Azure Backup Project Venus Has Gone Live

Woohoo! Azure Backup has started the evolution from a very basic online backup service to something very interesting – the price is already super competitive versus MozyPro and the gazillions of Ahsay-based vendors but functionality has been a challenge.

If you’re not aware of Venus, then read this article I wrote for Petri.com. In short, Azure Backup customers can get a customized version of DPM (being referred to as a new Azure Backup server) to perform on-premises backups of files & folders as before, but now it adds Hyper-V, VMs, SQL Server, SharePoint Server, Exchange, and Windows clients. You then configure a policy to send an encrypted copy of all/subset of your data to Azure. The Azure Backup server keeps short-term retention and the Azure Backup vault keeps long term retention.

I found a download URL last week. At the time, it only shared a file saying “come back next week”. Well, it’s next week now. I checked it last night – no change. Mark Taylor (@ChorusMark) pinged me on Twitter late last night (I saw it this morning) and sure enough, the download went live:

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The description goes as follows:

With Microsoft Azure Backup, you can protect application workloads such as Hyper-V VMs, Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint Server, Microsoft Exchange and Windows clients to:

  • Disk (D2D), giving high RTOs for tier 1 workloads
  • Azure (D2D2C) for long term retention.
  • And, you can manage the protection of various protected entities (servers and clients) from a single on-premises user interface.

You can deploy Microsoft Azure Backup server as:

  • A physical standalone server.
  • A Hyper-V virtual machine – You can run DPM as a virtual machine hosted on an on-premises Hyper-V host server, to back up on-premises data.
  • A Windows virtual machine in VMWare – You can deploy DPM to provide protection for Microsoft workloads running on Windows virtual machines in VMWare. In this scenario DPM can be deployed as a physical standalone server, as a Hyper-V virtual machine, or as a Windows virtual machine in VMWare.
  • An Azure virtual machine – You can run DPM as a virtual machine in Azure to back up cloud workloads running as Azure virtual machines.

If you log into your Azure subscription, you’ll see that Azure Backup vaults show the new feature too:

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The system requirements are as follows:

Operating system – you must supply a license, either via virtualization rights or normal physical licensing:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Processor:

  • Minimum: 1 GHz, dual-core CPU
  • Recommended: 2.33 GHz quad-core CPU

RAM:

  • Minimum: 4GB
  • Recommended: 8GB

Hard Drive Space:

  • Minimum: 3GB
  • Recommended: 3GB
  • Disks for backup storage pool: 1.5 times size of data to be protected

SQL 2014 is included in the setup. This license is free and can only be used for Azure Backup server. FYI, I’ve been pre-warned that a pre-requisite is .NET 3.5.1 and this can take about 1 hour to install. Plan your time around this!

I haven’t found a launch announcement from Microsoft and the AB site doesn’t have any documentation yet. But this will be very similar to a DPM setup for Azure Backup.

[EDIT]

I forgot to address the localisation of the above Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS). The Azure Backup team wanted to get MABS out as quickly as possible, so English was released first. More localisations will be released over time – the team really is customizing DPM to Azure Backup to make MABS, which you’ll see when you’re required to supply backup vault credentials to complete the setup, and they want to get more functionality into people’s hands as rapidly as they can.

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4 Comments on Azure Backup Project Venus Has Gone Live

  1. Steve Burkett // October 6, 2015 at 12:33 PM // Reply

    Now where’s that VMware VM backup ability that they were talking about at Ignite 2015?

  2. I’m extremely pleased to see this become available. We already use DPM with Azure internally but this greatly helps us with some branch offices and client sites. We’ll be able to save a lot of money and have better backups at the same time.

    • Agreed – it’s going to be awesome for those who want to retain on-premises backup but want to use Azure for off-site storage. And it’s a nice-interim first step to the final “Project Venus” solution.

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