How to install Microsoft Azure Backup Server v2 on Windows Server 2016

June 8, 2017 at 7:53 pm in Azure, Azure Backup, Hybrid backup, MABS, MABS v2, Microsoft Azure Backup, Microsoft Azure Backup Server, Microsoft Azure Backup Server v2, Modern Backup Storage, PowerShell, Windows Server 2016 by Wim Matthyssen

Last week Microsoft released the second version (v2) of their Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS v2). As a hybrid backup solution, this new release based on System Center Data Protection Manager 2016 (SCDPM 2016) enables you to store data onto disk (low RTO) and in Azure (long retention, up to 99 years). MABS v2 uses RCT-based change tracking by using Windows Server 2016. This makes backups more reliable and scalable, but also improves backup performance (backup jobs could be up to 70 percent faster). MABS v2, which is included with the Azure Backup service and currently has version number 12.0.332.0., now not only supports Windows Server 2016 (W2K16) but also vSphere 6.5 (Preview mode). Beside those, you can also use it now to backup business critical Microsoft workloads such as SQL 2016, SharePoint 2016 and Exchange 2016. Those can be running on premise (physical servers, Hyper-V or VMware) or in the Azure cloud. As a nice extra, you can also back up Windows 10 client workloads.

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In a previous blog post, I already told you all about MABS v1 on how to install it on a Windows Server 2012 R2. In this blog post, I will show you how you can deploy MABS v2 on a W2K16 server.

MABS v2 server requirements

  • MABS v2 can be installed as an on premise standalone physical server or VM, but also as an Azure IaaS VM (minimum size A2 Standard).
  • MABS v2 will run on following supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016 (is required if you want to use the Modern Backup Storage feature).
  • MABS v2 must be domain joined. Be sure to add the server to the domain before the MABS installation. Microsoft does not support adding this server to the domain after the MABS installation.
  • The processor minimum requirements for a MABS v2 server are 1GHz dual-core CPU, recommended 2.33 GHz quad-core CPU.
  • The minimum RAM needed by a MABS v2 server is 4GB, recommended is 8 GB.
  • The recommended hard drive space is 3 GB.
  • MABS v2 must have .NET 3.5 SP1, .NET 4.6.1 features installed as a prerequisite.
  • MABS v2 should also have Hyper-V PowerShell installed.
  • MABS v2 should be running a dedicated, single-purpose server. Either it cannot be running on the same server, which has SCDPM or a SCDPM agent installed.
  • A validate Windows Server license is needed for the MABS v2 server.
  • The MABS v2 server needs to have access to the Internet because Microsoft Azure should be accessible from the MABS server.
  • To temporarily store, the largest restore from the Azure cloud, some scratch space is required when needed. So keep approximately 5 % of the total amount of data that needs to be backed-up to the cloud free on the C: drive.
  • A separate data disk for the backup storage pool is required. Like every other backup product the recommendation for the size of this disk is 1.5 times the size of the data you are going to protect.

MABS v2 prerequisites installation

Before we start the prerequisites installation, be shore to have a Recovery Services vault in place (create a new one, or use an existing) and download the vault credentials. When downloaded, place this file on the C:\Temp folder of the MABS server.

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To install all required prerequisites, logon to the server you wish to use for your MABS v2 installation, open PowerShell and administrator and run the following commands to install .NET 3.5 SP1 and Hyper-V PowerShell (be shore to have the Windows Server 2016 installation ISO mounted – in my example to the D: drive). Be aware the server will reboot when the installation is completed. You can also download the complete script (.ps1) from the Microsoft TechNet Gallery.

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MABS v2 software download

To download the MABS v2 software open PowerShell as an administrator and run the following PowerShell script. You can download the complete script (.ps1) from the Microsoft TechNet gallery. The script will download all the necessary files (8 files), extract them and start the setup.

MABS v2 installation

Click Microsoft Azure Backup Server to launch the setup wizard.

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Setup will start copying some temporary files.

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On the Welcome screen, click the Next.
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This opens up the Prerequisite Check section. On this screen, click on the Check button to determine if the hardware and software prerequisites for Azure Backup Server have been met. If all of is OK, you will see a message indicating that the machine meets the requirements. Click Next.

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On the SQL Settings page select, Install new Instance of SQL Server with this Setup, to install SQL 2016 SP1. Click Check and Install. You could encounter some error messages. If so follow the instructions and most likely, you should reboot the server and start the MABS installation all over again.

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If the computer meets, the software and hardware requirements click Next.

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Provide a location for the installation of all the files and click Next. In my example, I changed all locations to my E: drive.
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Provide a strong password for restricted local user accounts (this password will not expire) and click Next.
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It is strongly recommended to use Microsoft update when you check for updates because this will offer all security and important updates for MABS. Select whether to use Microsoft Update or not and click Next.

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Review all settings and if all are OK click Install.

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Click Next to start the Microsoft Azure Recovery Service Agent installation.

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Click Install.

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When the agent installation is completed, click Next.

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Provide your vault credentials to register the machine to the Azure backup vault. Click Next.
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Provide a passphrase to encrypt/decrypt the data sent between Azure and your premises. You can automatically generate a passphrase or provide your own minimum 16-character passphrase. Also, enter a location to save the passphrase. If all is done click Next.

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Once registration succeeded the wizard proceeds with the installation and configuration of SQL Server 2016 SP1. This could take some time.

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It is possible that you receive the following error message, if so just click OK (you can change the staging area after the MABS setups completes).
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When setup completes successfully, click Close.
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Double click the Microsoft Azure Backup server icon on your desktop to launch MABS.

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You can also verify if the MABS server connection to the Recovery Services vault. To do so go to your Recovery Services vault, click Overview and click Backup management servers. There you should see the newly installed MABS server.

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As a final step, do not forget to run Windows update to install all necessary updates after the MABS installation.

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Now you are ready to start working with this brand new product. Have fun and till next time!

Wim Matthyssen (@wmatthyssen)

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