Microsoft Azure Backup Server aka MABS is a cloud backup solution from Azure Backup designed to provide data protection across a variety of enterprise IT environments to maximize their backup efficiency. However, the principles used in a traditional environment to back up a virtual environment are quite different from those used in Azure Backup Server. As such, it is necessary to get first-hand information regarding backup creation to VMware Virtual Machines with Azure Backup Server. The post walks you through this process.

Configure Azure Backup Server for VMware Server Workloads

Azure Backup Server can protect and is capable enough to backup VMware vCenter Server versions.

The first step in the process is to establish a secure connection with the vCenter Server. For this, it is essential to have a VMware Certificate Authority (CA) certificate installed on Azure Backup Server. Then you can use a browser on the Azure Backup Server machine to connect to vCenter Server through the vSphere Web Client.

But this connection will not be secure. To change this scenario, follow these steps,

In the browser on Azure Backup Server, enter the vSphere Web Client URL. Instantly, the vSphere Web Client login page should appear in front of you. At the bottom of the description provided on the right side, you can find the link to download the Trusted Root CA certificates.

Click the link to force vCenter Server to download a file to your local computer. For user convenience, the file is named ‘Download’.

After that, depending on the type of browser you are using, you will receive a message prompting you to open or save the file. It’s a good idea to save the file to a location on the Azure Backup Server, and when you do, make sure to add the .zip filename extension. With the .zip extension, it becomes easier to extract all the tools.

When you’re done, right-click on download.zip and select the “Extract All” option to extract the contents. Once the action is complete, all content will be added to a folder named certs. Two types of files will be visible under the certs folder. (Note: The root certificate file has an extension that starts with a numbered sequence like .0 and .1. The CRL file has an extension that starts with a sequence like .r0 or .r1. The CRL file is associated with a certificate . )

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In the certs folder, right-click the root certificate file, and then click Rename. Change the root certificate extension to .crt. When you do, the file icon changes to a root certificate icon.

Right-click the root certificate and from the context menu select Install Certificate. The Certificate Import Wizard dialog box appears. When it appears, select Local machine as the certificate destination, then click the Next button to continue.

Next, on the Certificate Store page, select the “Place all certificates in the following store” option, and click Browse to choose the certificate store.

Choose “Trusted Root Certification Authorities” as the destination folder for the certificates, then click OK as shown in the image below.

Before exiting the “End of Certificate Import Wizard Page” page, ensure that the certificate is in the desired folder. Once verified and everything looks correct, click Finish.

A dialog box should appear on your computer screen confirming the successful import of the certificate. Log in to vCenter Server to confirm that your connection is secure.

The second step in the process is to create a role and a user account on vCenter Server. So create a role with specific privileges and then associate the user account with the role.

Azure Backup Server uses one username and password for all backup operations. To add a vCenter Server role and its privileges for a backup administrator, complete the following steps:

Log in to vCenter Server and under the vCenter Server Navigator panel navigate to the Administration option and select it.

Under the “Administration” heading, select Roles and in its panel choose the Add role icon (the + symbol).

After confirming this, a ‘Create a role’ dialog box will appear on your computer screen.

There, in the empty field provided against the ‘Role Name’ box, enter some text. It must be specific to the goal.

Next, select privileges and check the icon adjacent to the parent label to expand the parent and view.

When you are done, click ‘Ok’. The new role will become visible in the list in the Roles panel.

The step above marks the end of the second step. The third step is to create a vCenter Server user account and permissions. To do this, navigate to the vCenter Server Navigator panel and find the “Users and Groups” section below. Select it to display “vCenter Users and Groups sign.

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From there, choose the first “Users” tab, then click the add users icon (the + symbol).

The action once confirmed will display ‘New user‘ dialog box. Below, add user information, then click OK. The new user account will appear in the list.

Next, associate the user account with the role and proceed to the final step of the process which includes adding vCenter Server to Azure Backup Server. To do this, use the Add Production Server Wizard. It helps to add vCenter Server to Azure Backup Server.

Use the Azure Backup Server console to access the Add Production Server wizard.

Underneath, select the “production server type” as shown in the image and choose the “Add” tab to add the VMware server to the list of added VMware servers.

Finally, go to the “Summary page” and add a specified VMware server to Azure Backup Server. The new server is added immediately. Click Next to go to the next page of the wizard. This marks the final step in the process with the Finish page showing you the results.

That was just the gist of the process. To read the complete configuration step by step, you can refer to this Microsoft documents.

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