3 Steps to Veeam Cloud Connect Backup to Microsoft Azure

For the past few months, I have been working with a customer to develop their three-year strategic IT plan to support the growth of their business as well as to simplify IT.  Data protection is one of the many areas my team has developed an actionable strategy for.  I am a big fan of "improve, not replace" wherever possible as I believe that operational knowledge is harder to change than technology.  One of the missing components in this customer's backup strategy is off-site backup and disaster recovery.  Since this customer already owns Veeam and Microsoft Azure, and Veeam Cloud Connect works with Azure, i thought I would try out this combination.  The goal was to see if the combination is difficult to implement and fulfills the data protection requirements.  Read on if you want to learn how to easily get your Veeam backups off-site to Azure.  I would like to give a special thanks to Gaylord Friend from Veeam for helping me get over a few technical hurdles as well as Michelle Pappas from Veeam for always being there when I need her.

Step 1: Create a Veeam Cloud Connect VM in Azure

This step is much easier than you would imagine.  There is a pre-built Veeam Cloud Connect VM in the Azure Marketplace.  Click the + in the Azure Dashboard, type Veeam and choose Veeam Cloud Connect for the Enterprise.

Select the Veeam Cloud Connect for the Enterprise VM, read the description and click Create.

Fill in the usual VM information.  I suggest HDD rather than SSD as this is for backup. Click OK.

Choose the size of your VM.  Veeam recommends 4 GB of RAM.  For this test, I will choose A2 Basic to keep my cost down.

I'll accept all the defaults for the settings page and click OK.

Validate all the choices and click OK

Agree to the charges and click Purchase

After a few minutes, the Veeam Cloud Connect VM will be ready.

Step 2: Configure the Veeam Cloud Connect VM in Azure

The pre-built Cloud Connect VM has been configured about 95% for you.  You just need to allow incoming backups and set up a tenant username and password.

Click Connect at the top of the page for your Cloud Connect VM. Download and use the RDP specification to open a console to your VM.

 Use the username and password you defined during setup to login.  Make sure you preface the username with the name of your machine, such as Veeam-CC-Blog\dennis.

Once your desktop is prepared, you will be asked to license the copy of Veeam in your Cloud Connect VM.  My license is in my email, so I connected to web mail, downloaded the license file and then browsed to that file on the VM and clicked Next.

Accept the license and click Next

Read the next steps and click Next

Read the final details and click Finish

Open Veeam Backup and Replication 9.0 using the icon on your Azure VM desktop and choose the Cloud Connect section.  You will notice that a Cloud Gateway, a Tenant and a Backup Repository have already been set up for you.  We will tell the Cloud Gateway the public IP address of our VM and we will create a new tenant with a user name and password that we can use for cloud backup.

When you right-click on the pre-defined Cloud Gateway and choose Properties, you will notice that the external IP address for the Cloud Gateway is blank.  Fill in the IP field with the public IP address of your Azure VM and click Finish.

Your changes will be verified and the Cloud Gateway will be restarted.

The last step is to create a tenant with a storage quota and a user name and password for access.

Choose the Tenant section and click Add Tenant.  Create a user name and password and click "Backup storage".  Replication is not supported in Azure at this time, so do not check that box. Click Next.

The bandwidth screen allows you to limit backup bandwidth by tenant.  Click Next.

The next screen is Backup Resources.  Click Add, give your repository a name and choose the built-in backup repository.  Choose a user quota and click OK.

Click Next, then Finish.

Step 3: Connect the On-Premise Veeam to the Azure Veeam and Backup

Azure Veeam Cloud Connect runs version 9.0, so the on-premise Veeam must also run version 9.0

In the on-premise Veeam, choose Backup Infrastructure, Service Providers and Add Service Provider.  Enter the public DNS name (or IP) of the Azure Veeam Cloud Connect VM and click Next. 

In the Credentials screen, click Add, enter the Tenant user name and password you created and click OK.

Click Next and the tenant credentials will be validated and the cloud repository will be displayed.  Click Next.

All service provider settings are validated and saved.  Click Next.

A summary of the service provider and repository you just added are displayed.  Click Finish.

You are now ready to run a cloud backup.  Most likely, you would use the cloud repository to make automatic copies of your weekly and monthly backups depending upon your offsite RPO.  Veeam includes change block tracking, deduplication and compression, so you could run daily cloud backups with minimal bandwidth impact.  I suggest working with a backup architect to design and implement a complete data recovery strategy for your business needs.  For this post, we will run a direct cloud backup twice to show the difference in initial backup to second backup.

From Backup and Replication, click Backup Job, name your job and click Next.  Add the virtual machine(s) you would like backed up and click Next.  Choose your cloud backup repository and click Next.

Choose your guest processing options and click Next.

Choose schedule options and click Create.

Select your newly created cloud backup job and click Start.

You can watch the throughput and the deduplication and compression as the job runs.

I ran the same backup job twice (after creating a few files before the second backup), to see the difference in the data transferred and the time elapsed.

You will see that the first full backup of used 3.47 GB in the cloud repository.  The second incremental backup used much less storage and ran much faster.

I have so many customers interested in cloud backup and so many customers using Veeam that I have always wanted to test this out.  Once I made the time for testing, I was glad to see that using Cloud Connect and Azure together is very straightforward to implement.

I hope you have found this post interesting and helpful.  I look forward to your feedback.