Azure Backup and Backup a Virtual Machine using Azure Portal

Azure Backup

Azure Backup - Introduction

In one of my previous post we have been talking a little bit about Cloud Computing and Microsoft Azure, which offers a lot of different services for diverse scenario and almost covers the necessities, Azure backup is one of them.

Azure Backup is precisely Azure cloud based service which can be used to backup or protect and restore back the data for on-premises servers, virtual machines, virtualized workloads, SQL server, and more. It replaces the traditional on-premises as well off-site backup solution with a cloud based feasible and secure solution, no doubt cost competitive also. It can be used in Geo-Replication, where data is getting replicate accorss data centers and keep excellent SLAs upto the mark.

In the Azure Eco system, the Azure Backup is an integral part of Azure stack as well bundled with Operations Management Suite (OMS), which is a scalable solution to allow backup and recovery of your data to and from the Microsoft Data centres. 

Recovery Services vault

A Recovery Services vault is corresponded with Azure Backup, in fact, an online storage entity or a logical container that stores all backup and recovery point definitions. You can use Recovery Services vault to keep backup data for Azure services such as IaaS VMs, Azure SQL databases and on-premises servers and workstations etc. 

Whenever the backup job for a protected resource, execute, it creates a recovery point inside the Recovery Services vault, that can be used to restore data to a given point in time. In specifics, the backup data is typically copies of data, or configuration information for virtual machines (VMs), workloads, servers, or workstations. 

Recovery Services vaults support multiple Azure Backup Components (we will see in the next section in a bit details) like System Center DPM, Windows Server, Azure Backup Server, and more to make it easy to organize your backup data in the context of minimizing management overhead. However, not all regions are the same in the consideration of storing data per Azure region, need to visit Geo-redundant storage details about the particulars.

Different Azure Backup components

In reality, the Azure Backup offers multiple components to protect certain different types of data like files, folders, virtual machines, applications, workloads, server etc.
Find herewith a brief detail about the numerous components and respective data that you can protect with the Azure backup component.

[1] Azure Backup (MARS) agent
  • It protects files and folders on physical or virtual Windows OS (VMs can be on-premises or in Azure)
  • Backup will be stored in the Recovery Services vault.
  • But no support for Linux.

[2] System Center DPM
  • It protects files, folders, volumes, VMs, applications, workloads and system state.
  • Backup will be stored in the Recovery Services vault, Locally attached disk and Tape (on-premises only).
  • It supports Linux on Hyper-V and VMware VMs.
  • But no support Oracle workload.

[3] Azure Backup Server
  • It protects files, folders, volumes, VMs, applications, workloads and system state.
  • Backup will be stored in the Recovery Services vault and Locally attached disk.
  • It supports Linux on Hyper-V and VMware VMs.
  • But no support Oracle workload and tape backup.

[4] Azure IaaS VM Backup
  • It protects VMs and all disks (using PowerShell).
  • Backup will be stored in the Recovery Services vault.
  • Native backups for Windows/Linux.
  • But no support on-premises.

Recovery Services vault

Back up a virtual machine

Here in this article, we will walk through how to back-up a virtual machine (VM) via the Recovery Services vault using Azure Portal, even this same task can be accomplished using Virtual machines operations menu also.

Mostly the Recovery Services vaults protect almost all types of VMs, like – 
  • Azure Resource Manager-deployed VMs
  • Classic VMs
  • Standard storage VMs
  • Premium storage VMs
  • VMs running on Managed Disks
  • VMs encrypted using Azure Disk Encryption

For a detailed and more particular, visit respected Microsoft article about the protection of Premium storage VMs and managed disk VM.


Before moving ahead, we need some pre-requisites to accomplish this Azure Backup task on top of Azure Cloud using Azure Portal.
  1. Azure subscription, if you don't have an account then sign up for a free Azure account -
  2. An existing Azure virtual machine (VM) (Windows or Linux, etc., visit my previous post how to setup an Ubuntu Linux VM )

STEP – 1: Launch Recovery Services vault

For every Azure region that has a virtual machine(VMs) and to be backed up, at least one Recovery Services vault essential to exist in that region.

Login to the Azure portal

On the Hub menu, click All services and in the Filter dialog type recovery. 

All services

Promptly the list of resources filters as you type, click the Recovery Services vaults in the list when it is available.

Filter dialog box

STEP – 2: Add a Recovery Services vault

Post selection of Recovery Services vault, the dashboard of the Recovery Services vaults will be loaded, most probably there would be no recovery services vault to display since we have not created yet.

Recovery Services vault list

On the Recovery Services vaults menu, click Add, the Recovery Services vault blade will be loaded, prompting you to provide the following details – 
  • Name – The name of Recovery Services vault.
  • Subscription – The name of your Azure subscription, it would be either free, paid or specific subscription etc. 
  • Resource group – The name of the resource group used to organize related resources, you can either create a new resource or choose an existing one.
  • Location – The region where to store your logic app information.

Create Recovery Services vault

Note: Backing up VMs is a local process, you cannot backup VMs from one region to a Recovery Services vault in another region. If you have virtual machines in multiple regions, create a Recovery Services vault in each region.

STEP – 3: Create the Recovery Services vault

Once you are sure about the region in which your VM exist and the same region you selected herewith, go ahead and click the Create button that appears at the bottom of the Recovery Services vault blade.

After you click the Create button, the validation starts and post validation resource deployment proceeds, it can take several minutes for the Recovery Services vault to be created.

Normally, as soon as your vault is created, it appears in the list of Recovery Services vaults. Though, if after several minutes you don't see your vault, click Refresh button.

Recovery Services vaults list

Sooner, the newly created Recovery Resources vaults will be reflected in the list.

Recovery Resources vault list

STEP – 4: Create a Backup in the Recovery Services vault

Post creation of the Recovery Services vault, select the same vault from the list, it will load the newly created Recovery Services vault blade.

Newly created Recovery Resources vault overview

On the vault dashboard menu, click + Backup to open the Backup blade.


Next, the Backup Goal blade will be open.

Backup Goal

Here, on the Backup Goal blade, Azure need to select from the Where is your workload running drop-down menu, as well Virtual machine is required from the What do you want to backup drop-down. Since by default both properties are pre-selected, so go ahead and click Backup button.

STEP – 5: Configure Backup in the Recovery Services vault

Once you click the Backup button, the vault will load the Backup blade to configure Backup Policy and Items to backup, currently the Backup policy blade opens.

Backup Policy

Next, select the by default backup policy ‘DefaultPolicy’ or you can create a new one as per your preference.

Create New backup policy

I am going ahead with the default one, once a backup policy selected, then click the OK button to proceed.

As soon as you click the OK button, 2nd property Items to backup under the Backup blade will be loaded as Select virtual machines.

Items to backup

Here you can see there is only one VM is running in this region, select the existing VM to take it’s backup and click the OK button.

Sooner the validation will be processed and Backup blade will be available with enabled Enable backup button.

Backup Goal blade

If you feel satisfied with Backup policy and Items to backup count, then click the Enable backup button to complete the backup configuration.

Sooner, the resource will be deployed, you can see the related acknowledgement also.

Deployment is in progress

After successfully enabling the backup, your backup policy will execute on schedule. You can validate the same under the Backup tab of Recover Services vault.

Recovery Services vault overview

Along with, you can click the Backup items under the Protected items section of the Recovery Services vault, it will display the added Azure virtual machine count under Backup Item Count.

Backup items

Congratulations, the Azure Backup setup done!! 😊

STEP – 6: Initiate Initial backup 

Here the backup policy has been deployed on the virtual machine, but it does not mean the data has been backed up. By default, the first scheduled backup as per created/selected backup policy is the initial backup. 

To see the backup status, click the above available Azure Virtual Machine count under the Backup items blade, backup jobs of Azure Virtual Machine blade will be loaded.

Backup jobs

Until the initial backup occurs, the Last Backup Status on the Backup Jobs blade shows as Warning (initial backup pending).

Unless the planned initial backup is due to begin soon, it is recommended that you can run Backup Now. On the above Backup Items list, click the ellipses ... to open the Context menu.

Backup job list

The Context menu will appear promptly.

Context menu

Next, on the Context menu, click Backup now link to activate the backup.

Backup Now time

On Backup Now blade, specify the date of the backup that to be retained, click OK to proceed further.

STEP – 7: Tracking Initial backup 

Per deployment notifications it appears the backup job has been triggered, and you can monitor the progress of the job on the Backup jobs blade. 

Initial Status would be appearing as In progress, depending on the size of existing VM, creating the initial backup may take a while.

Backup Job may take time depends to size and data on the Azure virtual machine (VM), so I verified the next day and got the Status as Completed. Even the manual backup which I was triggered yesterday as well schedule backup done well.

Job Status

Simultaneously, you can get the same status inside the Backup Items blade for the scheduled job.

Backup Items Azure VM

Apart from this you can notice there is a new option available as Restore VM to restore this backup under the Context menu.

Restore VM

Congratulations, the scheduled Backup Job executed well!! 😊

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