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Backup Windows Server 2016 with Microsoft Azure Backup Server v2

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Program Manager, Azure Backup

IT industry is excited in general about the general availability of Windows Server 2016 with enhancements to security and SQL, SharePoint and Exchange 2016 support. Virtual environments such as Hyper-V or VMware VMs are the preferred choice to run Windows Server 2016 that hosts various business-critical applications. Backing up Windows Server 2016 is critical not only for guarding against accidental deletion of data but also protecting against various security threats such as ransomware. Azure Backup is a cloud-first backup solution that helps you with protecting your business-critical data as well as provide enhanced security for your backups in cloud.

If you are running a file server on Windows Server 2016, you can use Microsoft Azure Recovery Services (MARS) Agent to back it up, or if you are running applications such as SQL, SharePoint, Exchange 2016 on Windows Server 2016, you can use Microsoft Azure Backup Server v2 to back them locally to disk for short term retention as well as to cloud for long term retention. MABS v2 is available as a free download with Azure Backup without the requirement of System Center License or SQL license for server DB.

MABS v2 brings in features that delivers improvements in multiple key areas of backup efficiency, performance, flexibility, and security.  With Modern Backup Storage (MBS), MABS v2 is turning around the way backups are stored by leveraging Windows Server 2016 technologies like ReFS Block Cloning, ReFS Allocate On Write and VHDX.  This leads to 3X faster backups and 50% reduction in storage consumption, thus reducing overall backup TCO. MABS v2 can also auto protect SQL workloads and VMware VMs to cloud and can be upgraded from an older MABS release efficiently and seamlessly , without the need to reboot production servers.

<MABS announcement video>

Key Features

Native Integration of MABS v2 with Windows Server 2016 capabilities

MABS v2 natively integrates with Windows Server 2016 capabilities to provide more secure, reliable and efficient backups.

Value Propositions

1. Efficiency: MABS v2 leverages Windows Server 2016 technologies such as ReFS Block Cloning, VHDX and Deduplication to reduce storage consumption and improve performance. This leads to 70% reduction in IOs leading to 3X faster backups. MABS v2’s workload-aware backup storage technology gives you the flexibility to choose appropriate storage for a given data source type. This flexibility optimizes overall storage utilization and thus reduces backup TCO further. Windows Server 2016 comes with Storage Spaces Direct (S2D), that eliminates the need for expensive shared storage and related complexities.  MABS recognizes and protects Hyper-V VMs deployed on any S2D or ReFS based SOFS cluster configurations.

2. Reliability: Windows Server 2016 introduced RCT technology that tracks backup changes natively within a VM.  This takes away the necessity of tracking backup changes by MABS v2’s filter driver.  As a result, VM backups are resilient, avoiding painful Consistency Checks in scenarios like VM storage migration.

3. Security: MABS’s ability to do backup and recovery of Shielded VMs securely helps in maintaining security in backups.


Support for vCenter and ESXi 6.5 (Preview)

VMware VM backup with MABS was announced as part of Update 1 of previous MABS release. With MABS v2, there are a couple if enhancements with respect to VMware VM protection:

  • MABS v2 comes with support for vCenter and ESXi 6.5 along with support for 5.5 and 6.0
  • MABS v2 comes with the added feature of auto protecting VMware VMs to cloud. If VMware VMs are added to a folder, they will be automatically protected to disk and cloud.


Be Sure to go through Introducing MABS v2 Modern Backup Storage, to understand how MBS works.

Related links and additional content

· Want more details? Check out Azure Backup documentation and Azure Advisor documentation

· New to Azure Backup and Azure Advisor, sign up for a free Azure trial subscription

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