Windows System State Backup to Azure with Azure Backup is generally available

We are excited to announce the general availability (GA) of Windows Server System State Backup to Azure with the Azure Backup agent. We previewed the direct offsite of Windows Server System State to Azure using the Azure Backup agent earlier this year. This was a key addition to Azure Backup agent’s existing capability of backing up files and folders directly to Azure. With this GA release, the Azure Backup agent has full production support for protecting Windows File Servers, Active Directory, and IIS Web servers hosted on Windows Server 2016 all the way back to Windows Server 2008 R2. Backing up your Windows Server System State to Azure gives you a simple, secure and cost-effective way of protecting Windows Servers and enabling the recovery of dynamic OS and application configuration from Azure in the event of an IT disaster.

New features

  • Flexible backup schedule and retention policy for System State
    Now you can configure daily backups for System State at your preferred time directly from the Azure backup agent console. You can also set retention ranges for your daily, weekly and monthly system state backups. These options put you in control of managing your data.
  • Automation at scale with PowerShell
    Full PowerShell support for configuration, backup and recovery of System State so that you can automate protection of Windows Server files and configuration at scale.

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Benefits of System State Backup with Azure Backup

  • Comprehensive protection for Active Directory, File-Servers and IIS Web servers
    System State fully encapsulates Active Directory, which is the most important database in any organization and allows for targeted domain-controller recoveries. In addition, critical cluster information of File Servers and the IIS Web Server Metabase is fully contained in the Windows System State.
  • Centralized management in Azure
    Once it is backed up, all information related to System State backups across your Windows Servers is available in the Azure portal. You can also configure notifications directly from the Azure portal so you get notified of a failed backup and you can take corrective steps. You can also generate reports using Microsoft Power BI.
  • Cost-effective and secure offsite storage for Windows Server
    With pay-as-you-go Azure storage, Azure Backup eliminates on-premises infrastructure by directly backing up your Windows Server System State to Azure. Azure Backup also encrypts your backups at the source using a key that only you have access to. Additionally, enhanced security features built into Azure Backup ensure that your critical system state backups remain secure from ransomware, corruptions, and deletions.
  • Free restores
    With Azure Backup, you can restore System State files from Azure without any egress charges.

Follow the four simple steps below to start protecting Windows Servers using Azure Backup.

  1. Create an Azure Recovery Services Vault in the Azure portal
  2. Download the latest version of the Azure Backup Agent to your on-premises Windows Servers from the Azure Portal
  3. Install and Register the Agent to your Recovery Services Vault in Azure
  4. Start protecting Windows Server System State and other Files and Folders directly to Azure!

Related links and additional content

Microsoft Ignite 2017 Orlando, Florida!!

Within a couple of days, I’ll be visiting Microsoft Ignite 2017 in Orlando, Florida. With a lot of great content, it will be a great event!! I’ve already schedule my sessions and figured out some partners and companies I want to visit.

The main focus for this week is, Microsoft Azure (IaaS and PaaS). Hope to see you guys in Florida!! If you want to meet somewhere, please contact me by e-mail or Twitter! @Mark_Swinkels.

How big is the Microsoft Azure Cloud?

The Microsoft Azure Cloud is huge….very huge!! We could also say H-y-uuuuuuu-ge!!! This blogpost by Microsoft explains the current size and it’s still growing very fast!!

Here are some facts about Microsoft’s Cloud Infrastructure that powers Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Xbox Live, and many other services:

  • The Microsoft Cloud is made up of more than 100 datacenters worldwide.
  • The Microsoft Cloud serves over 140 countries.
  • The Microsoft Cloud is comprised of MILLIONS of servers, and growing!
  • The Microsoft Cloud is built with the latest hardware innovations to maximize efficiency.
  • The Microsoft Cloud is connected by enough fiber to stretch to the Moon and back 3 times!
  • Microsoft processes Millions of network requests per second backed by high availability infrastructure.
  • Everything is monitored 24x7x365
  • The Microsoft global infrastructure is 100% carbon neutral.
  • Microsoft has built one of the most connected networks in the world so you don’t have to.
  • Microsoft Azure is used by 85% of Fortune 500 companies.

Microsoft is also aiming to increase that figure to 50 by 2018!!

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First look at Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 2 Build 10074

Microsoft has released a new version of Microsoft Server 2016 Technical Preview 2, so I’ve installed this version immediately within my Hyper-V environment. After starting the setup, you’ll see there’re two versions:

  • Windows Server Technical Preview 2
  • Windows Server Technical Preview 2 (with local admin tools)

The difference between theese two versions is the User Experience. In previous version of Windows, it was called Windows Server Core Edition. So the version without the local admin tools, the user has no option to enable/install the graphical user interface (GUI).

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After the installation, you’ll see that there’s a difference between the User Experience. One version, the Server Manager is available and the other version has only a command prompt available. You’ve to manage this server from another server with the Remote Server Administrative Tools (RSAT). The version with the admin tools included, there’s a possibility to enable the Graphical User Interface (GUI).

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After a reboot, the server is turned on with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and it looks pretty cool!! And YESSSS, the start menu is back again 🙂 What a great time for some users!! With this new version of Windows Server, there’s is a complete new “world of bits and bytes”….