Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Journey to Cloud - Scenario IV - Windows Azure for Backup

In the past 3 posts, we covered the three major scenarios and solutions where Windows Azure can be used. One of the most frequently asked features in Azure is how cloud can be leveraged for Backup scenarios.

Scenario IV:
Recently we had a customer who had SharePoint running on Hyper-V on premise and they were using Symantec NBU to back up the environment as per their policy (full back up every week, incremental backup every day). The customer was looking out for Backup options and reached out to us if we have something form Azure that could take care of his requirements. They want a backup strategy for  SharePoint in Azure Virtual machines where in it can be stored on Azure VMs only.


With Windows Azure, there are several options one can choose from - for Backup. When we say Backup, what we want to back up is the first question. Hence, depending on what we want to backup, we have different solutions in Azure that will be the best fit.

1. Back up of Files and Appplications:

This includes item level backup and restore of Azure Virtual machines - Windows server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012 and backup of applications like SQL Server 2012. The best way to do this is to use Windows Azure Backup services.To backup files and data from your Windows Server to Windows Azure, you must create a backup vault in the geographic region where you want to store the data.

As of the time of publishing this article, the service is in Preview. Hence, we need to first sign up for the service.  Windows Azure Backup needs System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) to copy SQL backups to Azure.

Once signed up, the service can be accessed from Storage services-> Recovery services -> Backup vault-> Quick create

A complete step by step tutorial on how Backup Vault can be leveraged for Backup solutions can be found here.

2. Back up of Virtual Machines:
The second scenario is when you will need to take a complete backup of your virtual machines as such and restore them later. This can be either from on-premises to Azure VM or from one Azure VM to another Azure VM.

For backup of VMs on Azure, we can use blobs to take a snapshot of the backup and restore it using PowerShell scripts. These links give the steps and scripts for doing this:

Hope this gives a good idea on how Azure can be leveraged for Backup and DR solutions. 

No comments: