By Alison / Last Updated September 5, 2022

Brief introduction to VM cloud backup

In terms of disaster recovery, offsite backup is certainly an additional insurance for data protection. No exception for virtual machines.

Many system administrators adhere to a golden 3-2-1 backup rule: keep 3 copies of data stored on 2 types of media, and at least 1 offsite. As a result, VM cloud backup is gaining popularity in the IT industry.

3-2-1 backup rule

Backing up VMs to the cloud effectively protects the backups from disasters, and allows unlimited restore at any time and location. Some cloud computing platforms, such like Microsoft Azure, even capable of creating and running VMs, at a considerable price, of course. If you want to reduce costs, you can also backup your VMs with affordable software and store them in the cloud.

In this article, I will introduce the steps of Microsoft Azure cloud VM backup as an example.

Microsoft Azure

How to backup VM to cloud via Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS)

1. Create a Recovery Service vault, configure On-Premises workload and select Hyper-V Virtual Machines as desired source.

Create Recovery service vault

2. Install Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) and setup according to the wizard.

Install MABS

3. Configure the MABS storage. Here are the Microsoft’s official storage capacity guidelines:

  • Average virtual machine size - 100 GB
  • Number of virtual machines per MABS server - 800
  • Total size of 800 VMs - 80 TB
  • Required space for backup storage - 80 TB

Set up the MABS protection agent on the Hyper-V server or Hyper-V cluster nodes.

Configure MABS storage

4. In the MABS Administrator console, select Protection > Create protection group to open the Create New Protection Group wizard.

5. On the Select group members page, select the VMs you want to backup, and enable colocation to locate data from different protection groups on the same storage.

Select protection group members

6. On Select data protection method page, provide a Protection group name, check I want short-term protection using option and select Disk, and check I want online protection.

Select data protection method

7. On Select short-term goals page, specify a Retention range, and how often the incremental backups should run, or MABS will run express full backup and creates recovery points according to the express schedule.

Select short-term goals

8. On Choose replica creation method page, select to Automatically or Manually create a replica of data.

Choose replica creation method

9. On Consistency check options page, select to Run a consistency check if a replica becomes inconsistent, or Run a daily consistency check according to the following schedule.

Consistency check options

10. On Specify online backup schedule page, define the schedule you want to create a backup copy.

Specify online backup schedule

11. On Specify online retention policy page, specify the retention policy which DPM will use to generate your protection plan.

Specify online retention policy

12. On Summary page, review all the settings and click Create Group. After you create the protection group, initial replication of the data occurs in accordance with the method you selected. After initial replication, each backup takes place in line with the protection group settings.

Microsoft’s official introduction: Back up Hyper-V virtual machines with Azure Backup Server

A free alternative to backup VMs and store in the cloud

As you can see, the process of backing up VMs to Azure with Azure Server is very complex. If you want to reduce costs, you can also backup VMs with affordable third-party software.

Here I introduce you to a free virtual machine backup software -- AOMEI Cyber Backup, which allows you to remotely backup VMs to network locations with 3 simple steps. It offers you the following benefits.

Agentless Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs.
Automated Execution: create backup schedules to automate virtual machine protection.
Restore Entire VM: restore immediately available VMs from any selected restore points.
Perpetual Free: you can use AOMEI Cyber Backup Free Edition with no time limit.

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions, as well as Hyper-V in Windows 8/8.1/10/11, Windows Server/Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 and later versions.

Next, I will demonstrate how to create an automatic backup task of multiple Hyper-V VMs. You can click the following button to download the freeware.

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

3 simple steps to backup multiple Hyper-V VMs

1. Bind Devices: Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, navigate to Source Device > Hyper-V > + Add Hyper-V to add a host. And then click > Bind Device.

Note: You do not need to repeat this step once you have bound the host.

Add Hyper-V host

2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task, and then provide Task Name, Backup Type, Device, Target, and Schedule.

Create a Hyper-V backup task

  • Device: cover multiple VMs on the host in one backup task.
  • Target: you can select to back up to a local path, or to a network path for safer storage.

Add a network path

  • Schedule: choose to perform full or incremental backup, and automate execution daily, weekly or monthly according to the frequency you specified.

Backup schedule

3. Start Backup: Click Start Backup and you can select Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.

Start backup

Created backup tasks will be listed and monitored separately, for progress checking, schedule changing and restoring.

While the Free Edition covers most of VM backup needs, you can also upgrade to Premium Edition to enjoy:
Backup cleanup: Configure a retention policy to auto delete old backup files and save storage space.
Restore to new location: Create a new VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup, saves the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.

Summary

Storing VM backups to an offsite location can further protect the VM data from accidental disasters.

In this article, I showed how to perform VM cloud backup via Microsoft Azure Backup VM Server, and introduced a free alternative to backup VMs to a network path, AOMEI Cyber Backup. Except for Microsoft Hyper-V, It can also backup VMware ESXi VMs automatically.