Table of contents

Welcome back everyone for Part 2 of our series on hosting an Altaro Offsite Server in Microsoft Azure! In Part 1 we covered the planning and pricing aspects of placing an Altaro Offsite Server in Microsoft Azure. While that post was light on the technical how to, this post is absolutely filled with it!

Below you’ll find a video that walks through the entire process from beginning to end. In this video we’ll be doing the following:

  1. Provision a new 2012 R2 virtual machine inside of Azure
  2. Configure Azure Security Group port settings
  3. Define External DNS settings
  4. RDP into the new server and install the Altaro Offsite Server software.
  5. Attach a 1TB virtual data disk to the VM
  6. Configure a new Altaro Offsite Server user account and attach the virtual disk from step 5.
  7. Log into the on-premises instance of Altaro VM Backup and define a new offsite backup location.

Once these steps are complete, you’ll have a good starting offsite server to vault your backups too. I would like to note however, that for the purposes of this demo, it is assumed that you have no more than 1TBs worth of data to vault offsite. Microsoft Azure imposes a hard 1TB size limitation on virtual hard disks, and while there are ways around this limitation, they are outside the scope of the basic installation and setup instructions included in this post. I will be covering those situations in the next part of this series. Outside of that, the installation instructions covered here, are the same regardless.

The process is fairly straight forward, and I’ve done it in a way that doesn’t require a full understanding of Azure for this to work. However, I highly encourage you to take the time to learn about how Azure functions. With that said, lets get to the video!

 

As you can see, the process really isn’t that difficult once it’s broken down. If you have any follow up questions of need clarification on anything, feel free to let me know in the comments section below, and stay tuned for more advanced scenarios coming up next in this series!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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13 thoughts on "How to Setup an Altaro Offsite Server in Microsoft Azure"

  • Willem says:

    Hi Andy,
    Many thanks for a very neat article!
    Just one Q which might seem a bit basic, but how to perform the initial offsite copy when disk seeding would be required?
    Many thanks again
    Willem

    • Hi Willem! Thanks for the question!

      It’s possible to do disk seeding with Azure, but I would first think twice about why you can’t send it over the wire. Is it a bandwidth issue? The main reason I ask when customers bring this up, is because if there is a concern about the initial transfer over the wire taking to long, I’m guessing it’s going to be too long in a full site recovery situation as well. You don’t want to be waiting for a long time to get your data in a site down situation because you don’t have enough bandwidth.

      If it’s more of a, you just need to get a copy offsite urgently for some reason, Azure does have Import/Export Services where you can send in a disk containing the data you want uploaded. Once that is complete, you simply need to get it connected as a storage device to the VM running our software, and then you can go from there. Details on how to get the disk shipped to Azure are located HERE. This has given me another idea for another post in this series, so I’ll be looking at demonstrating how this works in a future segment.

      Hope this helps!

  • Willem says:

    Hi Andy,
    Many thanks for a very neat article!
    Just one Q which might seem a bit basic, but how to perform the initial offsite copy when disk seeding would be required?
    Many thanks again
    Willem

  • Jon Osmanson says:

    So did you ever do part 3? Microsoft Azure imposes a hard 1TB size limitation on virtual hard disks, and while there are ways around this limitation, they are outside the scope of the basic installation and setup instructions included in this post. I will be covering those situations in the next part of this series. I have done this setup but I need more storage in my VM.

  • Steve Hart says:

    Great article Andy, thank you. A few additional questions –

    Is there any way to estimate disk read/write operations based on initial backup sizes and daily delta sizes, so that we can predict these costs from the cloud provider?

    We’re an MS/Azure shop but the 1TB size limitation is problematic, and the cost for Azure File Storage is high. I assume this process can be replicated with AWS/S3/EC2?

    • Hi Steve!

      Glad you liked the article!

      It’s fairly difficult to predict the amount of needed writes, as it really depends on how much data and what type of data. It’s really going to vary from customer to customer. The good news is last time i checked the cost for actual storage operations inside of Azure were quite negligible (Unless that’s changed).

      As for the question about AWS/S3/EC2. I haven’t personally attempted it on that platform, but as long as you have a compute instance with our offsite server software running on it, that should be all you need as long as it can talk back to the on-prem instance of Altaro VM Backup, and it has visibility to storage.

      Hope that helps!

  • Steve Hart says:

    Great article Andy, thank you. A few additional questions –

    Is there any way to estimate disk read/write operations based on initial backup sizes and daily delta sizes, so that we can predict these costs from the cloud provider?

    We’re an MS/Azure shop but the 1TB size limitation is problematic, and the cost for Azure File Storage is high. I assume this process can be replicated with AWS/S3/EC2?

  • Jan Mooten says:

    Hi Andy, thanks for the article, this is exactly what we need/want.

    Running this config for a few weeks now but running into problems that the connection to the offsite (Azure) server can’t be established after a while. After a reboot of the Offsite (Azure) server the connection can be established again. It looks like the Azure server is disconnecting when two offsite copies at the same time are running. Does this sound familiar to you? Do you know any setting we have to change? Can we limit the offsite copies to one at a time? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks in advance! Jan

    • Hi Jan!

      Unfortunately, I have not experienced that behavior. I would suggest getting a hold of our support team to first make sure there isn’t some issue with our software, then I would suggest reviewing your Azure Security Group logs for disconnection errors. Might be worth looking at the event viewer within the Azure VM as well to rule out anything at the guest level.

  • Jan Mooten says:

    Hi Andy, thanks for the article, this is exactly what we need/want.

    Running this config for a few weeks now but running into problems that the connection to the offsite (Azure) server can’t be established after a while. After a reboot of the Offsite (Azure) server the connection can be established again. It looks like the Azure server is disconnecting when two offsite copies at the same time are running. Does this sound familiar to you? Do you know any setting we have to change? Can we limit the offsite copies to one at a time? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks in advance! Jan

  • Lee Bishop says:

    Hi Andy,

    Do you have any suggestions on what spec the Azure VM should have?

    Many thanks, Lee

    • Hi Lee!

      I’ve seen as low as a standard A1 sized VM be used with no issues, but you’ll have to scale up from there based on your workload. The specs for the offsite server software are as follows:

      – Minimum of i5 (or equivalent) processor
      – 1GB of RAM and additionally 25MB RAM for every 100GB of data being backed up.

      You can use that as a baseline.

      The other consideration is storage. Due to the nature of page blob (VHDs) storage in Azure you can have a maximum of 1TB volumes. You can certainly stripe these, but based on the size of the Azure VM, you’re only allowed to attached so many block devices. for example, last time I checked (Which has been awhile) on a A1 sized VM, you had a max of 1 or 2 attached VHDs to the VM, which obviously limits your overall storage. Bigger VMs allow more devices.

      The other option is to use Azure files, which maxes out at 5TB for a single share last I knew.

      Hope that helps!

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