Azure VM Backup – Yes we can!

I guess it was just a matter of time for me to write my first “Azure” post since I’ve joined Microsoft. As I am starting to dig my way through the platform and exploring BC/DR related areas, I am very happy with how easy it is to perform Azure VM backup and restore with no 3rd parties what so ever.

A bit of background…

So you have an Azure VM up and running, that’s nice but just the fact it’s in the cloud doesn’t mean you have a backup for it. The nice thing about Azure VM backup and restore is that it does not require any agent installation (unlike on-prem to Azure backup). Moreover, it’s a very “easy going” process for both the backup and the restore and the initial configurations are very straight forward – isn’t that what you would have expected?!

Prerequisites

  1. Azure subscription – dah!¬† ūüėõ¬†
  2. Create a backup vault – we will get to do that in just a sec…

Currently, most of this step by step guide will leverage the Classic Azure portal¬†since the “Backup & Restore” functionalities are yet to exist in the new Preview portal.

Creating a Backup Vault

In the preview portal, go to the Marketplace, click “new” and search for “backup”. Hitting the “Create” button will redirect you to the classic portal.

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Give your Vault a name and hit “Create”. It will take a few seconds and¬†you’re¬†done.

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Configure Backup Policy

The first nice thing you will notice is the “Quick Start” screen which will point you in a very¬†intuitive¬†manner to the next steps,¬†depending¬†on what you are trying to¬†achieve.

As this post is about backup and restore Azure VMs, I will go and start with discovering and registering my virtual machines into the vault.

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Select the VMs you want to register. This doesn’t mean that those VMs will be under the same backup policy (which we will configure in a few steps), this only register them and make them¬†available for later configurations.

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Just to keep things simple, let’s include both VMs for protection and as members under the same policy. Hit the “Protect” button and select your VMs.

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Give your policy a name, select the backup frequency and configure the retention. This can be changed later on, no worries.

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On the bottom of the portal you see the status of operations.

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At the Dashboard tab you can see a clean usage overview.

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Run a VM Backup

Although we have it already¬†scheduled¬†as part of our policy, let’s “test drive” the backup. In the “Protected Items” tab, select a VM and hit the “Backup Now” button.

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In the “Jobs” tab you can see that a backup is being performed.

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In my case, the initial backup took 15 minutes to complete.

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Since my scheduled daily backup started at the same time my initiated backup was in progress, I have a failed backup operation on my list as well which gives me a nice and intuitive description.

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Run a VM Restore

Once we have our first backup recover point for the VM, let’s test the recovery. Select your VM from the “Protected Items” tab and hit the Restore button.

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Since I only have one recovery point, I will go ahead and select it.

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One thing you should know before moving on is that when the first backup is performed, a new storage account is automatically created in Azure.

The name for this account is unique and for some reason it was given the same name as my first VM – kinda’ funky.

At this point, you can restore your VM as a new virtual machine AKA “Cloud Service” (like in the screenshot) or replace the original VM – your¬†choice depending on what you are trying to¬†achieve.

Map the VNet and the subnet and continue.

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A restore process will start which took 18 minutes in my case.

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After the restore has finished, the VM will be powered on and will be available for management and day-2 operations.

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Some thoughts…

This is working – simple as that. The fact that you have a built-in IaaS service such as backup and restore is great and the ease of operations makes it very easy to digest.

Enjoy!¬† ūüôā

 

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