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How to Backup Virtual Appliance with Azure Backup?

  • October 19, 2021
  • 7 min read
IT Production Manager. Nicolas is primarily focused on Microsoft technologies, he is a Microsoft MVP in Cloud and Datacenter Management.
IT Production Manager. Nicolas is primarily focused on Microsoft technologies, he is a Microsoft MVP in Cloud and Datacenter Management.

One year ago, Microsoft released Azure Backup Center which is a great central console to perform all the backup related tasks. You can manage your recovery vaults and run backup/restore tasks very easily. The following article was published by Romain on StarWind blog to describe Azure Backup Center.

In this article, I will go deeper with Azure Backup Center in order to explain how to handle virtual appliance backups. Have you ever try to backup a Virtual Appliance (Firewall, Scanner, Network VM, …) with Azure Backup? You probably got a failed error message which is very normal because the agent can’ be installed on your appliance. To avoid this problematic, you had to use disk snapshot through Azure Runbook. It was not user friendly, but thanks to Azure Backup Center, you can now manage disk snapshots very easily.

Getting started

Open your Azure portal and go to Backup center. Click “Vault” in the overview section

Click Vault in the overview section

In the new window, select “backup vault”. Please note that it is important to select backup vault instead of recovery vault to manage disks snapshots.

Select backup vault

You can now create your backup vault. Very simple process:

  1. Select the subscription
  2. Select the resource group
  3. Enter the backup vault name
  4. Select the region
  5. And select the redundancy

Create your backup vault

Now, click “Policy” to create the assigned policy

Create the assigned policy

On the next page, you must select the “datasource type” which must be “Azure Disks

Azure disks

Then, enter the policy name and the vault name. On the next page, you can configure the retention. Then, validate the wizard.

Configure the retention

Go to the disk you want to snapshot to add the rights permissions. In this example, I want to backup the disk named “Win10_disk1_xxxxxx”. Search the disk in your Azure portal and go to the “IAM” tab.

Access control (IAM)

Click “Add role assignment” and select “disk backup reader” role.

Disk backup reader

Then, I create a dedicated resource group named “RG-Snapshots” to store the disk snapshots in another Azure region. Add the “Disk snapshot contributor” role on this RG for your backup vault. Use the same steps: “IAM” -> “Add role assignments

Disk snapshot contributor

Once the assignment is done on the disk and the resource group, you can open the backup vault to confirm the permissions. Go to “Identity” and “Azure role assignments

Azure role assignments

You should see something like the following:

  1. Disk Snapshot Contributor => Resource group
  2. Disk Backup Reader => Disk

Azure role assignments

You are now ready to backup your disk. Click “Backup

Backup your disk

Select the datasource type and the backup vault

Datasource type

Then, select the policy previously created

Policy previously created

You can add the disk to backup in this section. Then, select the resource group that will store the snapshot (in my case, it is named “RG-Snapshots”) and click “Validate” to confirm the permissions are ok. Validations must be in “success”.

Configure backup

If you have an issue with the permissions, you will have the following message

Add the disk to backup

When the validation is done, you can start a backup job:

  1. Go to “Backup instances
  2. Update the filter “Datasource type == Azure Disks
  3. You should see your disk, click on the right and select “Backup now

Start a backup job

You can check the job status. Once the backup is done, the status will be “completed”.

Check the job status

Now, you can start a restore job in the same section, just click “Restore” instead of “Backup now

 Start a restore job

A new window appears, you must select the restore point depending on your retention policy.

Select restore point

Then, select the targets (subscription and resource group) and of course, enter the restored disk name.

Enter the restored disk name

Once the restore is done, go to the resource group and attach the disk to your virtual machine.

Found Nicolas’s article helpful? Looking for a reliable, high-performance, and cost-effective shared storage solution for your production cluster?
Dmytro Malynka
Dmytro Malynka StarWind Virtual SAN Product Manager
We’ve got you covered! StarWind Virtual SAN (VSAN) is specifically designed to provide highly-available shared storage for Hyper-V, vSphere, and KVM clusters. With StarWind VSAN, simplicity is key: utilize the local disks of your hypervisor hosts and create shared HA storage for your VMs. Interested in learning more? Book a short StarWind VSAN demo now and see it in action!