As mentioned in my previous post here Microsoft have added the ability to backup additional workloads such as SQL, Exchange, Hyper-V and SharePoint to the cloud. Essentially this version of Microsoft Azure Backup is actually nothing more than a rebranded version of System Center Data Protection Manager with the backup to tape option replaced with the cloud and the ability to integrate with System Center removed. However, where no separate license is required, I believe this now opens the door to many new enterprises and I’m sure it will become a very favourable cloud backup solution.
In this post I will step through the process of configuring a Microsoft Azure Backup Vault, installing Microsoft Azure Backup and registering it with the previously created vault.
Apart from the extra application workloads, the main difference Azure Backup has to the Azure backup agent is the fact that as with DPM, it requires its own server to run on. This server can be configured as:
- Physical or Virtual (on-premise or in the cloud)
- Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, 2012 and 2012 R2.
NOTE: The server must NOT have SCDPM or the SCDPM agent installed, nor should the Microsoft Azure Backup agent be installed and registered with an Azure Backup Vault.
- Processor: Minimum: 1 GHz, dual-core CPU, Recommended: 2.33 GHz, quad-core CPU
- Memory: Minimum: 4GB, Recommended: 8GB
- OS Disk: Minimum: 3GB, Recommended 3GB
- Dedicated Data Storage Disk: Recommended storage pool size is 1.5 times the size of protected data
- Disk space of at least 5% of the data backed-up to the cloud is required by the Microsoft Azure Backup agent for its scratch location. (By default this is on the OS drive but it can be moved to a dedicated disk)
- Microsoft Azure Backup server should have internet connectivity
- Microsoft Azure Backup server must be domain joined
- Microsoft Azure Backup server must have .Net 3.5, .Net 4.0 and .Net 3.5 SP1 features installed
- Microsoft Azure Backup server should have Windows Management Framework 4.0 installed.
Create a Microsoft Azure Backup Vault
Once a base server has been prepared, the next step is to preconfigure the Azure Backup Vault. The Microsoft Azure Backup Serer will be registered with the vault later.
To create an Azure Backup Vault, firstly browse to https://manage.windowsazure.com and sign in to the Azure Portal with your credentials.
Scroll down the left hand menu and click on the Recovery Services tab.
Select Backup Vault > Quick Create before giving the backup vault a Name and Region and clicking the check to create the Backup Vault. The Region will be the location in which the data is stored, choosing the correct location can help reduce network latency when backup up data to Azure.
- Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS) maintains six copies of your date. Three times within the primary region and three times in a secondary region. In the event of a failure at the primary region, by sporting data in GRS, Azure Backup ensures that your data is durable. (One thing to note here is that the data in the secondary region can only be accessed by Microsoft during a failure to their systems)
- Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) maintains three copies of your data. The data is replicated three times within a single facility in a single region. This would protect your data from normal hardware failures, but not form failure of an entire Azure facility.
By default a Backup Vault is configured with Geo-Redundant Storage, to change this click on CONFIGURE before changing the replication option and clicking SAVE to complete the change.
Installing Microsoft Azure Backup Server
Before we can begin the install of Microsoft Azure Backup server we need to first download the installation software for Azure Backup and also the Backup Vault credentials which are needed for registering the server with the Backup Vault. Both downloads can be found on the Quick Start tab of the Backup Vault.
Microsoft Azure Backup can also be downloaded directly from here
Microsoft Azure Backup comes split up into six separate files, five .bin files and single .exe. Download them all to the same location and then run MicrosoftAzureBackupInstaller.exe, this will begin the setup wizard.
On the first screen click Next to continue.
As long as all prerequisites mentioned at the beginning of the post are installed, the only warning message that should be displayed is to warn the SISFilter has been installed and the server requires a reboot.
Reboot the server and then restart the installer.
NOTE: As mentioned in the prerequisites, the scratch location must have free space of at least 5% of the data backed up to the cloud.
After the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent has been installed, the next step is to register this server with the Microsoft Azure Backup Vault that was configured at the beginning of this process. To do this browse to the credentials file downloaded from the Backup Vault, then click Next.
Enter a passphrase or click the Generate Passphrase button to automatically generate a passphrase. The passphrase requires the minimum of 16 characters. The passphrase should also be saved somewhere safe, if lost it will not be possible to recover data from the cloud or connect other Microsoft Backup Servers to the online replicas.
Click Next to continue.
At this point in the setup process, Microsoft Azure Backup has been installed and associated with the cloud storage in the selected Microsoft Azure Backup Vault. However, before its possible to configure the first protection group and begin backing up data, local storage needs to be added. To do this, double click on the Microsoft Azure Backup icon on the server desktop to open the application.
That’s it for this post, in future articles I plan to cover more Azure Backup processes so don’t forget to check back!