Azure – Automated SQL Databases backup (Preview)

Following the announcement of Azure Backup for SQL Server on Azure VM (see a new backup capability has been added.

As you know, when a new SQL database is being added onto your Azure SQL VM instance you have to rediscover the database and then configure the protection for this new database.

Now, with the new capability – called auto-protection – you can automatically get Azure to do the rediscovery and protection configuration jobs for you.


There are few limitations with the preview:

  • The SQL virtual machine (VM) requires internet connectivity to access Azure public IP addresses
  • Protect up to 2,000 SQL databases in one Recovery Services vault. Additional SQL databases should be stored in a separate Recovery Services vault.
  • Backups of distributed availability groups have limitations.
  • SQL Server Always On Failover Cluster Instances (FCIs) aren’t supported.
  • Use the Azure portal to configure Azure Backup to protect SQL Server databases. Azure PowerShell, the Azure CLI, and the REST APIs aren’t currently supported.
  • Backup/restore operations for mirror databases, database snapshots and databases under FCI are not supported.
  • Database with large number of files cannot be protected. The maximum number of files supported is not a very deterministic number, because it not only depends on the number of files but also depends on the path length of the files. Such cases are less prevalent though. We are building a solution to handle this.

To ensure you are in the supported configuration:

  • Operating System versions
    • Windows Server 2012
    • Windows Server 2012 R2
    • Windows Server 2016
  • SQL Server versions
    • SQL Server 2012 (Enterprise, Standard, Web, Developer or Express)
    • SQL Server 2014 (Enterprise, Standard, Web, Developer or Express)
    • SQL Server 2016 (Enterprise, Standard, Web, Developer or Express)
    • SQL Server 2017 (Enterprise, Standard, Web, Developer or Express)

As you can note, SQL Server 2008/2008R2 versions are not supported (just mentioning because of the offering to migrate such on-premises version to Azure for additional support)

Finally ensure your SQL database naming is matching the requirements for Azure Backup. The following characters are unsupported for Azure Backup (while Microsoft is providing an automatic aliasing)

  • Trailing/Leading spaces
  • Trailing ‘!’

To enable it, go to to your Azure Recovery Vault


Then reach the Backup configuration blade to select SQL Server in Azure VM


And start the discovery (if this is the first time you configure it) and then select the SQL server virtual machine(s)

NOTE this step is required only after you have added a new SQL virtual machine or if this is the first time you are setting up the backup capability


Then discover the databases


You can use the View details to check when the server(s)/database(s) are ready


Finally you can configure the backup options. This where you can enable the auto-protection

NOTE this step applies for both existing or new SQL VM as this where you can turn on the auto-protection


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