Configuring Windows Azure Backup on Windows Server 2012 R2

A while back Microsoft made Windows Azure Backup generally available. The service makes it possible to store your backups in Azure. Backups can be performed directly to Azure so there’s no need to keep track of backup tapes or whatever you’ve used for backups.

What about pricing? The first 5 GB stored in Azure is free, after that the price is €0.38 per GB stored per month. If you sign up for 6 or 12 month plans there is some discount. There’s no cost to upload your data to Azure, but download costs around €0,045 per GB. For more details on pricing please use Microsoft’s Azure calculator.

In this post I will walk through the basic steps to get started. So what do you need to begin? Here’s a few things:

  • A self-signed certificate (use makecert to create this)
  • A Windows Azure subscription

First step is create the certificate, make sure you have makecert available and use the following command to create a certificate (replace NAME with the name of your server):

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

When the certificate is created we will need to import it on the computer. To do this locate the certificate, right click it and select Install Certificate. On the Welcome page select Local machine and click next.


Here you’ll check Place all certificates in the following store, select Browse, then Personal and finally finish.


Next you will need to logon to the Azure portal and create a backup vault. When logged in select +New in the lower left corner, then Data Services, Recovery Services, Backup Vault and then Quick Create like shown below.

New Vault

Type a Name for your backup vault and select the region where you want to store the data, and click Create vault. Windows Azure will now create the vault, this can take a few minutes. When done, select the vault.Vault Created

Here you will see 3 steps. In this case we’ll choose Manage Certificate and select the certificate we created earlier.

Manage Certificate

Next we’ll download the backup agent. If you’re using Windows Server Essentials select the second option, else select the first. When this is done, run the installer and install the agent. You might be asked to update the agent, just say yes to this. When finished, open the program – if you can’t find it, search for it from the start screen.

Search Backup Agent

Now we’ll register the server in Azure, select Register Server in the Actions menu on the right:


If you use a proxy fill out the Proxy Configuration page and click next:


On the Vault Identification page, select Browse and then the certificate created earlier:



The agent will now reach out to Azure and find the vaults in your account:


When finished you’ll be able to see the vault we created and the settings for it:


On the Encryption Setting page, type a passphrase with at least 16 characters or have the wizard create one for you. You can also choose to save the phrase to a txt-file – just remember this is clear text so anyone with access to the file can read it! – When done, click Register:


Next up you’ll have to configure a backup Schedule. I’ll cover that in another post 🙂

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