Backup your Windows Servers from Windows Admin Center with Azure Backup

Applies To: Windows Admin Center Preview, Windows Admin Center

Learn more about Azure integration with Windows Admin Center.

Windows Admin Center streamlines the process of backing up your Windows Servers to Azure and protecting you from accidental or malicious deletions, corruption and even ransomware. To automate setup, you can connect the Windows Admin Center gateway to Azure.

Use the following information to configure Backup for you Windows Server and create a Backup policy to backup your server's Volumes and the Windows System State from the Windows Admin Center.

What is Azure Backup and how does it work with Windows Admin Center?

Azure Backup is the Azure-based service you can use to back up (or protect) and restore your data in the Microsoft cloud. Azure Backup replaces your existing on-premises or off-site backup solution with a cloud-based solution that is reliable, secure, and cost-competitive. Learn more about Azure Backup.

Azure Backup offers multiple components that you download and deploy on the appropriate computer, server, or in the cloud. The component, or agent, that you deploy depends on what you want to protect. All Azure Backup components (no matter whether you're protecting data on-premises or in Azure) can be used to back up data to a Recovery Services vault in Azure.

The integration of Azure Backup in the Windows Admin Center is ideal for backing up volumes and the Windows System state on-premises Windows physical or virtual servers. This makes for a comprehensive mechanism to backup File Servers, Domain Controllers and IIS Web Servers.

Windows Admin Center exposes the Azure Backup integration via the native Backup tool. The Backup tool provides setup, management and monitoring experiences to quickly start backing up your servers, perform common backup and restore operations and to monitor overall backup health of your Windows Servers.

Prerequisites and planning

To start the workflow to backup your Windows Server, open a server connection, click on the Backup tool and follow the steps mentioned below.

Setup Azure Backup

When you click on the Backup tool for a server connection on which Azure Backup is not yet enabled, you would see the Welcome to Azure Backup screen. Click the Set up Azure Backup button. This would open the Azure Backup setup wizard. Follow the steps as listed below in the wizard to back up your server.

If Azure Backup is already configured, clicking on the Backup tool will open the Backup Dashboard. Refer to the (Management and Monitoring) section to discover operations and tasks that can be performed from the dashboard.

Step 1: Login to Microsoft Azure

Sign into you Azure Account.

Note

If you have connected your Windows Admin Center gateway to Azure, you should be automatically logged in to Azure. You can click sign-out to further sign-in as a different user.

Step 2: Set up Azure Backup

Select the appropriate settings for Azure Backup as described below

  • Subscription Id: The Azure subscription you want to use backing up your Windows Server to Azure. All Azure assets like the Azure Resource Group, the Recovery Services Vault will be created in the selected Subscription.
  • Vault: The Recovery Services Vault where your servers' backups will be stored. You can select from existing vaults or Windows Admin Center will create a new Vault.
  • Resource Group: The Azure Resource Group is a container for a collection of resources. The Recovery Services vault is created or contained in the specified Resource Group. You can select from existing Resource Groups or Windows Admin Center will create a new one.
  • Location: The Azure region where the Recovery Services Vault will be created. It is recommended to select the Azure region closest to the Windows Server.

Step 3: Select Backup Items and Schedule

  • Select what you want to back up from your server. Windows Admin Center allows you to pick from a combination of Volumes and the Windows System State while giving you the estimated size of data that is selected for backup.

Note

The first backup is a full-backup of all the selected data. However, subsequent backups are incremental in nature and transfer only the changes to the data since the previous backup.

  • Select from multiple preset Backup Schedules for you System State and/or Volumes.

Step 4: Enter Encryption Passphrase

  • Enter an Encryption Passphrase of your choice (minimum 16 characters). Azure Backup secures your backup data with a user-configured and user-managed encryption passphrase. The encryption passphrase is required to recover data from Azure Backup.

Note

The passphrase must be stored in a secure offsite location such as another server or the Azure Key Vault. Microsoft does not store the passphrase and cannot retrieve or reset the passphrase if it is lost or forgotten.

  • Review all the settings and click Apply

Windows Admin Center will then perform the following operations

  1. Create an Azure Resource Group if it does not exist already
  2. Create an Azure Recovery Services Vault as specified
  3. Install and register the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent to the Vault
  4. Create the Backup and Retention schedule as per the selected options and associate them with the Windows Server.

Management and Monitoring

Once you have successfully setup Azure Backup, you would see the Backup Dashboard when you open the Backup tool for an existing server connection. You can perform the following tasks from the Backup Dashboard

  • Access the Vault in Azure: You can click on the Recovery Services Vault link in the Overview tab of the Backup Dashboard to be taken to the Vault in Azure to perform a rich set of management operations
  • Perform an ad hoc backup: Click on Backup Now to take an ad hoc backup.
  • Monitor Jobs and Configure alert notifications: Navigate to the Jobs tab of the dashboard to monitor on-going or past jobs and configure alert notifications to receive emails for any failed jobs or other backup related alerts.
  • View Recovery Points and Recover Data: Click on the Recovery Points tab of the dashboard to view the Recovery Points and click on Recover Data for steps to recover you data from Azure.