Most of us always have big concern about the backup of Data on Azure especially VM Backups. Now with Azure IaaS we realized that VM becomes backbone of entire our application structure. Hence it is important to have a good proven backup and disaster recovery strategy for such IaaS components.
Before Azure Backup came into picture, we use to store VHDs in Blobs and we use to write automation jobs / scripts to automate this process. This was not so simple for all users especially for Developers and IT Professionals and Other Users who don’t have PowerShell knowledge. Most of the people who recently adopted Azure for evaluation, it was difficult for them as well and a matter of concern when it comes to VM backup. In enterprises, we see many scenarios of chaos when VM gets crash and we don’t have backups.
Let’s see the new Azure Backup option (Also known as “Backup Vault”) which makes entire VM Backup operation very easy for users. You can do this without having any prior PowerShell knowledge. Currently we have 1 Windows and 1 Linux VM in our Subscription as shown below, Azure Backup can be used for both Windows and Linux VMs
Now let’s create a Backup Vault for VM Backup, You can go to +New option as the bottom and then choose Data Services >> Recovery Services >> Backup Vault
Once you create Backup Vault, you can check details of the same under “Recovery Services” as shown below
Now once you go to dashboard, you will see 2 options. First is to manage your On-premise workload and Second for Managing backups of Azure VMs which you have created (Either from Gallery or via PowerShell) in your subscription. Currently in this post we are only focusing on taking backups of Azure VM. So now all you need is 3 steps agenda 1. Discover and Register 2. Protect and 3. Run Job then you are done ! Let’s see each one by one in detail now.
First you need to click on “Discover” after setting filters as “Azure Virtual Machine”, This will trigger a discovery job on your subscription and you can see list of your VMs in current subscription. Upon discovery, you need to register your VMs in the vault.
Once you register your VM, then you need to click on “Protect” and again select VMs you want to protect. This will now install an agent/extension on your VM in order to communicate with VM for backup during the backup jobs/schedule.
Once you select VMs for Protection, you need to set the Policy as well which is primarily a scheduler for backup of your VMs on Weekly or Daily basis as shown below
As we discussed earlier, you need to immediately take an initial backup by clicking on “Backup Now” option once you set the policy from the taskbar below on the Azure Portal. Once initial backup is done, then you will find the periodic backup of your VMs taken as per the Weekly/Daily Policy you defined. This you can view in the Jobs menu as shown below.
Note that this backup is the complete VM backup of your VM. If you want to test or wondering what about the Data on VM. I will suggest you to keep some doc or txt file and take the backup, Destroy VM and restore it from this Backup Vault, You will see the content will be as-is and the data remains as-is. This entire backup operation works smoothly due to the extension it installs on your VM once you protect it. If you see the entire process, by default it creates a storage for you to store your VHDs of VMs. So you don’t have to create new one (Currently there is no provision at least from the portal to map to an existing storage), however you can always set to LRS or GRS before you protect your VMs. Once you protect your VMs, you cannot change LRS or GRS options. So you need to take care about this based on your requirement. Currently I have kept it GRS.
Now you maybe wondering about the restore part. Well if you delete VM or it got deleted somehow and if you wish to recover, all you need to do is come to Vault and select Protected Item menu, click on the VM name, It will then restore the most recent backup and build VM for you. You can un-register your VMs if you don’t want to use Backup Vault for Backup. So you always have option to quit the vault with your VM by unprotecting and unregistering it.
Hope this simple option provided by Microsoft Azure will be helpful for you to get quick scheduled backups of your Azure VMs.