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Azure VM Backup and Restore

10/18/2023 12:00 AM by Shivendra in Azure

Comprehensive Guide to Azure VM Backup and Restore

Data is the lifeblood of businesses and organizations. Ensuring the safety and availability of this data is of paramount importance. With the increasing reliance on cloud computing, Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) have become a popular choice for hosting critical applications and services. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of Azure VM backup and restore, providing you with a detailed understanding of how to safeguard your data and ensure business continuity.

Understanding the Need for Azure VM Backup

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Data loss can occur due to a variety of reasons, including hardware failures, software issues, human error, and even malicious attacks. Azure VM backup is the process of creating a copy of your virtual machine and its data at a specific point in time, allowing you to recover it in case of unforeseen incidents. Here's why it's essential:

1. Data Resilience
One of the primary reasons for Azure VM backup is to ensure data resilience. By having a backup, you can recover lost data quickly, reducing downtime and potential business disruptions.

2. Disaster Recovery
Azure VM backup is an integral part of your disaster recovery strategy. It ensures that you have a fail-safe mechanism in place to recover your VMs and data in case of catastrophic events.

3. Compliance Requirements
Many industries have strict data retention and compliance regulations. Azure VM backup helps you meet these requirements by preserving historical data and configurations.


Azure VM Backup Options

Azure provides multiple options for VM backup, each with its unique features and benefits. Let's explore these options in detail:

1. Azure Backup Service
Azure Backup is a comprehensive, scalable backup service that allows you to protect your Azure VMs effortlessly. It offers features like automated backups, retention policies, and the ability to restore VMs to different points in time.

2. Azure Site Recovery
Azure Site Recovery is a disaster recovery solution that not only offers backup capabilities, but also ensures business continuity. It replicates your VMs to a secondary location, allowing for seamless failover in case of an outage.

3. Third-party Backup Solutions
Apart from native Azure services, there are several third-party backup solutions available that can be integrated with Azure. These solutions often offer advanced features and customization options.

Azure VM Backup and Recovery using the Azure Backup Service

This capability will be required for all application servers of the any project. The backup will be enabled in the Azure VM setting directly. A Recovery vault will be created to preserve the backup copies of the VM. The VM can then be restored from the recovery points stored in the Azure Backup recovery services vault. Backup copies of the VM will be kept for 20 days (daily) and 3 weeks (weekly) in the recovery services vault as per the custom Microsoft Azure backup policy. An automated backup Job will be created to run at a specific time (03:00 AM) on a daily and weekly basis. The initial setup of this process will require that the backup runs manually so that it can be triggered automatically starting from the next day as per the specified time.

Steps to Configure/Update Backup settings for a VM.

Create a Recovery Services vault.

  • Search for Backup center in the Azure portal and go to the Backup Center dashboard
  • Select +Vault from the Overview tab.
  • Select Recovery Services vault > Continue.
  • When you're ready to create the Recovery Services vault, select Create. 

Apply a backup policy.

To apply a backup policy to your Azure VMs, follow these steps:

  • Go to Backup center and click Backup policies from the menu. 
  • Select +Add from the Backup policies tab.

Select a VM to Backup

  • Go to the Backup center and click +Backup from the Overview tab.
  • Select Azure Virtual machines as the Data source type and select the vault you have created. Then click Continue.
  • Assign custom backup policy.
  • Select VM
  • Click OK and Enable backup button.
  • Verify the backup job under Backup jobs tab.

Restore a VM backup.

  • Go to to a specific VM for restoring Virtual machine service
  • Each VM and select Backup menu.
  • Select Restore from Backup tab.
  • Select restore point and click on the restore button


Best Practices for Azure VM Backup and Restore

To ensure the effectiveness of your Azure VM backup and restore strategy, consider the following best practices:

1. Regular Testing
Regularly test your backup and restore process to make sure it works as expected. This practice can save you precious time during critical situations.

2. Data Classification
Categorize your data and prioritize what needs to be backed up. Not all data may be critical, and selective backup can help manage costs.

3. Monitoring and Alerts
Implement monitoring and alerting systems to stay informed about the status of your backup jobs and any potential issues.

4. Off-site Backups
Consider storing backups in a geographically separate location to mitigate the risk of data loss due to regional outages.


Did you find this blog easy to follow and helpful to you? Let me know in the comments below.

The purpose of the code contained in blog is solely for learning and demo purposes. The author will not be held responsible for any failures or damages caused due to any other usage.

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