Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

Overview of Azure Backup and Recovery

Azure Backup offers a simple solution for backing up your on-premises resources to the cloud. Get short and long-term backup without the need to deploy complex on-premises backup solutions.

Azure Backup provides independent and isolated backups to guard against accidental destruction of original data. Backups are stored in a Recovery Services vault with built-in management of recovery points. Configuration and scalability are simple, backups are optimized, and you can easily restore as needed. Azure Backup uses the underlying power and unlimited scale of the Azure cloud to deliver high availability with no maintenance or monitoring overhead.

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In this article we will learn how to use Azure Backup to take backup of on-premises servers. This article explains how to install the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services (MARS) agent. MARS is also known as the Azure Backup agent.

Azure MARS Architecture

Prerequisite

  • Azure Account
  • On-Premises Server with Internet connectivity

 

Overview on Azure MARS agent

Azure Backup uses the MARS agent to back up files, folders, and system state from on-premises machines and Azure VMs. Those backups are stored in a Recovery Services vault in Azure. You can run the agent:

Directly on on-premises Windows machines. These machines can back up directly to a Recovery Services vault in Azure. On Azure VMs that run Windows side by side with the Azure VM backup extension. The agent backs up specific files and folders on the VM.

 

Steps to configure Azure Backup using MARS Agent

Step 01: - Create Recovery Services Vault

Within Azure, a single resource is provisioned for either Azure Backup or Azure Site Recovery. This resource is called a Recovery Services Vault. It is also the resource that is used for configuration and management of both Backup and Site Recovery.

Steps to configure and install Azure MARS. Go to Azure Portal and search for Backup and Recovery. Click on Create.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Enter the name of the vault and choose the resource group where it resides or create a new resource group. Then choose the region where you want to create the resource as shown below and hit Review + Create.

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Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

You can review the configuration and create.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

 

Step 02: - Configure Azure Backup for On-Premises in Portal

Now our Vault it deployed. By default, backup configuration of storage replication is set to GRS it won’t require in this article.

Go to properties in vault. Select Backup Configuration and Choose Locally redundant and Save.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Now, lets configure our Azure MARS agent to backup. Go to the overview pane and select Backup as per below image.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Click on Backup and select On-Premises Backup and File and folders which we want to backup. Here we have multiple option to select you Backup your Hyper-V machines, System State Backups or Files and Folder level backup also. In this tutorial we are going to use Files and Folders level backup select that.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

After selecting respective Workload and Backup click on prepare infrastructure. After that you will get steps to configure agent and how to install it on your on-premises server.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Now let’s follow each step. To back up files and folders from on-premises VMs, you need to use Microsoft Azure Recovery Services (MARS) agent. The MARS agent is available for installation from the Recovery Services Vault.

Once you click on Download Agent it will redirect you to MS download page and start download MARS agent.

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Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

As you can see MARSAgentInstaller.exe has been download.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Next step is to download vault credentials which will help us to make secure connection from our On-premises Backup agent to Azure.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Step 03: - Install and Configure MARS Agent on On-Premises Server

Now we have agent and key both with us. Let’s jump to the on-premises Server.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

After clicking exe file, it will automatically install and open wizard for server registration. Now select the downloaded credentials files .

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

And then select Next. Now, it will ask for create password I prefer to use strong passphrase.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Now browse the path where you want to save the key and select Next.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

After that it will connect to Azure and register your server with Azure vault.

 

Step 04: - Configure Backup Policy in MARS Agent

Here, we will learn how to configure Azure MARS agent to backup our Files and folder on daily basis.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Next, Click on the Schedule Backup.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Click on Next and select the Folder you want to backup. Also you can select whole Volume or full system state backup.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

You can see attached drives to your system in list.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Now, we will backup folder under my Drive.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

And then click on Next. After selecting the Backup folder. Select Backup Policy like you want it to be configure Daily or weekly.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Click on Next and will schedule the backup policy and retention policy. Retention policy is nothing but the time frame in between you can retain your backup.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Now, select Automatically backup over the network and click on Next.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Review all the changes once. And Finish.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

Congrats you have successfully configured Azure Backup policy for your server.

 

Step 05: - Monitor the Azure Backup status in Portal

Now, Let’s check if azure backup is working as expected or not. Go to vault and click on Backup Items.

There you can see your server listed click on that you will be able to see recovery points, last backup taken, etc. as per below image

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

Step 06: - Restore or Recover data from Azure Backup

In same way if you want to restore the data. Go to the Azure Backup and click on Recover. Choose the server to which you want to restore the data. Generally, this is the same server the data was backed up from.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

 

After that you can select where you want to restore the backup. It will temporarily mount Network drive on local system and from there you can restore your files.

Step-by-Step Azure Backup Tutorial [Azure MARS Agent]

We can get logs regarding Backup in MARS agent and portal also. So, we have configured Azure MARS successfully to take Backup and restore data for our on-premises servers.

 

Summary

In this Azure tutorial we covered about Azure Backup and Recovery using Microsoft Azure Recovery Services (MARS) Agent.  Recovery Services Vault is used for configuration and management of both Backup and Site Recovery. An Azure Backup policy defines how often backups occur and how long the backups are retained.

The Azure Backup service can backup and restore and entire virtual machine and you can also use it for just file recovery to restore files from a recovery point without recreating the entire virtual machine. Azure Backup can be used to protect files and folders, applications, and IaaS virtual machines.

This cloud-based data protection service helps organizations by providing offsite backups of on-premises servers and protection of VM workloads they have already moved to the cloud. The backup data is retained for 14 days after deletion by using Soft delete feature. Azure Site Recovery service enables us to replicate, failover, and failback virtual machines as needed.

 

References

What is Azure Backup? - Azure Backup | Microsoft Docs
Microsoft Azure Recovery Services (MARS) Agent – FAQ - Azure Backup | Microsoft Docs
Answers to common questions - Azure Backup | Microsoft Docs

 

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