What is Microsoft Azure Backup Server?

Want to have DPM without having to buy System Center? Now you can. It is called Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS). Well MABS is not really a full DPM but a scaled back DPM. Microsoft released Microsoft Azure Backup Server on October 7th, 2015. In this post I am going to break down what Microsoft Azure Backup Server is.

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Microsoft Azure Backup Server’s goal is to solve some problems that have existed with Azure backup for a while. These problems are:

  • -No centralization of protected servers with Azure Backup. Historically if you did not have DPM and you only had Azure Backup but needed to protect on premises server you would install the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services Agent (MARS) agent on your on premises servers. They would then be protected up to Azure.
  • -Without DPM Azure Backup can only backup files and folders. To protect workloads like SQL, Exchange up to Azure you needed to protect with DPM first and then send the data up to Azure.
  • -Purchasing a System Center license is not economical for some organizations.

Microsoft Azure Backup Server solves these issues because it is an on premises backup server. Under the hood it is a scaled back DPM so it gives you similar functionality. It lets you protect the same workloads as DPM to disk on premises first and then up to Azure or you can backup directly to Azure. Essentially it gives you two types of protection:

  • – Disk (D2D), giving high RTOs for tier 1 workloads
  • – Azure (D2D2C) for long term retention

Tape protection with Microsoft Azure Backup Server is not possible. This is not included in the product.

MABS also gives you a centralized location on premises to backup your on prem servers to, manage the backup agent of your on prem servers and see the status of their protection. MABS does this without the cost of a System Center license. It can be used when you subscribe to Azure Backup. MABS will require you to provide backup vault credentials during the setup.

From the Microsoft site on MABS pricing: “Microsoft Azure Backup Server will continue to bill customers as per their existing Azure offers (e.g. Pay-as-you-go, EA, Open).” You can learn about Azure Backup pricing here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-in/pricing/details/backup/

Now to get Microsoft Azure Backup Server you can either go download it directly here:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=49170

Or you can download from the Azure portal. Go to:

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Then click on the “Download Microsoft Azure Backup Server for Applications” link as shown in the following screenshot.

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Microsoft Azure Backup Server is great for organizations that need a backup solution without the cost of the entire System Center suite. Keep in mind this does not provide tape backup. However backup up to Azure for offsite is a cost effective solution and also now gives you on premises backup to disk as well.

Here is an official blog post on Microsoft Azure Backup Server along with “how to” videos. These videos will help you install and configure Microsoft Azure Backup Server. https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-microsoft-azure-backup-server/

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Unpacking The Operations Management Suite Android App

A while back there was a suggestion on Azure Operational Insights (Before renamed to Operations Management Suite) User Voice for an Android APP. You can see that here: http://feedback.azure.com/forums/267889-azure-operational-insights/suggestions/6686744-android-mobile-app . This would allow us to access our OMS data from our Android mobile device! It is no secret I am an Android user so I was excited for this. On the User Voice thread Microsoft commented that we could expect an app in the fall of 2015. Well on October 15th one of my colleagues Rob Plank tweeted that there the OMS Android app was available in the Android market (https://twitter.com/rob_plank/status/654706738222907392). They kept their word and now we have an Android App for OMS! In this post we are going to take a tour of the new OMS Android App.

On your phone you can search Google Play for Microsoft OMS or click this link Operations Management Suite to find the app. Go ahead and install it.

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Once installed you will find it with your other apps.

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You can also place a shortcut to it on one of your main screens.

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The first time you launch it you will need to either sign in or sign up.

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Here is a screenshot of the sign in screen.

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After you are logged in you need to select your workspace. You can see that I have 3 workspaces. Yes only a true geek would have multiple workspaces in OMS. LOL

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After selecting your workspace you will have a similar look and feel to the web based version of OMS. You will also notice 3 main areas Dashboard, Overview, and Search. The first one you will land on is Dashboard. To access the other 3 main areas just scroll to the right. NOTE: I did not see a way to add solutions to OMS from the mobile app. You will need to do this from the web application itself.

The Dashboard view is equal to My Dashboard in the full OMS web application. So whatever you added to your My Dashboard is what you will see here.

 

Android OMS App Full OMS Web Application
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Now if we go the Overview area this is the same view as we have on the full OMS web application. Overview has the solutions that you have added to your OMS. To see them all just scroll down.

Android OMS App Full OMS Web Application
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You will notice the Searches view also matches what is in “Log Search” in the full OMS web application.

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Operations Management Suite in SCSM Console

Today I was playing around with Service Manager and decided to add a view for Operations Management Suite in the Service Manager Console. I have placed it in a management pack for use in other Service Manager environments. I have uploaded the management pack to TechNet Gallery. Once you load the management pack an Operations Management Suite folder will show up within Work Items.

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NOTE: The first time you open Operations Management Suite inside of Service Manager you will see compatibility mode warning just click on continue.

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Here are some screenshots:

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Download the management pack here:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Operations-Management-10f68429

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System Center Futures 2016 and Beyond

UPDATE 9-4-2015:

***There is an upcoming FREE event covering the Future of System Center. This will be held on Sep 25, 2015 at the Microsoft MTC in Minnesota (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/mtc/locations/minneapolis.aspx). This is a must attend event for any company running System Center. For more info on this event visit: http://bit.ly/1JIHS48***

Last week I was able to attend the first ever Microsoft Ignite conference in Chicago. There was a lot of exciting news announced at this conference around the many Microsoft products and technologies. Everything was covered from SharePoint, Exchange, Unified Communications, Office, Windows server, Windows 10, all things Azure and more. This post is focused for any System Center professional that was unable to attend the MS Ignite 2015 conference but what’s to know what’s up with System Center. If you had any concern about System Center going away or just want to know about the future of System Center in general this post is for you.

During conference there were many sessions related to the various System Center components however there were a couple of critical sessions that covered the future of System Center. These are the Platform Vision & Strategy sessions. These are titled:

Windows Server & System Center Futures—Bring Azure to your Datacenter (Platform Vision & Strategy)

And

Platform Vision & Strategy (6 of 7): What’s New in System Center for Management

These sessions are important because they featured System Centers top guy Jeremy Winter and he talked about future direction of the management solutions. In this post I will sum up key information from each of these sessions.

NOTE: This post is my perspective on the Platform Vision & Strategy sessions from Ignite and do not represent the opinions of Microsoft.

Traditionally System Center has been a complete management stack for IT Operations. This is not going to change but will continue to get better. The stack consists of: Managing endpoints (PC’s/Mobile device/servers) – *SCCM/Intune* | Monitor – *SCOM* | Automation – *Orchestrator (SMA)* | Provision – *VMM* | Service Management – *SCSM* | Protection – *Data Protection Manager* | Self-service – *Azure Pack* also represented in the following screenshot from one of the session slides.

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So we are now in the year 2015 and have not had a new major version of the entire stack since 2012. However since the release of System Center 2012 we have seen a steady progression of enhancement to the stack. We have seen it move from SP1 to R2 and now updates and new features through update rollups.

These update rollups have been released on a faster cadence at a speed we have not seen from Microsoft before. In fact we have recently seen a round of new features in update rollup 6 and more announced at Ignite. Below is a list of key features that stuck out to me along with slides from one of the Platform Vision & Strategy sessions giving insight into where the System Center components are headed next.

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Desired State Configuration (DSC) Training

On February 25th Microsoft will hold a free all day training on Desired State Configuration (DSC). This will be from 9AM to 5PM PST on Microsoft Virtual Academy. Here us the Course Outline: Getting Ready for DSC Performing a Push Deployment Configuring Pull Servers for Deployment​ Deploying Configurations Using a Pull Server Resource Roundup Writing … Read more

Whitepaper – Service Management’s Role in the Private Cloud

I am happy to announce that today Savision just published a new whitepaper authored by me. It is titled:

Service Management’s Role in the Private Cloud
Dispelling the Myopic Perception

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This whitepaper sets out to define Private Cloud, the layers of Private Cloud, and those layers within which service management operates.

The whitepaper also explores having ultimate visibility into your organization’s business services. Business services discussed in this paper consist of configuration items (CIs), monitoring, and application maps; they are underpinned with incident, change management, and modern day self-service. In addition, the whitepaper explores the integration between Operations Manager and Service Manager, and the role Savision Live Maps Unity plays in this area. Here is an excerpt from the whitepaper:

“Technology needs of the business are changing, often faster than can be addressed by most internal IT departments.

It is critical for IT departments to shift away from the image of black box cost centers and slow moving dinosaurs that are hard to work with and become viewed as revenue-generating centers that are agile, fast moving, and business enablers with modernized IT services.

From the perspective of internal IT, there are some key steps that can be made to prepare and deliver “modern IT services” – with service management being a critical component of those services. This whitepaper explores these key steps from a Microsoft technology perspective as it applies to System Center.”

A huge thanks to both Kerrie Meyler and Sam Erskine for doing the technical review on this whitepaper!

To download visit:

http://savision.com/resources/white-paper/free-whitepaper-mvp-steve-buchanan-service-managements-role-private-cloud?utm_source=Twitter&utm_content=Whitepaper+by+MVP+Steve+Buchanan&utm_campaign=General

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Provide feedback to Microsoft (Azure Back-up & DPM)

Do you use DPM and or Azure back-up? Now you can provide feedback about these products directly to the Microsoft product group. The product group has added DPM and Azure back-up on user voice feedback forum on Azure. They watch this forum and now is a great time to get your requests and feedback in. … Read more

MVP Unplugged at TechED Video

Savision just released a video they put together of interviews with several MVP’s from TechEd NA 2014. MVP’s in the video include: Robert Butler’ Cameron Fuller Kevin Greene Ahmed Nabil Mahmoud Rick Heiges Colin Smith and me The video was to gather our opinions on the following topics: System Center & VMM Security Concerns in … Read more

Microsoft Private & Public Cloud Poster

On August 1st Microsoft released a new Cloud Ecosystem poster. Microsoft has a great Public and Private cloud story. With Microsoft technologies On-premises and public Azure and other Microsoft public cloud technologies such as Intune are really tied together. Microsoft Private and Public cloud consist of Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and … Read more

DPM Azure Cloud Backup – Setup, Config, Recovery

This topic has been blogged about a few times already. Some of the posts I have seen just contain information about the service and not the setup, are no longer current, or are missing information on generating a certificate.

I have decided to go ahead and blog about this to detail my experience in the setup. In this post I am going to walk through deploying Azure backup for DPM 2012 SP1.

Here is what will be covered: setup of Azure cloud backup, adding Azure cloud backup to a protection group, and recovering data from Azure cloud backup in DPM.

Setup of Azure cloud backup:

This is what the Azure management portal looks like and the first screen you will see when you go create a backup vault. To create the backup vault click on Recovery Services and add cloud backup.

You will notice that it gives you the steps you need to get started with Azure cloud backup.

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The first thing we need to do is create a certificate for our local DPM server and upload this to Azure.

Use the Makecert tool to create a local cert or use an existing local CA to generate the certificate for your DPM server.

Makecert can be found here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/bb980924.aspx as a part of the Windows SDK.

To install makecert.exe only select the option Tools under .Net Development in the SDK install wizard.



Here is the process to create a certificate for your local DPM server.

Open an elevated command prompt (with Admin privileges) and CD to the location where makecert.exe is stored.

On my server it was here:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.1\Bin Once are there type the following syntax:

makecert.exe -r -pe -n CN=YOURDPMSERVERNAMEHERE -ss my -sr localmachine -eku 1.3.6.1.5.5.7.3.2 -len 2048 -e 01/01/2016 YOURDPMSERVERNAMEHERE

After you create the certificate properly it will be created and stored in the same location here:
C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.1\Bin.



NOTE: The expiration date of your certificate has to be no more than 3 years from today’s date or

Azure will not like the cert and you will receive this error:


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