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Configuring Microsoft Azure Online Backup on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

[This post comes to us courtesy of Mandeep Singh Parmar and Rituraj Choudhary from Global Business Support]

Microsoft Azure Backup is a cloud-based backup solution that enables online backup and restore of important data to help protect against loss and corruption. This feature can be comfortably integrated to the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard.

Here are some significant features of Microsoft Azure Backup:

  • Simplified setup and configuration via Windows Server Essentials Dashboard
  • Incremental backup
  • Data compression and encryption
  • Retention policies
  • Bandwidth throttling

Get started by installing add-in for Microsoft Azure Backup

1. Open the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard. Navigate to HOME tab and then click ADD-INS under the Get Started sub-tab.


2. Select Integrate with Windows Azure Backup, and then click the following links to sign up and download the Online Backup Module respectively:

3. Install the Online Backup integration module by running OnlineBackupAddin.wssx. Follow the wizard to complete the installation. After the installation wizard successfully completes, reopen the Dashboard.

4. A new tab named ONLINE BACKUP appears on the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard containing the common online backup/restore administrative tasks. It consists of the following sub-tabs:

  • Online Backup: After you register the server for online backup, this section displays the current backup status, storage status, and account information.
  • Protected Folders: Here you will find the list of all shared folders and File History folders on the server, and any other folders that you have selected to backup in Windows Azure.
  • Backup History: This section would list recent backup and restore operations.


Configuring the Server for Microsoft Azure backup

To use Microsoft Azure Backup, you must sign up for a Microsoft Azure Account and then:

  • Create a Backup Vault
  • Upload a certificate
  • Register your server
  • Configure backup settings

Creating a Backup vault

1. Login to Microsoft Azure Management Portal.

2. Click Recovery Services and then Click Create A New Vault.


3. Click Backup Vault, Click Quick Create, Name your vault and select your Region and then Click Create Vault.


4. Once the Vault is created Recovery Services would show the status as Active for the Backup Vault.


Uploading certificate to the vault

1. Navigate to the ONLINE BACKUP tab on the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard.

2. Copy the path specified to the clipboard by clicking the highlighted icon in Step 1: Upload a Certificate.


3. Click Upload certificate to Windows Azure Backup vault. This would open Microsoft Azure Management Portal. Navigate to RECOVERY SERVICES and then click MANAGE CERTIFICATE.


4. Paste the certificate file path copied above in bullet 2 and upload it to the vault

5. Once the certificate is uploaded you would see the following at the bottom of the webpage.


Registering your server

1. Navigate to the ONLINE BACKUP tab on the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard.

2. In the Online Backup page, click Register under Register your server section.

3. Choose the certificate that you want to use with the backup vault for your online backups. You may go with the default selection or choose a different one.


4. On the subsequent screen you need to enter a passphrase (keep this passphrase safe!). You will then get a notification that the server is registered. You may now close the wizard.


Configuring the backup

1. To configure online backups, on the ONLINE BACKUP tab of the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard, click Configure under Configure backup settings.

2. On the Configure Online Backup wizard, select the folders you want to back up to Microsoft Azure. To include folders that are not shown in the list, click Add Folders. When you finish your selection, click Next.


3. Follow through the wizard to add File History backups, the schedule of the backup, backup retention policy and bandwidth consumption by the online backup.

This completes the configuration and you are ready to use Microsoft Azure backup.

As the backups are taken, you would start seeing the same in the Backup History page of the ONLINE BACKUP tab on the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard. You can see these backups on the Azure portal as well.

We will seed a separate post to explore the Restore options for Microsoft Azure Backup on Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. Stay tuned!

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