Monthly Archives: September 2015

Backup to Azure Vault revisited…

Recently, Microsoft announced the general availability of Backup of Azure IaaS VMs. The announcement is available here:

This general availability means the backup mechanism of Azure virtual machines has changed. Before this general availability, Azure VMs were treated the same way as on-premises machine using an Agent that facilitates backup. While this method works great, the ‘new’ mechanism makes protection easier for Azure VMs.

To protect Azure VMs using an Azure Backup Vault, the following workflow can be used:

  1. Create a Backup Vault (if not used already)
  2. Register Azure VMs by discovering and select them for protection
  3. Setup a Backup Policy
  4. Start protecting

Keep in mind that each Backup Vault can store 54,4 TB of Backup content

This post describes the steps to configure Backup of Azure VMs.

  1. Create a Backup Vault
    Pretty self-explanatory if you ask me.
  2. Register Azure VMs and Setup a backup policy
    Once the Backup Vault has been created, Azure VMs can be registered for protection
    Select Register.
    Select the machines that need to be registered for protection and press the OK button. Press the protect button in the portal to proceed.

    Press the Next button.
    Here a protection policy can be configured. In this case a daily backup is scheduled at 8 pm.
    The final step is defining the retention range. Notice that these settings are the same as in the Azure Recovery Services Agent. In this scenario a daily backup only is chosen. The configuration is completed after finishing the OK button

  3. Start protecting
    An initial backup can be started by using the Backup Now button
    Its progress can be monitored by the Jobs tab. This tab can also be used to view how long it takes for a machine to be backed up.

To restore a virtual machine, a new virtual machine can be created from ny backup set available…

This greatly simplifies protecting Azure VMs…

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Posted by on 18/09/2015 in Azure, Cloud, Public Cloud


Investigating a ConfigMgr TP3 deployment workflow

Recently, Microsoft released System Center Technical Preview 3 for testing purposes. I found some time to investigate how to install it. The main focus of my investigation was to determine if the workflow for deploying it is different compared to ConfigMgr 2012 SP2/R2 SP1.

It also allowed to determine if it would make sense to create a site server on Microsoft Azure. Except for PXE and/or multicast enabled distribution points it would make sense to host the site server there.

To determine if the workflow is different or not, I used the following setup (I have limited Azure credits so I have to keep my resources low):

  • 1 Azure Cloud Service
  • 1 VNet
  • 1 A1 Azure VM configured as DC and local DNS
  • 1 A5 Azure VM configured as ConfigMgr TP3 site server, two additional virtual disks of 512 GB were added which are added to a single storage pool. a striped virtual disk was created to get some more IOPS.

Both Azure VM machines run Windows Server 2012 R2.

I use SQL 2014 SP1 Standard Edition for hosting the site database. I could use a gallery machine with SQL, I decided not to and install SQL 2014 SP1 manually.

NOTE: I made an attempt to use Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview machines, but the performance was quite annoying. I decided to go back to Windows Server 2012 R2 instead.

For ConfigMgr 2012 deployments, I use the following workflow:

  1. Install Roles & Features
  2. Install an SQL instance
  3. Install Windows 10 ADK
  4. Extend AD Schema and configure delegation
  5. Configure WSUS
  6. Install ConfigMgr

I followed the workflow displayed above for deploying ConfigMgr TP3. Not surprisingly, the result is the same. I also notice that the site server is also perfectly happy to run on the Azure platform. For distribution points, I’d suggest to use an on-premises machine for distributing content…



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