Azure, Azure Backup, Backup Explorer, FAQ, GUIDE

Deep-dive into the Azure Backup Explorer

In this blog post we’ll go deeper through the new service called “Backup Explorer” that was announced by Microsoft in early February 2020.

1. Introduction

On the 5th of February 2020 Microsoft announced a preview of a new service called Backup Explorer, you can read more information about the announcement over here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/backup-explorer-now-available-in-preview

The name is pretty self-explanatory, the Backup Explorer service provides the ability to consolidate all our Azure Backup items into one single view.

The Backup Explorer is currently only supported for Azure virtual machines (VMs), support for other services will be added in the future.

The purpose of Backup Explorer is to help out backup administrators by providing a single view, this drastically simplifies backup management within Azure.

 

2. A deeper look into the Backup Explorer

The Backup Explorer can be accessed from within the Azure Portal, by first going to our Recovery Services Vault, within the Overview pane,  select the Backup Explorer link.

BckpExplorer_1

Once we click on Backup Explorer we will see an aggravated overview from all our Recovery Services Vaults within all our Azure subscriptions that we have access to.

There are six (6) tabs within the Backup Explorer, we will go through them briefly and also show examples of what can be seen under each column.

2.1 Summary section

Under the Summary tab we have four (4) different options:

Subscriptions
We have the ability to select which subscrption we want to use, it is possible to select specific or all subscriptions.

BckpExplorer_6

Vault Locations
We also have the ability to select specific locations for our Recovery Services Vaults if we want, or select all locations.

BckpExplorer_5

Vault
It’s also possible to filter backups from a specific Recovery Services Vault, we can select either specific Recovery Services Vaults or all of them.

BckpExplorer_4

Time Range
Currently we can filter the time range for backup jobs and backup alerts from a minimum of 1 day (24 hours) to one week (7 days).

BckpExplorer_3

Below is an example how the Backup Explorer view looks like:

BckpExplorer_2

2.2 Backup Items section

In the Backup Items tab we have quite a lot of information, there are first of all two different views, the default backup item view is set by default:

BckpExplorer_17

In the standard view we can get sufficient information to know the status of our backups. As I mentioned earlier currently only Azure virtual machines can be seen as of writing this post.

2.2.1 Standard view

Under the standard view  we can see the following columns of information:

Backup Item
The item being backed up, as of today only Azure virtual machines are supported.

BckpExplorer_8

Resource Group
To which resource group does our backup item belong to.

BckpExplorer_9

Protection State
Is our backup item actively backed up or not.

BckpExplorer_10

Health Check Status
We can check the health of our backup.

BckpExplorer_11

Latest Recovery Point (UTC)
When was the last recovery point taken (in Universal Time).

BckpExplorer_13

Resource State
This gives us the resource state of a Azure virtual machine.

BckpExplorer_15

Azure Resource
This tells us what type of Azure resource is being backed up.

BckpExplorer_14

Vault
To which Recovery Services Vault does our backup item belong to.

BckpExplorer_16

Here’s a look how the standard view of the backup items looks like:

BckpExplorer_7.1(Open the image in a  new browser tab to get a better view)

2.2.2 Advanced view

In addition to the columns that we see in the standard view, we’ll get six (6) more columns with valuable information about our backups in the advanced view:

Soft-Deleted?
This column shows whether our Azure virtual machine has any backups that has been soft-deleted or not.
When soft-delete is enabled, soft delete enables you to save and recover your data when blobs or blob snapshots are deleted, you can retain soft deleted data for between 1 and 365 days.

BckpExplorer_18

Last Backup Status
We can retrieve the status of our last backup for all our backup items.

BckpExplorer_19

Daily Retention
We can identify which daily retention (in days) of our backups are using.

BckpExplorer_20

Snapshot Retention
We can also identify our snapshot retention (in days) for our backups.

BckpExplorer_21

Policy
The backup policy used by our backup item.

BckpExplorer_22

Info
Here we can see even more details about the backup item in question.

BckpExplorer_23

Below is an example what the “Details” button reveals:

BckpExplorer_24

2.3 Jobs section

Within the jobs tab we can see the backup job history from all our backup items being backed up by Azure Backup.

This view kind of works like an auditing view as well, we can identify the different statuses of all backup operations, their start time and total duration.

Below is the list of different backup operations:

Backup
When a backup job has been initiated.

Restore
When a restore job has been initiated.

Configure Backup
When backup is enabled on a Azure virtual machine.

Disable Backup
When a backup has been disabled on an Azure virtual machine.

DeleteBackupData
When a backup deletion has been initiated.

Undelete
When a backup has soft-delete configured, and the backup has been undeleted.

Below is an overview how the jobs tab looks like:

AzBckp_25.1(Open the image in a  new browser tab to get a better view)

2.4 Alerts section

The alerts section gives us a view of all alerts related to our backups. Whenever a backup fails for some kind of reason, an alert will be raised and shown under the alerts section.

The backup alerts can have three (3) different severities:

  • Critical az_critical
  • Warning az_warning
  • Info az_info

All backup alerts also have a status, there are two (2) different statuses for backup alerts:

  • az_warningActive
  • az_healthy Resolved

The backup alerts can also be filtered by the type of the alert, there are currently three (3) types available:

  • Backup failure
  • Restore failure
  • Delete Backup Data

 

If for example a backup job has failed, we have the ability to remediate very quickly by performing an ad-hoc backup.

Example – Create an ad-hoc backup

Let’s have an example to see how an ad-hoc backup is performed:

Navigate to our backup item by clicking on the link of the backup item from the list within the alerts section:

bckp_fail

This will take us to the backup item dashboard, here click on Detailed view.

bckp_fail2

From here we now have the possibility to trigger an ad-hoc backup by clicking on Backup now.

bckp_fail3

That was quick and easy wasen’t it?

2.5 Policies section

The policies section gives us a list of all our available backup policies within our Azure subscription(s). We do not only get a good overview of what policies we have, but also the details of the backup policy configurations.

In the policies section we also have two different views, a standard view and an advanced view.

2.5.1 Standard view

The standard view gives us an overview of the following columns:

Policy
The name of our backup policy.

AzBckp_28

Vault
The Recovery Services Vault used for the backup policy.

AzBckp_29

Protected Items
The amount of protected items that uses this backup policy.

AzBckp_30

Snapshot Retention
The snapshot retention time in days.

AzBckp_31

Max Retention
The maximum retention time for the backup policy.

AzBckp_32

Retention Daily [Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly]
The retention time in days used by the backup policy.

AzBckp_33

Backup Frequency
How often the backup policy has been configured to run.

AzBckp_34.1

2.5.2 Advanced view

In the advanced view we’ll see two more columns:

Scheduled Time
The scheduled time for when the backup will start.

AzBckp_35

Scheduled Day(s) of Week
The days of the week when the backup will run.

AzBckp_37

Note: If no specific day is shown in the column it means that the backup will run daily.

Here’s an overview how the whole policy section looks like:

AzBckp_38.1(Open the image in a  new browser tab to get a better view)

2.6 Backup Not Enabled section

Lastly we have the backup not enabled section, this will give us a view of all our Azure virtual machines that do not have backups enabled.

If a backup has been enabled on an Azure virtual machine, but the backup has been stopped, then it will not be shown within the “backup not enabled” section, only backups that never had backup enabled will be shown here.

Below is an example how it may look like:

AzBckp_39

 

3. Conclusion

The Azure Backup Explorer is a service that has been long-awaited for, it will certainly help every backup administrator out there keeping track of how the backups are doing, and not only that but also make their life easier by having everything in one single pane of glass.

Another great thing is that almost every view can be exported to CSV, which means we can easily use these as reports whenever required, it’s the small things that matter the most 🙂

 

 

 

 1,751 total views,  1 views today

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.