Azure

Azure Backups

One of the most common use cases for Azure is the Backup facility.  The Azure Backup service enables multiple resources to be backed up and stored in the Azure cloud.  There are multiple benefits of this including:

  • Security – Data is encrypted and stored within Microsoft’s secure data centers.
  • Ease of use – As you will see it is extremely easy to start backing your data up
  • Cost – In an on-premise backup solution specialised backup hardware and software would normally have to be purchase potentially costing tens of thousands of pounds, with Azure Backup it’s just a couple of clicks and low monthly spend and your off

There are multiple different types of backup services provided by Azure, these consist of:

  • Azure Backup Agent
  • System Center DPM
  • Azure Backup Server
  • Azure IaaS VM Backup

If you want to see the different options in more detail then head over to https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/backup/backup-introduction-to-azure-backup

For this post we are going to concentrate on the Azure Backup Agent and I will cover Azure Backup Server in a separate post. 

The Azure Backup Agent gives us the ability to backup Files and Folders on a Windows Server or client by configuring a Recovery Services vault in the Azure Portal and then installing an agent onto the client.  We will go through this in further detail below.  For retention it works on what is called a recovery point.  By default we get 9999 recovery points per instance.  Your retention period is determined by the number of backups we schedule. So for example if we schedule 1 backup per day, we can retain 27 years worth of backups. If we schedule 1 backup per month, we can retain the data for 833 years.

So how much does this cost??  For Current pricing visit the URL – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/pricing/details/backup/

At the time of writing if your instance (VM) or data being backed up was up to or less than 50GB the cost is £3.27 per month + storage consumed.  If it is between 50GB and 500GB it is £7.454 + storage consumed, and if its up to 500GB it is £7.454 for each 500GB increment + storage consumed.

So let’s now go and configure a simple backup for an on-premise server. First step is to head over to the Portal and create a Recovery Vault:

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Select the option to create a new one and enter all the details as required

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After a short period of time our Recovery Services Vault should be created

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Now that we have created our Recovery Services Vault we need to prepare the environment to be backed up. If you select the Getting Started menu, Select Backup you will see the options of what you want to back up and where it is hosted.  For this example we are selecting an on-premise Files and Folders.  Once you have selected the options you will be given the option to download a Recovery Services Agent and vault credentials.  Download these and install them onto the on-premise server you want to be backed up

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Whilst installing the agent you will be asked to specify the Vault Credentials file we downloaded earlier.

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You will also be asked to provide a passphrase which is used to decrypt and encrypt backups on the server.  This needs to be a minimum of 16 characters but there is a Generate Passphrase button which I used.  You can also enter a location to save it to, so make sure you store it somewhere secure (not on the server please!)

Once you have provided all this information you can then go and schedule all the different options of what data to back up and what interval,what time etc.  This is pretty much the same as a standard windows backup config. Once we have configured all the settings we can check the settings and start a backup job

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If we go into the Azure Portal we can see that the backup job has registered successfully and took 20 minutes to backup 852MB of data.

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I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions please leave a comment below

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