Recently, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS). It’s technically a part of Azure Backup offering, but it’s a little different. In fact, it is more like System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) “lite”.

Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS), is functionally equivalent to System Center DPM with 3 differences:

  1. It has no system center integration features such as VM discovery and central console for reporting, monitoring and alerting
  2. It has no support for Tapes
  3. It requires an active Azure Backup Subscription

It can protect workloads that are running on Hyper-V, VMware or Physical hardware. It supports all key Microsoft workloads such as SQL, Exchange, SharePoint, Hyper-V as well as infrastructure workloads like IIS, AD and DNS.

The data sent to Azure is encrypted before it is sent to the cloud, sent over the wire on HTTPs and stored encrypted in Azure Backup Vault.

Microsoft Azure Backup Server itself is free, and you only pay for the storage consumed in Azure Storage. It also includes the license for SQL Server to run the service.

 

Let’s start with download and installation to see the “DPMness”.

 

Download MABS

You first need to have an Azure Backup Vault created. Once that is created, navigate to the Quick Start screen. Here you will see a new entry under Protect On-premises workloads > 1. Install Microsoft Azure Backup Agent and register your server, labelled “Microsoft Azure Backup Server for Applications”.

The info says: “Now get backup of Microsoft SQL Server, Hyper-V VM, SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, Windows Server, Windows Clients to Azure or to on-premises disks using Microsoft Azure Backup Server.”

MABS - Azure Backup Vault Dashboard
MABS – Azure Backup Vault Dashboard

When you click on the download link, it takes you to the Microsoft Azure Backup download page. Download all of the .BIN files and the .EXE.

MABS - Download
MABS – Download

 

Install MABS

After the download is complete, run the MicrosoftAzureBackupInstaller.exe to complete the file extraction. After the extraction is complete, run the Setup.exe. Notice that the splash screen looks similar to the DPM splash screen! It even has “DPM Protection Agent” and “DPM Remote Administration”. Click the “Microsoft Azure Backup” link to start the installation.

MABS - Splash Screen
MABS – Splash Screen
DPM Splash Screen
DPM Splash Screen

On the Welcome screen, click Next.

MABS - Welcome Screen
MABS – Welcome Screen

On the Prerequisite Checks screen, click the Check button. As long as the check passes, you can continue.

MABS - Prerequisites Check
MABS – Prerequisites Check

On the SQL Settings screen, choose the appropriate option and click the Check and Install button.

MABS - SQL Settings
MABS – SQL Settings

On the Installation Settings screen, specify the installation locations to use.

MABS - Installation Settings
MABS – Installation Settings

On the Security Settings screen, enter a password.

MABS - Security Settings
MABS – Security Settings

On the Microsoft Update Opt-In screen, make your appropriate selection.

MABS - Microsoft Updates
MABS – Microsoft Updates

On the Summary screen, review the information.

MABS - Summary
MABS – Summary

During the installation, the Azure Recovery Services Agent will also be installed.

MABS - ARS Agent - Proxy
MABS – ARS Agent – Proxy

On the Installation screen, click Install.

MABS - ARS Agent - Installation
MABS – ARS Agent – Installation

The installation will continue, with connecting to your Azure Backup Vault.

MABS - Vault - Creds
MABS – Vault – Creds

Create an Encryption Passphrase. .

MABS - Vault - Encryption
MABS – Vault – Encryption

Once the installation is complete, you’ll notice that it references DPM.

MABS - Complete
MABS – Complete

You’ll also notice that the desktop icons, although they say “Microsoft Azure Backup Server” actually look like the DPM icons.

MABS - Desktop Icons
MABS – Desktop Icons

And when you launch the Microsoft Azure Backup console, it looks a lot like the DPM console.

MABS - Console
MABS – Console

You can compare this with the installation and configuration of DPM, in my SCDPM 2012 SP1 Install & Config Guides.

 

Features

Since MABS is built on DPM code, the interface is almost identical. The only things that you will not see in MABS is any reference to Tape Libraries.

It works just like DPM, and can even be used in a standalone “offline” manner, where you can use MABS exclusively for local disk backup. It costs the same in terms of instance pricing, but you will not be charged for storage as you are not using Azure for the offsite backup copy.

 

Conclusion

So, MABS is great for the Small-Medium Business (SMB) environment, where it may be difficult to deploy the bigger brother Data Protection Manager.