Automated Backup for SQL Server 2014 Virtual Machines (Resource Manager)

Automated Backup automatically configures Managed Backup to Microsoft Azure for all existing and new databases on an Azure VM running SQL Server 2014 Standard or Enterprise. This enables you to configure regular database backups that utilize durable Azure blob storage. Automated Backup depends on the SQL Server IaaS Agent Extension.


Azure has two different deployment models for creating and working with resources: Resource Manager and classic. This article covers using the Resource Manager deployment model, which Microsoft recommends for new deployments instead of the classic deployment model.

To view the classic version of this article, see Automated Backup for SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines Classic.


To use Automated Backup, consider the following prerequisites:

Operating System:

  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

SQL Server version/edition:

  • SQL Server 2014 Standard
  • SQL Server 2014 Enterprise

Automated Backup works with SQL Server 2014. If you are using SQL Server 2016, you can use Automated Backup v2 to back up your databases. For more information, see Automated Backup v2 for SQL Server 2016 Azure Virtual Machines.

Database configuration:

  • Target databases must use the full recovery model.

For more information about the impact of the full recovery model on backups, see Backup Under the Full Recovery Model.

Azure deployment model:

  • Resource Manager

Azure PowerShell:


Automated Backup relies on the SQL Server IaaS Agent Extension. Current SQL virtual machine gallery images add this extension by default. For more information, see SQL Server IaaS Agent Extension.


The following table describes the options that can be configured for Automated Backup. The actual configuration steps vary depending on whether you use the Azure portal or Azure Windows PowerShell commands.

Setting Range (Default) Description
Automated Backup Enable/Disable (Disabled) Enables or disables Automated Backup for an Azure VM running SQL Server 2014 Standard or Enterprise.
Retention Period 1-30 days (30 days) The number of days to retain a backup.
Storage Account Azure storage account An Azure storage account to use for storing Automated Backup files in blob storage. A container is created at this location to store all backup files. The backup file naming convention includes the date, time, and machine name.
Encryption Enable/Disable (Disabled) Enables or disables encryption. When encryption is enabled, the certificates used to restore the backup are located in the specified storage account in the same automaticbackup container using the same naming convention. If the password changes, a new certificate is generated with that password, but the old certificate remains to restore prior backups.
Password Password text A password for encryption keys. This is only required if encryption is enabled. In order to restore an encrypted backup, you must have the correct password and related certificate that was used at the time the backup was taken.

Configuration in the Portal

You can use the Azure portal to configure Automated Backup during provisioning or for existing SQL Server 2014 VMs.

New VMs

Use the Azure portal to configure Automated Backup when you create a new SQL Server 2014 Virtual Machine in the Resource Manager deployment model.

In the SQL Server settings blade, select Automated backup. The following Azure portal screenshot shows the SQL Automated Backup blade.

SQL Automated Backup configuration in Azure portal

For context, see the complete topic on provisioning a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure.

Existing VMs

For existing SQL Server virtual machines, select your SQL Server virtual machine. Then select the SQL Server configuration section of the Settings blade.

SQL Automated Backup for existing VMs

In the SQL Server configuration blade, click the Edit button in the Automated backup section.

Configure SQL Automated Backup for existing VMs

When finished, click the OK button on the bottom of the SQL Server configuration blade to save your changes.

If you are enabling Automated Backup for the first time, Azure configures the SQL Server IaaS Agent in the background. During this time, the Azure portal might not show that Automated Backup is configured. Wait several minutes for the agent to be installed, configured. After that the Azure portal will reflect the new settings.


You can also configure Automated Backup using a template. For more information, see Azure quickstart template for Automated Backup.

Configuration with PowerShell

After provisioning your SQL VM, use PowerShell to configure Automated Backup. Before you begin, you must:

In the following PowerShell example, Automated Backup is configured for an existing SQL Server 2014 VM. The AzureRM.Compute\New-AzureVMSqlServerAutoBackupConfig command configures the Automated Backup settings to store backups in the Azure storage account associated with the virtual machine. These backups will be retained for 10 days. The Set-AzureRmVMSqlServerExtension command updates the specified Azure VM with these settings.

$vmname = "vmname"
$resourcegroupname = "resourcegroupname"
$autobackupconfig = AzureRM.Compute\New-AzureVMSqlServerAutoBackupConfig -Enable -RetentionPeriodInDays 10 -ResourceGroupName $resourcegroupname

Set-AzureRmVMSqlServerExtension -AutoBackupSettings $autobackupconfig -VMName $vmname -ResourceGroupName $resourcegroupname

It could take several minutes to install and configure the SQL Server IaaS Agent.

To enable encryption, modify the previous script to pass the EnableEncryption parameter along with a password (secure string) for the CertificatePassword parameter. The following script enables the Automated Backup settings in the previous example and adds encryption.

$vmname = "vmname"
$resourcegroupname = "resourcegroupname"
$password = "P@ssw0rd"
$encryptionpassword = $password | ConvertTo-SecureString -AsPlainText -Force  
$autobackupconfig = AzureRM.Compute\New-AzureVMSqlServerAutoBackupConfig -Enable -RetentionPeriod 10 -EnableEncryption -CertificatePassword $encryptionpassword -ResourceGroupName $resourcegroupname

Set-AzureRmVMSqlServerExtension -AutoBackupSettings $autobackupconfig -VMName $vmname -ResourceGroupName $resourcegroupname

To disable automatic backup, run the same script without the -Enable parameter to the AzureRM.Compute\New-AzureVMSqlServerAutoBackupConfig command. The absence of the -Enable parameter signals the command to disable the feature. As with installation, it can take several minutes to disable Automated Backup.


Removing the SQL Server IaaS Agent does not remove the previously configured Automated Backup settings. You should disable Automated Backup before disabling or uninstalling the SQL Server IaaS Agent.

Next steps

Automated Backup configures Managed Backup on Azure VMs. So it is important to review the documentation for Managed Backup to understand the behavior and implications.

You can find additional backup and restore guidance for SQL Server on Azure VMs in the following topic: Backup and Restore for SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines.

For information about other available automation tasks, see SQL Server IaaS Agent Extension.

For more information about running SQL Server on Azure VMs, see SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines overview.