Manage Azure VM backups with Azure Backup service

This article describes how to manage Azure virtual machines (VMs) that are backed up by using the Azure Backup service. The article also summarizes the backup information you can find on the vault dashboard.

In the Azure portal, the Recovery Services vault dashboard provides access to vault information, including:

  • The latest backup, which is also the latest restore point.
  • The backup policy.
  • The total size of all backup snapshots.
  • The number of VMs that are enabled for backups.

You can manage backups by using the dashboard and by drilling down to individual VMs. To begin machine backups, open the vault on the dashboard.

Full dashboard view with slider

View VMs on the dashboard

To view VMs on the vault dashboard:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. On the Hub menu, select Browse. In the list of resources, type Recovery Services. As you type, the list is filtered based on your input. Select Recovery Services vaults.

    Create a Recovery Services vault

  3. For ease of use, right-click the vault and select Pin to dashboard.

  4. Open the vault dashboard.

    Open the vault dashboard and Settings blade

  5. On the Backup Items tile, select Azure Virtual Machines.

    Open the Backup Items tile

  6. On the Backup Items blade, you can view the list of protected VMs. In this example, the vault protects one virtual machine: demobackup.

    View the Backup Items blade

  7. From the vault item's dashboard, modify backup policies, run an on-demand backup, stop or resume protection of VMs, delete backup data, view restore points, and run a restore.

    The Backup Items dashboard and the Settings blade

Manage backup policy for a VM

To manage a backup policy:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal. Open the vault dashboard.

  2. On the Backup Items tile, select Azure Virtual Machines.

    Open the Backup Items tile

  3. On the Backup Items blade, you can view the list of protected VMs and last backup status with latest restore points time.

    View the Backup Items blade

  4. From the vault item's dashboard, you can select a backup policy.

    • To switch policies, select a different policy and then select Save. The new policy is immediately applied to the vault.

      Choose a backup policy

Run an on-demand backup

You can run an on-demand backup of a VM after you set up its protection. Keep these details in mind:

  • If the initial backup is pending, on-demand backup creates a full copy of the VM in the Recovery Services vault.
  • If the initial backup is complete, an on-demand backup will only send changes from the previous snapshot to the Recovery Services vault. That is, later backups are always incremental.
  • The retention range for an on-demand backup is the retention value that you specify when you trigger the backup.

To trigger an on-demand backup:

  1. On the vault item dashboard, under Protected Item, select Backup Item.

    The Backup now option

  2. From Backup Management Type, select Azure Virtual Machine. The Backup Item (Azure Virtual Machine) blade appears.

  3. Select a VM and select Backup Now to create an on-demand backup. The Backup Now blade appears.

  4. In the Retain Backup Till field, specify a date for the backup to be retained.

    The Backup Now calendar

  5. Select OK to run the backup job.

To track the job's progress, on the vault dashboard, select the Backup Jobs tile.

Stop protecting a VM

There are two ways to stop protecting a VM:

  • Stop protection and retain backup data. This option will stop all future backup jobs from protecting your VM; however, Azure Backup service will retain the recovery points that have been backed up. You'll need to pay to keep the recovery points in the vault (see Azure Backup pricing for details). You'll be able to restore the VM if needed. If you decide to resume VM protection, then you can use Resume backup option.
  • Stop protection and delete backup data. This option will stop all future backup jobs from protecting your VM and delete all the recovery points. You won't be able to restore the VM nor use Resume backup option.

Note

If you delete a data source without stopping backups, new backups will fail. Old recovery points will expire according to the policy, but one last recovery point will always be kept until you stop the backups and delete the data.

Stop protection and retain backup data

To stop protection and retain data of a VM:

  1. On the vault item's dashboard, select Stop backup.

  2. Choose Retain Backup Data, and confirm your selection as needed. Add a comment if you want. If you aren't sure of the item's name, hover over the exclamation mark to view the name.

    Retain Backup data

A notification lets you know that the backup jobs have been stopped.

Stop protection and delete backup data

To stop protection and delete data of a VM:

  1. On the vault item's dashboard, select Stop backup.

  2. Choose Delete Backup Data, and confirm your selection as needed. Enter the name of the backup item and add a comment if you want.

    Delete backup data

Resume protection of a VM

If you had chosen Stop protection and retain backup data option during stop VM protection, then you can use Resume backup. This option is not available if you choose Stop protection and delete backup data option or Delete backup data.

To resume protection for a VM:

  1. On the vault item's dashboard, select Resume backup.

  2. Follow the steps in Manage backup policies to assign the policy for the VM. You don't need to choose the VM's initial protection policy.

  3. After you apply the backup policy to the VM, you see the following message:

    Message indicating a successfully protected VM

Delete backup data

There are two ways to delete a VM's backup data:

  • From the vault item dashboard, select Stop backup and follow the instructions for Stop protection and delete backup data option.

    Select Stop backup

  • From the vault item dashboard, select Delete backup data. This option is enabled if you had chosen to Stop protection and retain backup data option during stop VM protection

    Select Delete backup

    • On the vault item dashboard, select Delete backup data.

    • Type the name of the backup item to confirm that you want to delete the recovery points.

      Delete backup data

    • To delete the backup data for the item, select Delete. A notification message lets you know that the backup data has been deleted.

    Note

    When you delete backup data you delete all associated recovery points. You can't choose specific recovery points to delete.

Backup item where primary data source no longer exists

  • If Azure VMs configured for Azure backup are either deleted or moved without stopping protection, then both scheduled backup jobs and on demand (ad-hoc) backup jobs will fail with the error UserErrorVmNotFoundV2. The backup pre-check will appear as critical only for failed ad-hoc backup jobs (failed scheduled jobs are not displayed).
  • These backup items remain active in the system adhering to the backup and retention policy set by the user. The backed-up data for these Azure VMs will be retained according to the retention policy. The expired recovery points (except the last recovery point) are cleaned according to the retention range set in the backup policy.
  • Users are recommended to delete the backup items where the primary data source no longer exists to avoid any additional cost, if the backup item/data for the delete resources is no longer required as the last recovery point is retained forever and the user is charged as per the backup pricing applicable.

Next steps