Cisco DCNM – How to schedule switch backups and more (Part 1)

Every system admin out there knows how essential it is to backup your system on regular basis, SAN fabrics are no exception. You need to backup your SAN switch configuration on regular basis (i do it daily) to be able to use recover from hardware failures or from human errors. Traditional approach to setting up switch backups is to setup an external TFTP/SFTP/FTP server, write a script that would execture backup commands and then user crontab/task manager to execute these commands. Also on Cisco MDS you could take advantage of internal scheduler to accomplish the same tasks. In all of these scenarios you are required to use a 3rd party TFTP/SFTP/FTP server. Not anymore, starting with Cisco DCNM 6.2.x TFTP server comes built-in in the software. All you have to do is specify what server type you will use (TFTP versus SFTP, although for SFTP you still have to use 3rd party server) and use built-in scheduler to backup all switches in the fabric. Here are the steps:

  • Login to DCNM Web client,  typically it’s the server name where you installed DCNM. Simply type the address in your browser and login to the server. Landing page will look something like this:


  • Next step is to configure server type, select pull down menu next to Admin and press SFTP/TFTP Credentials


  • Highlight fabric/switches, select TFTP and press Verify and Apply


  • Next step is to schedule automatic job that will backup running configuration to internal TFTP server. Select Config and then Jobs.


  • Next step is very important, you must select SAN fabric otherwise you will not be able to schedule a backup.


  • Now that Fabric is selected, click on the green plus sign on the right and configure date and time for the job to run.


  • That’s it, backup job has been scheduled.  Now let’s verify that it completed successfully. Select Admin and then View


  • Select Groups > Eligible Switches and you should see backups for that particular switch. Select backup file and hit View to see file content.  One thing to note that these backup files are stored inside of DCNM database, they are not flat files that you can find on the file system. In later posts we will go through the steps of how to modify and create custom configuration files.


  • That is it.