Configure Multiple Backups for Azure Files

3 Min. Read

Azure Files enables you to set up highly available network file shares that can be accessed by using the standard Server Message Block (SMB) protocol or the Network File System (NFS) protocol. That means that multiple VMs can share the same files with both read and write access. You can also read the files using the REST interface or the storage client libraries.

In this article, I will share with you how to configure multiple backups per day for Azure Files (file shares).

Introduction

One of the great features of Azure Files is the integration with the Azure Backup service. Azure Backup is an Azure-based service that you can use to back up (or protect) and restore your data in the Microsoft cloud. Azure Backup replaces your existing on-premises and off-site backup solution with a cloud-based solution that is reliable, secure, and cost-competitive. For nearly every Azure File Sync deployment that I work on, I’ve seen that Azure Backup is considered as a requirement to provide an additional layer of security and protection.

To learn more about how Azure Backup integrates with Azure Files, please check the following articles:

> Azure Backup integration with Azure Files – Part I

> Azure Backup integration with Azure Files – Part II

Low RPO (Recovery Point Objective) is a key requirement for Azure Files holding business-critical data updated quite often. To ensure minimal data loss in the event of a disaster or unwanted changes to file share content, organizations may prefer to take backups more frequently than once a day.

The Azure Backup team has recently announced that you can now configure and enable multiple backups per day for Azure Files (Azure file shares). Previously, we were limited to configuring only a daily backup one time per day. With this new enhancement, you can now create and modify the Azure Files backup policy in any of your Recovery Services vaults and enable the hourly options.

Prerequisites

To follow this article, you need to have the following:

1) An Azure subscription. If you don’t have an Azure subscription, you can create a free one here.

2) An Azure storage account – To create a general-purpose v2 storage account, you can follow the instructions described here.

3) One or more Azure file shares. To create an Azure file share, you can follow the instructions described here.

4) At least one Azure Recovery Services vault is created. Please check the following quickstart guide to create and configure a Recovery Services vault.

5) At the time of this writing, the multiple backups feature for Azure Files is in public preview and is supported in all Azure regions.

Let’s consider the following backup scenario:

A user wants to take 4 backups a day. He/She wants that the first backup should trigger at 1 am and no backup of the day should trigger after 10 pm.

To meet this scenario, take the following steps:

Configure multiple backups per day

Launch the Azure Portal, and open the specific Recovery Services vaults where you manage your backups for Azure Files.

Under the Manage section, select Backup policies and then choose your existing Azure file share backup policy (you can also add a new backup policy).

Azure File Share Backup Policy
Azure File Share Backup Policy

Under the Schedule section of the policy, you need to choose the “hourly” option from the Frequency drop-down menu and provide the other relevant details (Schedule, Start Time, Duration, and Timezone).

To meet the scenario mentioned in the prerequisites section, the backup policy configuration would look like as follows:

  • Frequency: Hourly
  • Schedule: Every 6 hours
  • Start time: 1 am
  • Duration: 21 hours ( the difference between 10 pm and 1 am )

The backup job will trigger at 1:00 AM, 7:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 7:00 PM as shown in the figure below:

Configure Backup Schedule Frequency
Configure Backup Schedule Frequency

Click Update to update your existing backup policy. You can always create a new and different backup policy schedule for a single file share if needed.

That’s it there you have it!

Summary

Azure Backup supports only 200 snapshots per file share limit at any given point in time. This is the current restriction of the platform to make sure your snapshots are durable. You could, for example, schedule 190 days as a daily backup, and 10 years as a yearly backup (190+10=200 snapshots), and so on…

Always remember that the total number of restore points should not be exceeding 200 snapshots (restore points) with your backup policy configuration. After enabling the hourly backup frequency, you might need to reconfigure the policy to ensure the total number of restore points is within the recommended limit.

Additionally, Microsoft has added on-demand snapshots (backup) so you can take up to ten times backups per day (manually triggered), as well as one daily scheduled backup, so a total of 11 snapshots you can take per day.

Do you want to learn more about Azure Storage including Azure Blobs and Azure File Shares? Make sure to check my recently published online course here: Azure Storage Essential Training.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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