Windows Azure Backup

By Paul Ferrill

Microsoft has used the release of Windows Server 2012 to introduce new cloud integration features providing off-site backup to their Windows Azure service. While the capability is featured in the Windows Server 2012 Essentials product, it's available for the other versions of Windows Server 2012 as well. The service also works in conjunction with Microsoft's Data Protection Manager (DPM) component, which is part of the System Center 2012 product offering. You'll need SP1 for System Center 2012 to get this feature to work.

The great news about this service is that Microsoft is offering a free preview with up to 300 GB of storage for up to six months. You'll pay roughly $37.50 per month for that same 300GB of storage after the trial period. There's even an online calculator where you can see what specific amounts of storage or other Windows Azure services will cost.


Microsoft provides two basic installation options for the Windows Azure connector tool. For Windows Server 2012 Essentials there's an OnlineBackupAddin.wssx file which is a Windows Server Solutions Add-In Package installer. For other versions of Windows Server 2012, you will use a normal executable file (OBSinstaller.exe). Step number one is to go through the process of signing up for a Windows Azure Online Backup account.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials has a tab on the home screen of the Dashboard tool labeled "ADD-INS." The first option available is labeled Integrate with Windows Azure Backup (see Figure 1). Selecting this option will display a link labeled "Click to sign up for Windows Azure Online Backup." Clicking on this link will open Internet Explorer to the Windows Azure Web page and take you through the sign-up process.

Figure 1 - Windows 2012 Essentials Server Dashboard

Windows 2012 Essentials Server Dashboard

Before you can complete this step you will need to add a few things to Internet Explorer in order to allow access to specific sites. The default security setting for Internet Explorer is the highest possible and will block any site that's not on the trusted sites list. You will need to add the following sites to the trusted list by opening the security tab and clicking on the trusted sites button:

  • https://*.windowsazure.com
  • https://*.microsoft.com

Once you have an account established you should see a download page (see Figure 2) with options for Windows Server 2012 Standard or Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

Figure 2 - Windows Azure Online Backup Download Screen

Windows Azure Online Backup Download Screen

This article was originally published on December 04, 2012

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