Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) is good backup solution that can protect your data for short-term retention on local disks and long-term retention in the cloud. In this post you will learn how to install Azure Backup Server, and in my next article I will explain how to configure Microsoft's cloud backup tool.

With MABS you can back up files and folders, volumes, applications, and Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines (VMs). It offers most of the common System Center Data Protection Manager features with the exception that it does not integrate with other System Center family products and does not support backup tapes. Best of all, it is totally free.

In this article, we will be using MABS v2, the latest version of the product released May 31, 2017.

Prerequisites ^

Before you start, make sure you meet the following prerequisites:

  • The server OS should be at least Windows Server 2012.
  • You have installed .NET 3.5 SP1 and the Hyper-V PowerShell module.
    You can use this PowerShell command to install both:
    Install-WindowsFeature Net-Framework-Core, Hyper-V-PowerShell -source <the path of the sxs folder>
  • The server is an Active Directory domain member.

Create a Recovery Service vault ^

The Recovery Service vault is a storage container where you store the backup data. So first, you have to create a Recovery Service vault:

  1. Navigate to Recovery Service vaults and click Add, as shown on the following screen.
    Recovery Service vaults blade

    Recovery Service vaults blade

  2. A new blade opens up wherein you need to specify the following:
    1. Name: Specify a descriptive name for the recovery service vault.
    2. Subscription: Select the subscription to charge for using this service if you have multiple subscriptions.
    3. Resource group: Specify the resource group in which the recovery service vault will exist as a resource.
    4. Location: Specify the region wherein you want to deploy this resource.
    Create a Recovery Service vault

    Create a Recovery Service vault

  3. Click on Create, which will create the Recovery Service vault within a moment.

Download Azure Backup Server ^

  1. Navigate to the Recovery Service vault created earlier. Under Getting Started, click on Backup.
  2. This will open a new blade wherein you have to specify where your workload is running and what you want to back up. Just specify the parameters according to your needs and click on Prepare Infrastructure.
    Specify what you are going to back up

    Specify what you are going to back up

  3. You have to click on Download under Install Microsoft Azure Backup Server and the vault credentials, as you will need it later.
    Download MABS and vault credentials

    Download MABS and vault credentials

  4. For the Microsoft Azure Backup Server, it will navigate you to another web page where you can download the product.

Install Microsoft Azure Backup Server ^

  1. After the download, you will have seven compressed .bin files and one .exe file. You can extract the product by running the .exe file and specify the path to extract MABS to.
  2. After completing the extraction, run setup.exe
  3. From the installation splash screen, click on Microsoft Azure Backup Server, as shown in the following screenshot.
    MABS installation wizard

    MABS installation wizard

  4. A new wizard opens with a welcome screen. Click Next to proceed to the next step.
  5. The next step will ask you to check for the prerequisites of Azure Backup Server, as shown in the following screenshot.
    Check the prerequisites

    Check the prerequisites

  6. The next screen will ask you either to install a new SQL instance or select an existing one. Note that this step will check for the prerequisites defined earlier, so make sure you've met them to avoid any errors. Note that you can't use a remote SQL instance—only a local instance will work.
    Configuring SQL settings

    Configuring SQL settings

  7. You then need to specify the installation path for MABS files, as per the requirements shown in the next screenshot.
    Installation settings

    Installation settings

  8. On the next screen, you have to specify a strong password to use for a restricted local user that will run SQL services, as shown on the following screen.
    Specify SQL account password

    Specify SQL account password

  9. After that, you need to specify whether you want to use Microsoft Update for the MABS or not. The recommended setting is to enable it for the latest updates.
    Microsoft Update opt in

    Microsoft Update opt in

  10. Finally, it will summarize all the settings you specified, as shown on the following screen.
    Summary of settings

    Summary of settings

  11. After you click Install, the wizard will install the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent. This will open another wizard to specify the proxy settings (if applicable), as shown in the following screenshots.
    Installation initialization

    Installation initialization

    Specify the proxy settings

    Specify the proxy settings

    Installing the agent

    Installing the agent

  12. A new wizard opens up to register the server to the Recovery Services vault wherein you have to specify the vault credentials you downloaded earlier.
    Vault identification

    Vault identification

  13. On the next screen, you need to provide a passphrase to use for encrypting and decrypting backups on this server. Note that the passphrase should be at least 16 characters long. You can enter it manually or click Generate Passphrase to generate a complex passphrase. You then need to specify a location to save the passphrase to.
    Specify encryption settings

    Specify encryption settings

  14. After you click Next, the server registration will start.
    Server registration

    Server registration

  15. After this, you will return to the main installation wizard to complete the installation.
    Completing the installation

    Completing the installation

  16. After the installation completes, you will receive a confirmation of the successful installation.
    Installation complete

    Installation complete

Troubleshooting tips ^

When checking the prerequisites in the SQL Settings steps, you might encounter the error ".Net 3.5 SP1 is not installed on this machine" and "The missing prerequisite (Hyper-VPowerShell) has been installed" if you didn't meet the prerequisites mentioned at the beginning of the article.

Missing prerequisites

Missing prerequisites

During the server registration to the Recovery Services vault, you might encounter the following error: "Invalid vault credentials provided. The file is either corrupted or does not have the latest credentials associated with recovery service." This error may occur for one of the following reasons:

  • You might have downloaded the vault credentials from more than two days ago. In this case, you need to redownload the vault credentials and use the new downloaded file.
  • The vault credentials file is located at a network location. You need to change it to a local path.
  • The folder C:\Windows\Temp contains more than 60,000 files. You then have to delete some of the unneeded files to free up space for the Azure agent.
  • The date and time of your server are incorrect.
Invalid vault credentials error

Invalid vault credentials error

During the installation, you might face some of the following issues:

  • Setup could not update the registry metadata. This update failure could lead to overuse of storage consumption. To avoid this, update the Resilient File System (ReFS) trimming registry entry: Set the SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem\RefsEnableInlineTrim dword value to 1.
  • With the above issue, you also have to create the registry key SOFTWARE\Microsoft Data Protection Manager\Configuration\VolSnapOptimization\WriteIdswith an empty string value.

Conclusion ^

Microsoft Azure Backup Server is a free tool that allows you to back up your files, folders, applications, VMs, and so on to local disks for short-term retention and to Azure for long-tearm retention. Of course, you have to pay for storage consumption in Azure. In my next post I will explain how to configure MABS.

Subscribe to 4sysops newsletter!

In my next post I will discuss a few post installation tasks.

avataravatar
2 Comments
  1. Badshah 3 years ago

    MABS is not free. If you intend to backup instances on a local disk you will be still charged for instances.

    • Author

      This is called a service usage charges.  The product itself is free and that is what I meant.

Leave a reply to Mohamed A. Waly (Rank: 2)
Click here to cancel the reply

Please enclose code in pre tags

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

© 4sysops 2006 - 2021

CONTACT US

Please ask IT administration questions in the forums. Any other messages are welcome.

Sending

Log in with your credentials

or    

Forgot your details?

Create Account