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Windows Azure Online Backup and Windows Server 2012 Essentials

Hi my name is Yang Cao, program manager on the Windows Server 2012 Essentials team. If you have been following the news on Windows Server 2012, you must have heard about Windows Azure Online Backup. Today I’m happy to announce that we released the Windows Azure Online Backup Integration Module for Windows Server 2012 Essentials!

This module allows you to more easily configure and manage Windows Azure Online Backup from within the familiar Windows Server 2012 Essentials Dashboard to provide a seamless backup and restore experience. The integration module complements your traditional local server backup (where the data is backed up to an on-premises external drive) by using the Windows Azure service to protect critical data on the server in the cloud.

What is Windows Azure Online Backup?

Windows Azure Online Backup is a cloud-based backup solution that enables server data to be backed up to and recovered from an off-premises datacenter (the cloud) to help protect against data loss and corruption. To reduce storage and bandwidth utilization, Windows Azure Online Backup performs block-level incremental backup. To increase security, the data is compressed and encrypted before leaving the server. To learn more about the specific features of Windows Azure Online Backup, see the Windows Azure Online Backup blog post.

Let’s get started

To get started with Windows Azure Online Backup and Windows Server 2012 Essentials:

  1. On the Windows Server 2012 Essentials Dashboard, navigate to the HOME page, and then select the ADD-INS category.
  2. In the ADD-INS category, select Integrate with Windows Azure Online Backup from the task pane. Read the description, and then click the Integrate with Windows Azure Online Backup task to launch the Windows Azure Online Backup subscription page.
    You need to manually add and to the Trusted sites of Internet Explorer.
  3. You can easily get started with a free preview of the Windows Azure Online Backup Service account, which comes with 300 GB of cloud storage.
  4. Sign in to the Windows Azure Online Backup portal and download the integration module for Windows Server 2012 Essentials to your Essentials server.
  5. Double-click the installer file to install the software on the server. Make sure your Internet connection is available when installing the software.
  6. Follow the wizard to install the add-in. After the installation wizard successfully finishes, restart the Dashboard.

Start a backup now

After the integration module is installed, a new navigation page is added to the Dashboard. If this is the first time that you have installed Windows Azure Online Backup on your server, you will see a UI similar to this.


To register your server, click Register under Step 1 to start the Register Your Server Wizard. To register the server, in addition to your Windows Azure Online Backup account and password, you also need to provide a pass phrase for encrypting the data.

After registration is complete, click Configure under Step 2 to start the Configure Online Backup Wizard, in which you choose which folder to back up online. We recommend that you back up server folders that contain critical data, as well as file history from critical client computers. Next, specify the backup schedule, retention policy, and bandwidth usage. After these simple steps, your configuration is complete.

After you complete these steps, the landing page should look like the following screenshot.


Can’t wait to start a backup? Let’s do it! In the task pane, click Start backup now. The backup will start in the background, and you can switch to the Backup History tab to view backup progress and status.

Time to restore

After your first online backup completes, you can rest assured that the critical data is backed up in the cloud. According to the schedule that you configured, automatic online backups will be performed to incrementally back up every change you make to your critical data.

If your local data is ever lost or corrupted, you can select the Restore files and folders task to get the data back from the cloud. Follow the steps in the Restore Files and Folders Wizard to select the desired backup and locate the files or folders you need to restore, and then with a few clicks, your data is restored to the local server.

That’s it!

There are a few other features I’ll leave you to explore on your own. I hope you enjoy Windows Azure Online Backup and the integration experience with Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Your feedback is extremely valuable to us and we’d love to hear from you! Please share any issues or suggestions on the forum.

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