Backing up and restoring configuration

You should take regular backups of the configuration data on your Management Node, particularly before and after Upgrading the Pexip Infinity platform. This allows you to restore your configuration to a specific point in time, or to restore your configuration if you have to deploy a new Management Node.

There are two ways to maintain copies of your Management Node configuration data:

  • use your hypervisor's tools to create a full backup or snapshot of the Management Node VM
  • use the backup and restore mechanism built into the Pexip Infinity Administrator interface (automatic and manual backup options are available)

For on-prem deployments, we recommend that you use both the hypervisor and Pexip's inbuilt methods to preserve your configuration data. A VM snapshot should be your primary mechanism prior to an upgrade, as this allows you to easily restore your system back to its state at the time the snapshot was taken. The Pexip Infinity backup and restore mechanism is your fallback mechanism, as this allows you to preserve a copy of your data in an alternative location, in case you lose your VM environment. Cloud-based deployments (Azure, AWS or GCP) should use the Pexip Infinity backup and restore mechanism.

You can also separately backup and restore just your Virtual Meeting Room and Virtual Auditorium configuration, see Bulk import/export of service configuration data.

If you are using the VMR Scheduling for Exchange feature, we recommend that you run the scheduling recovery script after restoring the Management Node to ensure that any meetings that were scheduled after the backup was taken are reinstated.

See Resilience strategies — redundancy, backing up and restoring data for more general guidance on resilience strategies.

Backing up Conferencing Nodes

Conferencing Nodes do not need to be backed up. They receive all their configuration information from the Management Node and can simply be redeployed if necessary. However, if your Conferencing Nodes are geographically spread out and redeploying them would consume significant bandwidth or take a significant length of time, they can also be backed up with your hypervisor's backup tools.

Using your hypervisor's tools to take and restore backups

You can use your hypervisor's own backup tools, or any other third-party tool that supports VM backups, to create a full backup of the Management Node. This backup can then be re-deployed at a later date if required.

Be aware that snapshots are not backups. Snapshots are a tool to roll back to a given time. Therefore, we recommend taking snapshots only when necessary (such as prior to an upgrade) and deleting the snapshot as soon as possible after the upgrade is confirmed to be successful. You should only create and delete VMware snapshots at a time of minimal usage. Taking or removing snapshots can cause virtual machines to become unresponsive.

VM backups should use a proper hypervisor VM backup tool (e.g. VMware VDP — vSphere Data Protection) or similar, and restoration should be tested and verified (preferably after the inbuilt backup methods have been set up, to ensure that you have another way of recovering if your restoration fails).

Consult your hypervisor documentation for more information about taking and restoring backups and snapshots.

Using backup and restore via the Pexip Infinity Administrator interface

You can use Pexip Infinity's inbuilt backup and restore mechanism to backup and restore the configuration data on the Management Node.

You can enable daily automatic backups, and you can also take a manual backup whenever it is appropriate, for example, before and after you make any configuration changes or perform a software upgrade.

  • All backup files are encrypted — the administrator supplies a passphrase and must remember this for any subsequent restoration.
  • Restoration must occur on exactly the same version that the backup was taken from.
  • The data contained in the backup contains all configuration data, including IP addresses, custom themes, certificates and call history.
  • The backup data does not contain licenses, the administrator log, the support log, usage statistics or the operating system password.
  • The system keeps on the host VM only the 5 most recent manually-taken backups and the 5 most recent automatic backups. Older backup files are deleted.

Note that this function can only be used to restore configuration or to replicate the configuration of a previous Management Node onto a new Management Node. It cannot be used to redeploy Conferencing Nodes.

Managing backup files

The system keeps on the host VM only the 5 most recent manually-taken backups and the 5 most recent automatic backups. Older backup files are deleted.

  • To see the backup files that are currently stored on the host VM, go to Utilities > Backup/Restore and look at the list of Existing backup files.
  • If you want to manually download a backup file from the host VM to another machine, go to Utilities > Backup/Restore and select the Download backup option. You can also configure the daily automatic backup to upload each backup file to an external FTP server.

Enabling daily automatic backups

You can enable Pexip Infinity to automatically backup the Management Node configuration data on a daily basis.

When automatic backups are enabled:

  • Each backup is taken at 01:02 UTC every day.
  • Successful backup operations are recorded in the administrator log (with a "Created automatic system backup" message).
  • Automatic backup filenames take the format:

    pexip_auto_backup_<hostname>_<version>_<build>_<date>_<time>.tar.gpg

To enable automatic backups:

  1. Go to Utilities > Automatic backups.
  2. Select the Enable automatic backups checkbox (this is disabled by default).
  3. Enter a Backup passphrase.

    The text entered here is used to encrypt the backup file. You must remember this text as it will be required if you need to subsequently restore the data from the file.

  4. The system always keeps the 5 most recent automatic backups on the host VM. In addition, you can upload each automatic backup file to an external FTP server. To do this, you must specify the Upload URL (supported schemes are FTPS and FTP) and the Username and Password credentials of the FTP server.
  5. Select Save.

Manually creating a backup file

To manually create and download a backup file:

  1. Go to Utilities > Backup/Restore.
  2. In the Create backup section, enter a Passphrase and then enter it again in the Re-enter passphrase field.

    The text entered here is used to encrypt the backup file. You must remember this text as it will be required if you need to subsequently restore the data from the file.

  3. Select Create backup.

    After a few seconds you will see a message: "Successfully created the backup file: <file_name>" where <file_name> takes the format:

    pexip_backup_<hostname>_<version>_<build>_<date>_<time>.tar.gpg

  4. Download the file from the host VM:
    1. From the Existing backup files section at the bottom of the page, select Download backup for the file you have just created.
    2. Follow your browser's prompts to save or download the file to your local file system.
    3. If required, you can delete unwanted backup files from your host VM by selecting Delete backup.

      The system keeps on the host VM only the 5 most recent manually-taken backups and the 5 most recent automatic backups. Older backup files are deleted.

Restoring data to the Management Node

You can restore configuration data to the Management Node. This could be restored to the original Management Node from which the backup was taken, or it could be restored to a newly deployed Management Node (if the original node was lost due to, for example, issues with its VM environment).

Any in-progress calls will not be affected while data is being restored to the Management Node.

To restore configuration data:

  1. If required, deploy a new Management Node (see Pexip Infinity installation overview for links to the appropriate instructions for your hypervisor).
    • Complete the installation wizard as normal.
    • The IP address you enter at this stage is temporary (it can be the same as the previous Management Node).
    • All the configuration data you enter, including the IP address, will be subsequently replaced.
  2. If any new Conferencing Nodes have been deployed since the backup was taken:
    • Power these Conferencing Nodes off and delete them before restoring the Management Node data.
    • These additional Conferencing Nodes will not be recognized by the restored Management Node. You will have to create them again after the restore has completed.
  3. If previously configured Conferencing Nodes have been deleted since the backup was taken:
    • There is no need to do anything at this stage; the restore will complete successfully.
    • Simply delete the Conferencing Nodes from the restored configuration, after the restore has completed.
  4. Restore your previous backup file:

    1. Go to Utilities > Backup/Restore.
    2. In the Restore backup section, enter the Passphrase.

      The text entered here must be identical to the text that was used to create the backup file.

    3. Select Choose File and then choose the backup file that you want to restore.

      The file must be chosen from your local file system (you cannot select a file from the list of Existing backup files).

    4. Select Restore backup.

      You are taken to the Restore backup confirmation page.

      If instead, you see "Failed to restore the system from the backup file" with a "Decryption Error: decryption failed" message, the most likely reason for this is that you have entered an incorrect passphrase.

    5. The confirmation page shows the date that the backup was taken, and the Management Node IP address that will be restored to this system.

      Select Restore backup to confirm the restoration.

  5. If the restore is successful, after a few seconds you will see a "Successfully restored the backup file" message and the Management Node will reboot.

    You will need to wait for the node to return from rebooting before you can access it again.

    If you have restored a file where the IP address of the Management Node in the backup file is different from the node's current address (prior to the restore), you will need to manually enter this IP address into the web browser to access the restored Management Node's web interface login page.

  6. If you have restored your configuration onto a new VM (and were unable to return the licenses from your previous VM), you must contact your Pexip authorized support representative to get your licenses reapplied on your new VM.