Step-By-Step: Enabling Azure Backup To Protect Your Data


It has bee said that data is the new currency.  In light of this it is important to ensure organizations have seamless access to its data. Proper backup planning will ensure seamless access to in the case of a disaster. While many solutions are available (tape, off premise, etc), Azure Backup provides a solution enabling backups to securely be stored in the cloud.

So why is Azure Backup different from other solutions?

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There are many advantages for an organization to utilize Azure Backup.  Some said advantages include:

  • Zero Capital investment – Additional storages, spaces in remote data centers, software licenses, support contracts etc. are not required.
  • Minimum maintenance cost – Azure Backup can scale easily and doesn’t require additional planning to address an expanding backup infrastructure as well.
  • Protect Data from anywhere – Azure backup protects data in multiple datacenters worldwide and encrypts all data before it leaves your infrastructure.
  • Offline Seeding – Azure backup creates an initial backup locally and then uploads said to the nearest azure datacenter
  • Advanced Workload Protection– Azure backup has the ability to integrate with System Center Data Protection Manager protecting enterprise workloads such as SharePoint, Exchange, SQL servers, Hyper-V VM. The solution also offers granular restore capability such as mailbox recovery for Exchange, DB level recovery for SQL, and ILR for SharePoint.

Configuring Azure Backup is quite easy.  The following are the steps to enable it:

Step 1: Creating an Azure Backup Vault

1.    Log in to the Azure Portal
2.    Click on +New and then in search type backup and press enter

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3.    From the list click on Azure Backup

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4.    Then it will open the feature page. It will give you brief description about azure backup feature. Click on “create

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5.    Then it will open up the azure management portal and give you option to create the backup vault. Type the name for the vault and also select the region you need. Then click create vault

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NOTE: You now need to download azure vault credential file once the vault has been created. The On-premise backup agent needs to register with the backup vault in order to backup data. The Azure vault credential file is a certificate generated by the portal for each backup vault. Next the public key of the file will upload to the access control service. This file will be used during the initial agent registration process. The credential file only valid for 48 hours and requires to be downloaded again from the portal should the need to register another machine be required.

6.     Click Backup Vault > DASHBOARD > Download vault credentials to download the certificate file.

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7.    Download the backup agents by selecting Agent for Windows Server or System Center Data Protection Manager or Windows Client

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Step 2: Backing up On-Premises Data

With the backup vault now created, the next step is to start the agent install and register process.

1.    Log in to the on-premises server or pc you like to backup as administrator
2.    Download the agent and latest vault credential file as explain on previous
3.    This demo details use of on-premises DC server running Windows Server 2016 TP4. Double click on MARSAgentInstaller.exe to start the agent install
4.    In first window select the folder path for installation and cache. Change the paths if required.

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5.    In next window you can define proxy settings if you behind proxy server. Click next to continue

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6.    In next window it ask to allow windows update to update agent if any update available. Click on next to continue after selection

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7.    In next window click on install to start the agent installation

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8.    After install, need to start the registration, click on Proceed to registration

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9.    In next window it ask to brows for the vault credential file which is downloaded from the portal. Click next to proceed

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10.    In next screen you can define a passphrase to encrypt and decrypt backup data. You must save this information as, if you do not have this info you will not be able to use backup data in recovery process. Then click on finish to complete the register process.

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11.    Once it’s done we can start to setup backup jobs by launching agent.

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Step 3: Setting up the Azure Backup Job configuration

1.    Double click on Microsoft Azure Backup icon in on-premises server to configure backup job

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2.    Once the console opens, you can start to configure schedule backup using Scheduled Backup

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3.    Click next to continue once the console starts

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4.     In next windows you can select the data you need to backup, then click next to proceed

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5.    Click next to start the schedule definition for the backup

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6.    In next window we can define the data retention policy. Data can be kept up to 99 years. Once done click on next to proceed

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7.    Next step is to define the initial backup settings. You can either do it via internet or offline seeding.

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8.    Next it will give the confirmation about backup and click on finish to exit

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With setup now completed, check azure backup portal to see the registration status by selecting REGISTERED ITEMS. Now  you can view the new server we added and its status.

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Under PROTECTED ITEMS  you can view the status of the protection, how many recovery points etc.

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Step 4: Recovering an Item

Let’s now test file recovery.

1.    Launch the azure backup console in local computer and click on Recover Data Option
2.   In wizard provided, select where the backup was generated. This demo will highlight steps to restore to same server.

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3.    Click next to proceed within the Select Recovery Mode

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4    Next we need to select the volume, date, time to recover from

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5.    Then in next window select the file or folder to recover

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6.    Next we can define if its need to restore to original or alternative location. Also what to do if the item with same name exist in the location.

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7.    Then click on recover to get the file

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8.    As you can see its recovered the file successfully

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