your Windows or Linux workstations, used by many third party applications to "interface and communicate with ESXi" e.g. APC Network Shutdown software for APC UPS.

 vicfg-cfgbackup is also available as a perl script for Windows, in the vCLI for Windows.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Ah I see,

So in this case if the backup & restore can be initiated from WIndows laptop using Powershell, so no need to use vMA ?

Because so far I have no appliance or 3rd party interfacing vMA apart from manual ESXi backup before the upgrade, but that too I assume can be automated & Scheduled with Powershell right ?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
So in this case if the backup & restore can be initiated from WIndows laptop using Powershell, so no need to use vMA ?

if that is the only reason you have it..... switch to Windows vCLI Perl function.

Because so far I have no appliance or 3rd party interfacing vMA apart from manual ESXi backup before the upgrade, but that too I assume can be automated & Scheduled with Powershell right ?

There are power shell scripts, that can backup the configuration, and there is the Windows vCLI Perl function. (different to power shell!).

A word of warning, have you tried any restores ?

Lately, we have found that backups created in this way, are corrupt, and cannot be restored. vSphere 5.1, 5.5 and 6.0.... we have outstanding Support Requests with VMware for many many many months, as to why....it's possible that this method of backup and restore, is no longer supported!
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Ah I see, so in this case yes, I can finally decommission the vMA appliance safely.

As to the Backup and Restore using remote script vCLI like you said above, I never tried and knew about it. I guess it is not a good solution due to corrupt restore and not completely reliable.

What method that you are using in production ESXi to backup the setting and restore successfully ?
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
@Andrew, this is what I did from SSH console and then copy it manually to shared VMFS datastore:

To synchronize the configuration changed with persistent storage, run the command:
vim-cmd hostsvc/firmware/sync_config

Open in new window


To backup the configuration data for an ESXi host, run the command:
vim-cmd hostsvc/firmware/backup_config

Open in new window


Source: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2042141
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We found that we do not get complete backups!

(all methods!)
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Thanks Andrew for the update.

It seems that there is no definite practical way to backup ESXi server.

I guess, as long as the VCenter is running the dvSwitch configuration can be automatically pushed to the new ESXi server with the same name before crash.
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Senior IT System EngineerIT ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Thanks !
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