What's wrong with this idea?

To protect a bunch of local VMs with Azure Backup Server, how about protecting one instance of a Hyper-V host and the VM files in the host file system rather than each VM as a separate protected instance?

Given Azure Backup's pricing model of protected instance + storage and bandwidth, it seems I could reduce the number of protected instances this way, while still paying the same for storage and bandwidth.

Sample numbers: My typical Azure cloud backup bill of $800/mo includes about about 20 protected VM instances whose files could be backed up from the host instance instead. At $10 / instance / month, it seems I could save $200/mo or 25%. The storage and bandwidth charges shouldn't increase. I'd still be able to recover a whole VM (by restoring the vm files from the host backup) or specific files within the VMs virtual disks (by restoring the whole VM file, mounting it and rummaging around within it).

I don't know whether there is any file consistency problem specific to VM files captured on the host, but I can run the experiment.

Has anyone tried this approach? Is it known to work, or to not work?


Are you asking if you can drop the Azure backups of the virtual machines and the databases?

If so, the answer is yes. Companies have been backing up virtual machines and databases locally since well before Azure had the capability to back them up to the cloud.

You'll need your own local storage for storing the backups and you'll need to configure the backups yourself. You can use Windows Server Backup to back up the virtual machines and you can use the database server's native backup solution to backup the databases... or you can use any third party backup solution of your choice.

  • No, I do want to continue using Azure backup (Azure Backup Server gives me the option of local + cloud backup, which I am using). But I want to see whether I can get the cloud backup protection without having to pay retail for each local VM.. – BobHy Jun 17 '19 at 20:54

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/architecture/backup-archive-on-premises-applications/ shows the options at a high level. Azure Backup, or some other solution backed by blob storage.

Currently Azure backup pricing is per instance + storage in any scenario.

Backing up a file share of all your virtual disks is not what this is designed for, I doubt it would be easy to do in a safe and supported way. Change backup software if you do not want recurring license fees. If you really wanted Azure Backup, tell their sales that.

  • True facts, but not related to whether I can successfully recover a VM from a (blob) backup of the virtual machine and disk files made on the host server (instance).Will clarify the OP some more. – BobHy Jun 18 '19 at 10:40

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