Computers and Internet

Azure Online Backup with Windows Server Essentials 2012

Windows Server Essentials 2012 comes with an offer to enable Azure Online Backup. You can use the “Dashboard” application in Windows Server Essentials 2012 to read about this feature and then find the link to sign-up. Here some screenshots (and commentary deeper as I provision the service)

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

On this next screen it may take extended amount of time especially if your server is busy. Be patient.

image

Installation complete with the following message:

image

When this add-in is installed, you will see the following “Online Backup” option in the Dashboard:

image

Next, click on “Register” in Step-1. Provide the credentials you had created earlier.

image

After clicking next, there is a very important “Passphrase” entry screen. This is just as important your account password. In fact, it’s more important because password can be reset/recovered but not the passphrase that is used to encrypt your data.

After a brief wait in this screen:

image

You get the following message:

image

At this point we can configure the backup. Click on “Configure Online Backup” and choose the folders, as in:

image

Then configure the backup schedule. Note you can have multiple backups per day. I personally don’t need it.

image

Next screen shows how long you can keep your backups. Maximum appears to be 30 days, which is a bit low. I will need to investigate if this is individual backup-days (i.e. if I backup only on Sunday, can I keep 30 Sundays) or is it really a calendar month.

image

Add-in also supports bandwidth scheduling and throttling, as in:

image

When configured, it looks like this:

image

It would appear that first backup will be taken at 11pm according to the schedule I had set. For the sake of testing, I will click on “Start Backup Now” link.

Depending on how large the volumes are, you will see Backup status showing “Creating snapshots” – this phase can take a while. After that, it’ll move to the following:

image

..and then shortly after:

image

So let’s take a look at the transfer rate:

image

Largely stable, close to saturating all outbound bandwidth that I have at home (about 5Mbits up .vs. 3.5-4Mbit that it’s utilizing now). You have the process name and the chart that shows the last 60 seconds of the transfer. There is no other significant network activity on this server.

Other observations… While the backup is taking place, I noticed the following disk appear (circled):

image

This is the result of a volume level snapshot that is taking place every time a backup job runs. It goes away when backup job is completed. Do not touch it.

That’s it – those selected folders are now protected in Azure. I will update this post with some restore experiences when I get a chance.

4 replies »

  1. Any idea how much it will end up costing? The variable nature of this (based on disk usage and network bandwidth consumed) makes it more challenging to sign up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s