When Microsoft first released Azure Infrastructure as a Service, it came without a backup feature for virtual machines. Over the past few years, it has added that capability, as well as expanded cloud-based backup and recovery services to cater to a wider range of infrastructure scenarios.
If you need to back up only Azure IaaS Windows or Linux VMs, then Azure Backup (a VM extension) can be accessed in the Azure management portal. A Recovery Services vault is required to back up IaaS VMs, and Azure will prompt you with an option for provisioning a new vault (or using an existing one) every time you configure a VM backup.
Azure Backup can be configured from the Recovery Services vault panel, or from a VM panel in the Azure management portal. If you want to back up multiple VMs, it’s quicker to use the Recovery Services vault panel — as long as a vault already exists.
Using Azure for VM backup isn’t too difficult. The following steps walk you through the process.
Step 1: Enable the Backup Process
You can can back up multiple VMs to a vault, but each time you want to establish a backup vault, you must do so from scratch. Azure won’t automatically create or duplicate them.
- Log in to the Azure management portal.
- In the options on the left of the portal, click “Virtual machines.”
- On the Virtual machines panel, click the VM you want to back up.
- On the VM panel, click “Backup” under “Settings.”
- On the “Enable backup” panel, check the “Create new” box under “Recovery Services vault,” and enter a name for the new vault.
Step 2: Set Your Backup Schedule
The default policy schedules a backup daily at 10:30 p.m., and sets the retention at 30 days. Users can create a customized policy or modify the default policy.
- Click “Enable backup” at the bottom of the panel. Wait a couple of minutes while Azure provisions the new vault. When it’s ready for use, a notification will appear in the Notification Center.
- If you want to start the initial backup immediately, click “Backup” under “Settings” on the VM panel, and then click “Backup now.”
- To customize a policy, go to the Actions panel and click “Schedule backup.” This will launch the Schedule Backup Wizard and let you identify the items to back up, which vault to back them up to, when to back them up and how long to keep them in the vault.
Step 3: Add VMs to the New Vault
Once a vault exists, you can add more VMs to it.
- Click the hamburger icon at the top left of the portal.
- Click “More services” at the bottom of the list, and type “recovery” in the search field. Select “Recovery Services vaults” from the results.
- On the Recovery Services vaults panel, click the vault that you created in previous steps.
- On that vault’s panel, click “Backup” under “Getting started” to add VMs located in the same region as the vault.
For more on Azure Backup, visit, "How Does Microsoft Azure Backup Actually Work?"