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Manage Online Backup in Windows Server Essentials

Published: August 21, 2012

Updated: April 23, 2014

Applies To: Azure Backup, Windows Server 2012 Essentials, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials

This topic applies to a server running Windows Server 2012 Essentials or Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials, or to a server running Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard or Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter with the Windows Server Essentials Experience role installed.

After you integrate with Microsoft Azure Backup, the Online Backup management page appears in the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard. The Online Backup page makes it possible to perform common administrative tasks. The features on the Online Backup page include:

  • The following sub-section pages:

    • Online Backup  After you register the server for online backup, this section displays the current backup status, storage status, and account information.

    • Protected Folders  This section lists all shared folders and all File History folders on the server, and any other folders that you have chosen to back up in Azure. The list includes the folder name, folder path, and status for each shared folder.

    • Backup History  This section displays a list of recent online backups. The list includes the type of operation, and the time and status for each backup.

  • A details pane with additional information about a selected backup job or restore job.

  • A tasks pane that includes a set of administrative tasks that you can perform.

As a best practice, you should back up the most important business and user data. For example, you should back up server folders that contain critical data files. You should also back up the File History for network computers that contain critical information.

When deciding which data to back up online, consider the backup frequency and retention policy that you want to implement. Then review your budget and determine the amount of storage space you can afford. Balance the cost and volume of storage against your needs, and then configure online backup to protect as much of your important data as possible. For pricing information, see pricing details for Azure Backup.

The following sections describe various online backup tasks that can appear in the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard.

Before you can use Azure Backup for online backups in Windows Server Essentials, you must upload a public certificate to register with the backup vault. The certificate is used to authenticate the Azure Backup deployment (the agent), acting on behalf of the Microsoft Online Services subscription owner to manage resources associated with the subscription.

noteNote
Before you upload the certificate, you must complete the procedures in Sign up for Azure Backup Service.

  1. Log on to the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard with an administrator account.

  2. On the Dashboard Home page, click ONLINE BACKUP.

  3. In the ONLINE BACKUP area, click Upload certificate to Azure Backup vault.

    That opens Recovery Services in the Azure Management Portal. If you aren’t already signed in to Azure, you'll need to sign in using your Microsoft account.

  4. Click the name of the backup vault you'll use for online backups to open the Quick Start page for the backup vault.

  5. Click Manage Certificate.

  6. In the Manage Certificate dialog box, paste the path of the public certificate generated by Windows Server Essentials. To obtain the path of the public certificate, do the following:

    1. On the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard, click the Online Backup tab.

    2. On the Online Backup page, copy the path of the generated certificate.

    3. Switch to the Azure Management Portal, and then in the Manage Certificate dialog box, paste the path to upload the generated public certificate.

    noteNote
    You can also use your own public certificate. To know what certificate is required, on the Quick Start page, click the Acquire Certificate link.

    noteNote
    Azure requires an x.509 v2 certificate with a public key. For more information, see Manage vault certificates.

  7. After you select the certificate, click OK (check mark).

  8. You are returned to the Quick Start page. Click Dashboard, and verify that the certificate was uploaded successfully. After the certificate is uploaded successfully, the dashboard displays the certificate thumbprint and expiration date.

After completing this procedure, do the following:

  1. Register the server with the Azure Backup Service. For more information, see Register this server for backup.

  2. Configure online backup of the server. For more information, see Configure online backup.

After you register the server with Azure Backup, you can configure the online backup settings in Windows Server Essentials.

  1. Either from the Register Your Server Wizard or from the Online Backup page of the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard, click Configure online backup. The Configure Online Backup Wizard appears.

  2. On the Configure Online Backup page of the wizard, select the check box for each server folder that you want to back up to Azure Backup. Clear the check box for each server folder that you do not want to include in the backup. To add folders that are not shown in the list, click Add Folders. When you finish your selection, click Next.

    noteNote
    You cannot select a folder that is not located on the local server, or a folder that is on a drive that is formatted as ReFS.

  3. On the Add File History Backups page of the wizard, you can select to include File History Backups for network computers that support the File History feature. Then click Next to continue.

  4. On the Specify the Backup Schedule page of the wizard, configure the following and then click Next to continue:

    • Select or accept the time of day when you want the online backup to run. The default time is 10:00 PM. You may also specify a time to run a second backup.

    • Select or accept the days when you want the online backup to run. By default, online backup runs on Monday through Friday.

  5. On the Specify the Backup Retention Policy page of the wizard, select the number of days that you want to keep online backups, and then click Next. The default is 7 days. You can also choose to keep online backups for 15 or 30 days.

    noteNote
    Azure Backup always retains your most recent backup. If the backup destination does not have sufficient space available to store the backup, the backup process will not succeed. To avoid this situation, either purchase additional storage space, or shorten the data retention period. For pricing information, see Pricing Details for Microsoft Azure Backup.

  6. On the Choose your bandwidth usage page of the wizard, if you want to restrict the amount of Internet bandwidth that is allocated to online backup, select Enable Internet bandwidth usage. Use the options on the page to specify how much Internet bandwidth to allow your online backup to use during work hours and during non-work hours. Then define your business hours and business days.

    noteNote
    Azure Backup allows you to customize how the integration software utilizes the network bandwidth when backing up or restoring information. Using a technique commonly known as “throttling,” you can control the amount of network bandwidth that is available for use by the backup and restore processes during specific day and time intervals. After selecting the Enable Internet bandwidth usage check box in the Configure Online Backup wizard, you can specify the workdays and work hours during which to apply the work-hours bandwidth limit. The non-work-hours limit is used at all other times. Valid bandwidth ranges are from 256 Kbps to Unlimited for both limits.

  7. When the online backup configuration completes, click Close.

    TipTip
    After a successful backup configuration, the Online Backup page shows the status of the most recent online backup and the amount of storage space used by the backup vault. To see the status of previous backups, click Backup History.

noteNote
Before you can start an online backup, you must first Register this server for backup, and then Configure online backup.

  1. Log on to the Dashboard as an administrator.

  2. On the navigation bar, click ONLINE BACKUP.

  3. In the Online Backup Tasks pane, click Start backup now.

The Restore Files and Folders Wizard guides you through the process of locating, selecting, and restoring files and folders that are backed up online. As you advance through the wizard, you will perform the following tasks:

  1. Choose an online backup from which to restore files and folders

    When you run the Restore Files and Folders Wizard, the first thing that you must do is specify if you want to restore files from an online backup of the server that you are currently logged on to, or from a backup of a different server.

  2. Choose a server from which to restore files and folders

    If you chose to restore files and folders from a different server, select the server you want to restore from in the list of available servers, and then click Next.

  3. Choose a volume that contains the files and folders to be restored

    Online backups contain volumes that correspond to the volumes on the backup source server. After you select the volume, select the date and time of the backup from which to restore, and then click Next.

  4. Select files and folders to restore

    On the Select Items To Restore page of the wizard, you can open the various folder locations and select the check box for each file or folder that you want to restore. When you are finished selecting files, click Next.

  5. Specify the destination location for restored files and folders

    The Specify Restore Options page of the wizard allows you to specify where to restore files and folders. There are two options:

    • Restore to the original location. Select this option to restore files and folders to the exact location from which the backup originated.

    • Restore to a different location.  Choose this option to specify a different location on the server in which to restore the files.

      In the default installation, if a file with the same name as a restore file already exists at the destination location, the wizard creates a copy of the original file. Additionally, the Access Control List (ACL) is updated to reflect current file permissions. You can click Advanced to customize the default settings.

  6. Confirm the restoration information

    The Confirm Your Restoration Information page provides a summary of the restore instructions that you have specified. To proceed with file restore, you must type the correct passphrase for your online backup account.

To back up or restore files, folders, and file history on your Windows Server Essentials server to Azure Backup, you must first register your server with the Microsoft Azure Backup Service.

noteNote
Before you register your server, you must upload a certificate to use with the backup vault that will store the online backups. For more information, see Upload a certificate to the Azure Backup vault.

  1. Log on to the server as an administrator, and open the Dashboard.

  2. On the navigation bar, click ONLINE BACKUP.

  3. In the Online Backup subsection, click Register.

  4. Choose the certificate that you want to use with the backup vault for your online backups. The default certificate is selected by default; if you want to choose a different certificate, use Browse. Then click Next.

  5. Follow the instructions in the wizard to create a passphrase and then complete the registration.

CautionCaution
If you unregister your Windows Server Essentials server from the Microsoft Azure Backup Service, Azure Backup can no longer back up the server. Additionally, server data that was previously uploaded will be erased. To resume online backups, you must register the server again.

  1. Sign in to the Azure Management Portal.

  2. Click Recovery Services.

  3. In Recovery Services, click the name of the backup vault.

  4. From the Quick Start page for the vault, click Servers.

  5. Select the server, click Delete, and then click Yes at the confirmation prompt.

It is easy to make changes to the online backup policy by using the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard.

  1. Log on to the Dashboard as an administrator.

  2. On the navigation bar, click Online Backup.

  3. In the Online Backup Tasks pane, click Configure online backup.

  4. Follow the instructions in the wizard to customize the online backup policy.

For more detailed information about the settings that you can customize, see Configure online backup.

  1. Log on to the Dashboard as an administrator.

  2. On the navigation bar, click ONLINE BACKUP.

  3. On the Online Backup tab, the Storage Status appears in the information pane.

  1. Log on to the Dashboard as an administrator.

  2. On the navigation bar, click Online Backup.

  3. In the Online Backup Tasks pane, click Configure online backup.

  4. On the Change or Remove the Backup Policy page, click Customize the Online Backup Policy.

  5. On the Configure Online Backup page, if the folder you want to include does not appear in the list, click Add folders.

  6. In the Add folders window, browse to and select the folder you want to include in online backup, and then click OK.

  7. On the Configure Online Backup page, select other folders to include as desired, and then click Next.

  8. Follow the instructions in the wizard to finish customizing the online backup policy.

For more detailed information about other settings that you can customize, see Configure online backup.

  1. Log on to the Dashboard as an administrator.

  2. On the navigation bar, click Online Backup.

  3. Click the Protected Folders tab. The details pane, displays a list of folders with their online backup status.

  4. Select the folder that you want to exclude from the online backup policy, and then in the task pane, click Remove the folder from online backup.

For instructions about how to use Azure Backup to back up or restore server data, see Register this server for backup.

For instructions about how to stop using Azure Backup to back up or restore server data, see Unregister server.

  1. Log on to the Dashboard as an administrator.

  2. On the navigation bar, click ONLINE BACKUP.

  3. In the Online Backup Tasks pane, click Stop the backup.

    After you stop the backup, a status of Canceled appears for the backup in the Backup History list.

  1. Log on to the Dashboard as an administrator.

  2. On the navigation bar, click ONLINE BACKUP.

  3. Click the Backup History tab. The list view displays the status for each backup job. Select a backup job to view additional details about that job.

Like many other alerts, alerts for Azure Backup are displayed in the Alert Viewer.

  1. Open the Dashboard.

  2. Do one of the following:

    Windows Server 2012 Essentials: On the navigation pane, click the alerts icon (may be Critical, Warning, or Informational). This opens the Alert Viewer.

    Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials: On the Home page, click the Health Monitoring tab.

  3. Review the list of alerts for issues that are related to Azure Backup.

For more information about using the Alert Viewer or Health Monitoring tab to manage alerts, see Manage System Health in Windows Server Essentials.

Windows Server Essentials provides a wizard that helps you configure the settings for online backup. If you want to restore the default settings, run the Configure online backup task, and choose the Remove the online backup policy option. Then, run the Configure online backup task again. Your previously uploaded data remains unchanged.

To prepare to integrate Microsoft Azure Backup with Windows Server Essentials, you'll log on to the Azure Management Portal with your Microsoft Online Services account, and then create a backup vault to store your online backups in Azure. You'll then download the Azure Backup Integration module, and use the downloaded file to install the Azure Backup Add-In on your Windows Server Essentials server. If you do not have a Microsoft account, you can sign up for a free trial.

To perform this setup, complete the following tasks:

  1. Sign up for a Microsoft Online Services account and the Backup preview.

  2. Create a backup vault to store online backups.

  3. Download the Azure Backup Agent.

  4. Install the Azure Backup Add-In on the server.

  1. Log on to the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard.

  2. On the Dashboard Home page, click the ADD-INS category, click Integrate with Azure Backup, and then click Click to sign up for Azure Backup.

  3. On the Azure Recovery Services page, in the Backup (Preview) section, review the details.

  4. If you do not have an Azure subscription, click Free Trial, and then follow the instructions to get an Azure subscription.

    If you already have an Azure subscription, click Portal in the upper-right corner of the web page to go to the Azure Management Portal.

  5. On the Azure Management Portal page, you'll see Recovery Services in the left pane. That’s where you’ll manage the backup vaults that store your online backups from Windows Server Essentials.

  1. Sign in to the Azure Management Portal from the web browser on your Windows Server Essentials server.

  2. In the Azure Management Portal, click New, click Data Services, click Recovery Services, click Backup Vault, and then click Quick Create.

  3. Enter a name for your backup vault, choose the region where you want to store your backups, and then click Quick Create.

    The Recovery Services area opens with your new backup vault displayed.

  1. Open the Windows Server Essentials Dashboard.

  2. On the Dashboard Home page, click the Get Started tab, click the ADD-INS category, click Integrate with Azure Backup, and then click Click to download Azure Backup integration module.

  1. Sign in to your server using an administrator account, and then run the OnlineBackupAddin.wssx file that you downloaded in the preceding step.

  2. The Software License Terms are displayed. If you agree with the terms and conditions, click Accept to continue the installation.

  3. On the Install the add-in page, click Install the Add-in.

    noteNote
    You might be required to restart the server in order to install any prerequisite software.

    The Installation page is displayed. A progress indicator displays when the installation begins and shows the progress of the installation. When the installation is complete, you will receive a message that the Azure Backup Add-in was installed successfully.

  4. Click Finish.

  5. Close and reopen the Dashboard.

    A new tab, Online Backup, is added to the Dashboard. From this tab, you can register your server, configure backup settings, and open Recovery Services in the Azure Management Portal to manage the backup vaults for your servers.

After completing these steps, do the following:

  1. In Windows Server 2012 Essentials, upload a certificate to use for online backups. For more information, see Upload a certificate to the Azure Backup vault.

  2. Register the server with the Azure Backup vault. For more information, see Register this server for backup.

  3. Configure online backup of the server. For more information, see Configure online backup.

The Microsoft Azure Backup integration module is a new feature of Windows Server Essentials that enables you to encrypt and back up files and folders from your server to an Azure-hosted storage system provided by Microsoft. By using Azure Backup to encrypt and back up data on the server, you can help prevent catastrophic loss of critical business data due to fire, flood, theft, or other disasters. When you use Azure Backup to back up server data, the information is encrypted using your passphrase before it is uploaded to a secure datacenter on the Internet. To access data from an online backup, you must have a server that is authenticated by a certificate and must provide the passphrase.

After integrating and registering the server with Azure Backup, you can configure online backup settings to perform regularly scheduled backups. You can also initiate an online backup at any time by clicking the Start backup now task in the Online Backup Dashboard.

The online backup setup involves these steps:

  1. Sign up for Azure Backup Service - After you sign up for the Backup service, you will create a backup vault, download and install the Azure Backup integration module.

  2. Upload a certificate to the Azure Backup vault

  3. Register this server for backup

  4. Configure online backup

noteNote
Azure Backup uses the passphrase to encrypt files and folders for the online backup. Changing the encryption passphrase will replace the passphrase that you specified when you registered the server. The passphrase accepts only ASCII-coded characters.

The Protected Folders sub-section in the Online Backup section of the Dashboard displays a list of all shared folders on the server. The following table describes the information that is included in the list.

 

Column Description

Folder Name:

The name of the folder that is included in the online backup.

To add or exclude a folder, run the Configure online backup task.

Folder Path:

The location of the folder.

Status:

There are three types of status – Protected, Not protected, and Unknown.

The Backup History sub-section in the Online Backup section of the Dashboard displays a list of recent online backups. You can use successful backups to restore file and folders. The following table describes the information that is included in the list.

 

Column Description

Operation:

There are two types of operations - Backup and Restore.

Time:

This is the time logged for the most recent status.

Status:

There are five types of status – Success, In progress, Canceled, Warning, and Unsuccessful.

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