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I’m excited to announce general availability of IaaS VM backup in Azure using Azure Backup service.

With this GA, users can now provide reliable and secure enterprise-level data protection for Azure IaaS virtual machines. This announcement adds an exciting set of new features to the preview of IaaS VM backup released back in March.

We saw a great response to the preview, and customers put the functionality through an incredibly wide variety of scenarios. As a result, we were able to gather a huge amount of feedback that was incorporated back into what is now a high-quality GA.

Azure backup guarantees backups that are app consistent for Windows and File-system consistent for Linux – all without the need to shut down the VM using a policy-driven backup management experience.

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Figure1: Azure backup support for backup of IaaS virtual machines

Backup management operations can be scripted using PowerShell cmdlets released for IaaS VM backup. All operations, carried out either through Azure management portal or PowerShell can be audited using the operation logs through management services extension.

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Figure2: Operation logs for backup operations in management services extension

Configuring backup can be at done at scale and is made simple by an in-built default policy which comes with backup vault creation. We spent a significant amount of time and energy improving the agentless backup management experience and this makes registering the VM’s to the backup vault seamless.

Azure backup has also enhanced the supported retention range from 30 days in preview to 99 years. These retention ranges follow industry standard GFS based retention policies allowing the flexibility to choose the specific recovery points you want to retain for the long-term.

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Figure3: Long-term retention policy to retain backups for 10 years

VM’s can be restored to a choice of storage account using the simple restore process. PowerShell provides the flexibility of simply restoring backup disks to a storage account, and a VM with custom configuration can be created from backup disks using the familiar VM creation cmdlets.

All of the backup management operations are accessible in the “Jobs” tab, and backup jobs provide additional information about data transferred during the backup operation. Custom notifications can be created on top of these jobs to e-mail administrators and co-administrators about job status changes using PowerShell cmdlets defined on these events.

Summary reports are also generated for backup and restore operations and storage consumed in Azure on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and these can be downloaded to Excel. Detailed job information can be accessed using the “Export Jobs” functionality.

Simply put: Azure backup provides the native backup capability for Azure IaaS VM’s using a reliable, enterprise grade service. Azure backup is present in all the public regions of Azure.

Setting up Azure backup requires just 3 extremely easy steps:

  • Discover the VM’s you want backup.
  • Register the discovered VM’s to backup vault.
  •  Configure protection on the registered VM’s.

To learn more about Azure backup, visit the VM backup documentation. If you have in-depth questions or want to learn more, visit the Azure Backup forum. In that forum you can also share your ideas about other features you’d like to see added to the backup/restore of Azure IaaS VMs.