Cisco Configuration Backups and Archiving

By Edward Tetz

Current Cisco IOS versions allow you a few new commands to manage your configuration backups and archiving. Backup and archiving give you an easier recovery process for configuration errors. Remember, a good configuration management process (such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) configuration) helps, but backup and archiving are tools to help you as well.

If you have archived a configuration, you can replace the current running configuration with an archived copy manually or automatically. The manual process makes use of the configure replace command issued in Privileged EXEC mode. This command replaces the running configuration with the contents of the file. If you use the command copy <filename> running-config, you actually merge the two files.

To enable the archiving feature, which is strongly recommended by Cisco for all supported devices, you need only issue five easy commands. The following command set saves the archives to the specified path, automatically creates a new archive every 1,440 minutes (once a day), saves the last 14 files, and takes an extra archive when you issue the write memory command:

Router1#configure terminal
Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
Router1(config-archive)# path flash:archived-config
Router1(config-archive)# maximum 14
Router1(config-archive)# time-period 1440
Router1(config-archive)# write-memory

If you are low on space on your devices, you may want to reduce the number of archives you save on your device.

After the archiving system is configured, you can force an archive to be generated with archive config command and see the list of archives using the show archive command. Both of these commands are executed in Privileged EXEC mode. Here is what the commands looks like:

Router1#archive config
Router1#show archive
There are currently 5 archive configurations saved.
The next archive file will be named flash:archived-config-5
 Archive #  Name
   1       flash:archived-config-1
   2       flash:archived-config-2
   3       flash:archived-config-3
   4       flash:archived-config-4 <- Most Recent