Are Azure Virtual Machines Backed Up

Azure Backup supports backing up running Azure virtual machines. Windows virtual machines will have application level consistency, thanks to VSS running in the guest OS, and Linux will have file system consistency.

The backup mechanism is described by Microsoft as being agentless. There is no requirement to install an agent, but protecting a virtual machine will deploy an Azure backup extension. You don’t have to deploy any infrastructure or backup software; you will deploy a backup vault to start protecting virtual machines.

Backup deployment and management happens in the Azure management portal.  Discovery and protection of virtual machines is administered from this portal, and  this is also where creation f a policy-driven backup schedule happens. The Azure Management Portal is also the place to perform on-demand (manual) backups and  track the success, failure, and progress of all backups.

Microsoft has designed some efficiencies into the Azure backup process. Azure maintains change tracking and performs incremental backups; this makes the storage of Azure Backup for virtual machines very efficient. A fabric as massive and complex as Azure will have transient errors, so Microsoft has built in retry mechanisms in the event of a backup failure.

The first step in backing up Virtual Machines is to create a backup vault. Log into the Azure management portal, and click New > Data Services > Recovery Services > Backup Vault > Quick Create. Name the backup vault and select the same Azure region as the virtual machines that you want to protect.

Browse into the new vault after it is created, and then into Registered Items. You must first discover your virtual machines by clicking the Discover button at the bottom of the screen.

Note: At this time, the feature is in preview and Discover has been a little temperamental. Retry the discovery after waiting a few minutes if it fails.

Click Register in Registered Items to select which virtual machines you want to protect. Note that the registration process requires virtual machines to be in a running state to succeed.

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