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Let's imagine that one of your business' physical infrastructure servers suffers a catastrophic hardware failure. You realize that you have no spare hardware to take the failed server's place. What do you do?
Or let's visualize an upcoming compliance audit that forces you to perform trial restores of your infrastructure servers. How can you do this without disrupting normal operations?
Both of those scenarios can be easily resolved by using CloudBerry Server Backup 5.1. I reviewed this product in an earlier 4sysops blog post. Today, however, I'm going to teach you how to restore a bare-metal Windows Server backup to the Azure cloud as an Azure VM.
Perform the image backup ^
If you haven't already done so, download and install the CloudBerry Server Backup 15-day free trial on one of your test servers. I decided to unlock the Ultimate Edition stock-keeping unit (SKU) for this tutorial. The main difference between the Enterprise edition and the ordinary Server edition is that the Enterprise edition
- Has an unlimited local storage limit (limited only by your local storage fabric capacity)
- Has an unlimited network share limit (the Server edition is limited to five network share backup targets)
- Backs up SQL Server and Exchange Server
Specifically, I installed the software on a Windows Server 2012 R2 domain controller named dc1.4sysops.local.
Click Image-based from the toolbar to start the Image-Based Backup Plan Wizard. To complete the wizard, you'll need to specify the following data:
- Storage target. I created a file system backup target, but remember that CloudBerry Server Backup can be used to send your backups directly to a cloud storage account.
- Backup type. We'll choose Image-based Backup here instead of System State.
- Partitions. I chose the option Back up only system required partitions to back up the System Reserved Partition and the system volume.
- Advanced options. Compression, encryption, retention policy, scheduling, and so forth are included. I accepted all defaults.
The following screenshot shows the CloudBerry Server Backup UI after I've successfully backed up my server. Take note of the Restore to EC2 and Restore to Azure VM buttons in the Recover ribbon group; we'll need them to complete the restore process.
Restore the image to Azure ^
Okay, now for the fun stuff. I'm going to restore my image-based, bare-metal backup to my Azure subscription as a running virtual machine. It almost goes without saying that you'll need to have (a) an Azure subscription (get a free account and $200 credit) and (b) a destination environment for your VM. This environment differs a bit depending on whether you're using Azure Service Management (ASM) or Azure Resource Manager (ARM).
If you're an Amazon Web Services (AWS) shop and not an Azure one, the procedure I give here works the same way for Amazon's cloud; it's just the terminology that will be cloud-specific.
Let's do this! In CloudBerry Server Backup, click Restore to Azure VM from the CloudBerry Server Backup toolbar to open the Welcome to the Restore to Azure Wizard.
Alternatively, you can navigate to the Backup Storage tab, select the Disk Image node, right-click your target image, and select Restore to Azure VM from the shortcut menu.
Select the storage target that houses your bare-metal backup and click Next to proceed. You have three restore types available to you:
- Latest version. This option makes the most sense for us to select today.
- Point in time. Restore to a particular timestamp.
- Manual. Choose your backup version yourself
You can restore as an Azure VM (which is what we're doing) or as a standalone Azure data disk. The latter option is useful when you simply want to harvest data from your backup instead of deploying it as a live VM.
Note that Azure has an internal 1TB limit for virtual hard disks, and Azure supports only Generation 1 VHDs as of summer 2016.
The next step is where the real work takes place. In the Specify Azure Virtual Machine Instance Details dialog (shown below), you select or define a new Azure VM storage account for CloudBerry's use, as well as Azure VM instance details.
If those configuration fields are foreign to you, then you'll first need to get up to speed on how to create an Azure VM so that you'll understand the terminology and the implications of your choices.
After a potentially long wait, your restore will eventually finish, and you can interact with the restored VM from within the Azure Portal. It's cool that CloudBerry's able to provision and start an entirely new Azure virtual machine based on your uploaded image backup and your provided metadata.
Here's a screen capture of my Azure Portal (https://portal.azure.com), showing my new dc1 VM:
According to CloudBerry, they plan to include support for Azure VM restore of Linux server backups in a future product release.
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In conclusion, it's great to see CloudBerry, which has historically been an AWS-focused independent software vendor (ISV), focus more intently on the Microsoft Azure public cloud. Their tool just works, and it functions reliably and efficiently.