Restore a Veeam Agent for Windows 2.0 backup to Azure

This process will outline the steps involved to restore a Veeam backup to an Azure VM.

In this case the backup is of an Azure Virtual Machine that has been backed up to a Veeam Cloud Connect provider, using the Veeam Agent for Windows (VAW).

The steps will be similar if you are restoring an on-site (non-cloud hosted) Virtual Machine (backed up using VBR), or an on-site physical machine that is backed up with VAW.

A limitation of backing up to Cloud Connect repository, is that you are not able to being a “Restore to Azure” job directly from your own VBR installation, this would have to be done by the Cloud Connect provider with their own VBR console, and you would need to liaise with them to arrange it to be done with your supplied Azure credentials. To work around this, we can download the backup files to a Veeam server of our own, and restore to Azure from there.

Before you start

You will need the following ready:

  • An active Azure subscription to restore the backup into.
  • A server running Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5, Update 2. (Preferably cloud hosted, but if local it will still work fine – just be much slower depending on your internet connection).
  • Credentials & access to the Cloud Connect provider where the backup is stored.
  • Enough storage on your server to download the backup files.

If you don’t have VBR license, you can download it from www.veeam.com and sign up for a 30 day trial.

Downloading the backup files

The first thing to do is download the backup files of the backup job from the Cloud Connect repository to your own VBR console. We have an Azure-hosted server running VBR 9.5 Update 2, and use it to connect to all of our customers Cloud Connect repositories.

  1. Just add the Cloud Connect account under Backup Infrastructure > Service Providers and fill in your account details.
  2. Once configured, you will need to make sure you have a backup repository that you can transfer the backup files to, and has enough storage. I have attached a 2TB disk to the azure server for this purpose.
  3. Under the “Files” section in VBR, browse the Cloud Connect repository and copy the backup folder of the VM you wish to restore. Paste them into your local repository folder. Depending on the size of the backup, and the speed of the connection, this will take a while.Copy Veeam Backup Folder
  4. Re-scan the local repository, and you will see that it has added one backup job in the rescan summary screen. Go back to the “Backup & Replication” screen in VBR. The backup will show up under Backups > Disk (Imported), or if it was encrypted, under Backups > Disk (Encrypted).Rescan Veeam Backup Disks
  5. If it was encrypted, right-click on it and enter the encryption key, so you can work with the backup.

Preparing the Azure Subscription

  1. Go to https://portal.azure.com and sign into the subscription you wish to restore the VM into. Once signed in, you’ll need to do the following items.
  2. Create a resource group.
  3. Create a Storage account (standard, or premium – depending on what kind of disk you want to restore to.. SSD is premium storage).
  4. If a specific “Virtual network” is required, create it too. Otherwise the default will be available during restore.
  5. Once this is created, switch back to your Veeam console. You’ll need to add the Azure subscription details to the console. Here’s how:
  6. Click the small “menu” button in the top left, and select “Manage Azure Accounts”, in the window that pops up, click Add on the right.Manage Azure AccountsAdd Azure Accounts
  7. Step through the wizard to add your Azure account details.

Note: When adding the account, I found that having two-factor authentication turned on would cause the restore to fail. I was able to add the account via this wizard, but when restoring, the job failed with a 403 forbidden error.

Restoring the VM

To begin the restore process follow these steps. There are a few things to consider when doing this

What disks to restore

System disk is a must for obvious reasons! However, you may not want to restore the data volume, if they had an additional data drive on the server. The reason for this is, when doing the restore process, there is no option to select different storage accounts per disk, and you may want to have your system volume on premium storage, and your data volume on standard storage for example.

To get around this limitation, you can restore the additional drives once the VM is up and running via the Veeam Agent volume restore console within the restored VM

What you would do is create an additional “standard” storage account from within the Azure web portal. Create the additional disk for your VM, selecting standard (not premium) storage, and attach it to the VM.

From within Veeam “volume restore” wizard on the VM, you can restore the additional disk to the newly available volume on the server.

I’ll outline the steps again further down when we are up to that step.

The VM restore process

  1. In the VBR console, right-click on the backup job, and select Restore to Microsoft Azure…. You will be presented with the restore wizard. Select your Azure subscription, and Location.
  2. Enable the Use Azure proxy VM (recommended) option – I use the same VM the restore job is being run from since it’s in the same datacentre that the VM is being restored to (in this case, Australia East).Retore Server To Azure
  3. Click Next. On the next screen, select the VM and click the Edit button down the bottom. You’ll be presented with a window to select the VM size, and storage account. Choose whatever size you want for the VM, and make sure you select the storage account you created earlier.Choose Azure VM Size And Storage Account
  4. Configure your exclusions. Click on the Exclusions button in the bottom right, and untick any disks you don’t wish to restore. In this case, I’ll only be restoring the system volume, and then will restore the data volume from within the VM using Veeam Agent for Windows. This will significantly reduce the time to get the VM online (but will just be missing the additional volumes until restored).Choose Disks To Exclude
  5. On the next screen, select the Virtual Network and click Next.Specify Azure Virtual Network
  6. Enter a restore reason on the next screen (if required) and click Next.
  7. Review the summary to make sure everything looks okay, and click Finish.Retore Server To Azure
  8. The restore process will begin. You’ll be presented with a progress window like below. Note the “remaining” data is reporting on the size of the volume. It can be misleading, as it will only need to restore the data within the disk – and can ignore empty blocks. To give an idea, this VM has about 45GB of data on it’s 127GB C: drive. The restore process took approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes, running at around 10-12 MB/s.Veeam to Azure VM Restore ProcessVeeam to Azure VM Restore Process

There’s no indication of where the bottleneck lies in this window, but a few things that may cause the restore speed to be slow may include:

  • The storage the backup lives on. (standard or premium storage will determine the IOPS of the disk)
  • The storage of the target VM being created.
  • The data centre – if it’s being put into a different location than the location of the backups (e.g. restoring from Australia East to Australia South East or something similar)
  • The processing power of the VM that needs to decrypt and decompress the backups.

Restore To Azure Process

Connecting to the restored VM

  1. Once the restore is 100% complete in the Veeam console, go back to the Azure web portal, and open the VM’s view. You’ll see your newly restored VM in there – running. Select it and click Connect to download the RDP file.Connect To VM Via Azure Portal

The VM will likely take a bit longer than usual to boot up for the first time, as it may need to reconfigure driver settings etc. I found I was not able to RDP to the machine for perhaps 5 minutes or so.

Adding additional Disks

If you have restored the system disk to a “premium” storage volume, and need to restore the additional data volumes to “standard” storage, you’ll need to perform the following tasks:

  1. Create a new storage account in the Azure subscription. Make sure it’s of the type you want (premium or standard).
  2. Select the Virtual Machine, and click on the disks option. Select Add disk.Add Additional Azure Data Disk
  3. Fill out the details for the disk (size etc) and save it. Wait until the process finishes in the Azure portal before proceeding.
  4. Now switch back to the Virtual Machine (log into it), open the disk manager snap-in and refresh/rescan the disks to detect the new volume.Use Disk Management To Initialise Disk
  5. You don’t need to format it, just make sure it’s initialized, so it’s a valid volume that Veeam can restore to.
  6. Open Veeam Agent for Windows “Volume Restore” application.Open Volume Restore In Veeam
  7. Click through the restore wizard to restore your required volume/s to the desired disks on the server
  8. Select a restore point
  9. Select the disk/s to restore and map them to the correct volumeRestore Data Disk To New Disk
  10. Click Restore.
  11. Once the restore process completes, the data volume will be accessible.

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