In June 2018, Microsoft announced the capability to backup files and applications data on Azure Stack using Microsoft Azure Backup Server. Azure Stack tenants can now take application-consistent backup of their data in Azure Stack VMs, store them on the stack for operational recoveries, and send the data to Azure for long-term retention and offsite copy needs.
Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) inherits the same functionality of System Center Data Protection Manager (SC DPM) for workloads backup, if you are familiar with SC DPM, MABS looks very similar. However, MABS does not provide protection on tapes nor can integrate with any System Center component. The good news is, MABS comes with free SQL Server license that can only be used for MABS database, and it is free to download. Did I say free? Yes, it’s FREE!
With Microsoft Azure Backup Server, you can protect application workloads such as Hyper-V VMs, Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint Server, Microsoft Exchange, VMware VMs, and Windows clients to:
- Disk (D2D), giving high Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) for tier 1 workloads, short-term protection on-premises.
- Azure (D2D2C) for long-term online and off-site protection to Azure. (Backup to Tape is NOT supported).
The good news is, Microsoft just released a new ARM template that will help you to deploy Azure Backup Server with ease. In this article, I will show you how to automate the installation of the Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS V3) on Azure Stack. If you are interested in the manual deployment approach, please check the following guide from Microsoft.
To automate the deployment of Azure Backup Server on Azure Stack, you need to have the following requirements in place:
- Azure Stack Integrated System (multi-nodes). At the time of this writing, the automate deployment does not work on Azure Stack Development Kit.
- Existing Active Directory in the tenant space where you plan to deploy Azure Backup Server.
- Existing virtual network and at least one subnet.
- As an Azure Stack operator, you need to download the following marketplace items:
- Windows Server 2016 Full Image
- PowerShell Desired State Configuration Extension
- Microsoft Antimalware Extension
- Custom Script Extension for Windows
- Microsoft Azure Diagnostic Extension for Windows Virtual Machines
- Azure Performance Diagnostics
- For Azure Backup Server, you need to have the following:
- Azure Subscription
- Create Azure Recovery Services Vault
- Download the Vault Credentials File from the Vault in Azure
- Download Azure Backup Server Version 3 setup files from here
Prepare Azure Backup Server deployment
To prepare the automated deployment as an Azure Stack tenant, take the following steps:
- Download the Artifacts folder from Microsoft GitHub repository here and save it on your machine.
- Download the ARM template from my GitHub repository here and save it on your machine. I have updated the template which was originally published by Microsoft, I removed the static name of the virtual network and subnet so you can specify those parameters at deployment time to match your environment.
- Download the AzCopy tool from here put it in the same folder, and rename it to MicrosoftAzureStorageTools.msi.
- Copy the Vault Credentials File that you downloaded from the Vault in Azure and put it in the same folder.
- Copy the Azure Backup Server Version 3 setup files and put it in the same folder as well.
- The entire folder will look something like this:
- Finally, upload all the content from the Artifacts folder into a new storage account in Azure Stack under your tenant account. Please note that the storage account must be a Standard and NOT Premium. You can use Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer to upload the files as described in the following document. Once you upload all the artifacts, the container will look something like this:
Automate Azure Backup Server deployment on Azure Stack
Once you have all the prerequisites in place, you are ready to kick off the deployment.
Login to Azure Stack as a tenant user and take the following steps:
- Create a resource and specify Template deployment.
- In the custom deployment blade, select Edit Template.
- Click the Load file and choose the template (azuredeploy.json) that you downloaded from here. Click Open and then click Save.
- Select Edit parameters and update all parameters to match your environment. Click OK.
- MabsAvailabiliySetName: The availability set name for the VM.
- vmPrefix: The prefix name for the VM.
- domainName: Existing Active Directory domain name.
- virtualNetworkName: Existing virtual network name.
- subnet1Name: Existing subnet name.
- adminUsername: The admin account name.
- adminPassword: The admin password.
- passPhrase: The passphrase key to use with Azure Backup Server (minimum 16 characters).
- workloadsLocation: The URL for the blob container that contains all the prerequisites for Azure Backup Server are uploaded.
- vaultCredentialFileName: The vault credential file name that you download from the recovery service vault.
- NoOfDisks: The number of disks that you want to add to the Azure Backup Server.
- StorageSize: The size of each disk.
- Select your desired Azure Stack subscription.
- Place the deployment in the same resource group with your existing virtual network.
- Finally, click Create.
- The entire deployment process will look like this.
Please note that you can deploy the template with the Azure Stack Portal, PowerShell, Azure CLI or with Visual Studio.
That’s it there you have it! Happy stacking with Azure Backup Server :)
Check the following article on how to install Azure Backup Server V3 on Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2017.
Do you want to learn more about Microsoft Azure Backup Server and how to create a hybrid-cloud backup solution? Make sure to check my recently published book: Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager Cookbook.
With this book (over 450 pages) on your side, you will master the world of backup with System Center Data Protection Manager and Microsoft Azure Backup Server deployment and management by learning tips, tricks, and best practices, especially when it comes to advanced-level tasks.
Thank you for reading my blog.
If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.