Your Guide to the Latest Windows Server Product Information
A number of people view the cloud in all or nothing terms – you move everything to the cloud or you leave everything where it is. The reality is that a lot of cloud adoption is going to follow the hybrid approach using both on-premises and cloud services. An example of this hybrid approach is Windows Server “8” which gets better when you connect it to the cloud. Today’s blog by Gaurav illustrates that by describing the Microsoft Online Backup Service, a new cloud based service for Windows Server “8”, which backs up your server’s data to the cloud so that it is safe and secure. That means that you no longer have to figure out where to store your backups so that they are safe. The cloud does that for you. This is an extensible model so it provides a great opportunity for partners to provide cloud backup solutions as well.
Gaurav Gupta, a Senior Program Manager on our Cloud Backup team, authored this blog
The Microsoft Online Backup Service is a cloud based backup solution for Windows Server “8” which allows files and folders to be backed up and recovered from the cloud in order to provide off-site protection against data loss due to disasters. The service provides IT administrators with the option to back up and protect critical data in an easily recoverable way from any location with no upfront hardware cost or resources other than an Internet connection. This service is built on the Windows Azure platform and uses Windows Azure blob storage for storing customer data. Windows Server “8” uses the downloadable Microsoft Online Backup Agent to transfer file and folder data securely and efficiently to the Microsoft Online Backup Service. Once installed, the Microsoft Online Backup Agent exposes its functionality through the familiar Windows Server Backup interface.
Getting started with Microsoft Online Backup service on Windows Server “8” Beta is a simple two-step process:
Below are some of the key features we’re delivering in Windows Server “8” using Microsoft Online Backup service:
Figure 1: Microsoft Online Backup User Interface
The Microsoft Online Backup Service only supports the Windows Server “8” operating system. It does not support Windows 8 Consumer Preview client operating systems or any Windows operating systems released prior to Windows Server “8”.
In this section, I am sharing some of the actions you would need to take for setting up your Windows Server “8” to backup or recover data from Microsoft Online Backup Service. To learn more technical concepts, functionality, and troubleshooting methods for Microsoft Online Backup Service, you can download the Understand and Troubleshoot Guide (UTG) from http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=29005
You can choose the Register Server action in the Microsoft Online Backup MMC snap-in to start the registration wizard, and sign in using a pre-provisioned Microsoft Online Services ID. You also need to set the passphrase to encrypt the backups from the server.
Figure 2: Register Server Wizard Account Credentials page
Figure 3: Encryption Settings
Using Windows PowerShell:
The following code sample illustrates how you can use Windows PowerShell to register a server with Microsoft Online Backup Service after establishing variables to use to supply your credentials.
$pwd = ConvertTo-SecureString -String <password> -AsPlainText –Force
$cred = New-Object –TypeName System.Management.Automation.PsCredential –ArgumentList <username>, $pwd
Start-OBRegistration -Credential $cred
(As a side note, there is a very good blog post on how to import/export credentials into powershell scripts)
Once the server is registered you then need to use the Set-OBMachineSetting cmdlet to specify the encryption passphrase.
$pass = ConvertTo-SecureString -String <password> -AsPlainText –Force
Set-OBMachineSetting -EncryptionPassphrase $pass
You can choose the Schedule Backup action to start the Backup Schedule Wizard to set the backup schedule in which you specify what files and folders you want to backup, how frequently you want to backup and how long you want to retain the backups in the cloud.
Figure 4: Schedule Backup Wizard: Item selection
Figure 5: Schedule Backup Wizard: Schedule time configuration
Figure 6: Schedule Backup Wizard: Retention Settings
To start a new backup from within Windows PowerShell, administrators need to define a backup policy, the data locations, the schedule for the backup job and the data retention policy for the backup policy. The following commands will setup variables for a basic backup job within Windows PowerShell.
$policy = New-OBPolicy
$filespec = New-OBFileSpec -FileSpec C:\Windows\Logs
$sched = New-OBSchedule -DaysofWeek Wednesday -TimesofDay 09:30
$ret = New-OBRetentionPolicy
The Windows PowerShell script will create a new Microsoft Online Backup Service policy named $policy that will back up all of the files and folders in the C:\Windows\Logs directory. The backup policy runs on Wednesdays at 9:30 AM and will keep the data in the backup for a period of 30 days.
To create the policy so that it runs the next time it encounters the scheduled task, do the following:
Add-OBFileSpec -Policy $policy -FileSpec $filespec
Set-OBSchedule -policy $policy -schedule $sched
Set-OBRetentionPolicy -policy $policy -retentionpolicy $ret
These commands put all of the previous variables into the $policy Microsoft Online Backup Service policy object so that it can be run at the next scheduled time.
If this is the first backup on the server after registration, the encryption passphrase must be set.
$passphrase = ConvertTo-SecureString <passphrase> -asplaintext -Force
Set-OBMachineSetting -EncryptionPassphrase $passphrase
Finally, save the Online Backup policy for it to be scheduled. Do this by running:
Set-OBPolicy -policy $policy
After configuration of the backup schedule is completed, backups will occur as per the configured schedule. You can choose to invoke manual backup using the Backup Now actions in Microsoft Online Backup MMC snap-in. Backup Now runs the schedule immediately and the backups include only currently selected items. If you want to backup additional files or folders not included in the original schedule, you will need to modify the backup schedule before using Backup Now.
Figure 7: Backup Now option in Actions page
You can use the Start-OBBackup command to start the backup immediately using the value held in the backup policy:
To recover data using the Microsoft Online Backup Service feature, click the Recover Data action in the Microsoft Online Backup MMC snap-in. As part of the Recover Data Wizard, you can choose the volume from where data needs to be restored and the date and time of the data to be restored. After selecting the date and time, you are presented an explorer view of the data which is backed up from where you can then select the items that you want to restore.
Figure 8: Recover Data Wizard: Select Volume and Date
Figure 9: Recover Data Wizard: Select Items to Recover
To recover data using Windows PowerShell, you can use the following commands to select the data which needs to be recovered:
$source = Get-OBRecoverableSource
$item = Get-OBRecoverableItem -Source $source
$FinalItem = Get-OBRecoverableItem -ParentItem $item
To run a recovery operation, use:
$recover_option = New-OBRecoveryOption
Start-OBRecovery -RecoverableItem $FinalItem -RecoveryOption $recover_option
Partners who want to offer their own cloud backup solution by integrating with Windows Server Backup, please refer to our Cloud Backup Provider API Reference at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh437322(v=vs.85).aspx
The Microsoft Online Backup Service gives IT administrators a powerful but simple option for off-site data protection of their critical file and folder data on Windows Server “8”.