Getting started with – Azure Backup


We continue our series of “Getting Started” articles, with most up-to-date information I use with Microsoft Partners and customers when enabling them with Azure infrastructure services. I follows the same structure which is: getting started, training videos if available, then reference architectures, capacity planning and pricing information.

Backup is generally not creating a lot of excitement in IT teams, that’s the very least we can say. The fundamentally difficult parts of it are:

  1. defining data retention and archival policies.
  2. defining the appropriate sizing for the solution.
  3. executing the offsite data copy policy.

I’m not even talking about testing the restore of the backup, because people usually don’t do it Winking smile

Here’s really why Azure can help:

  1. You only have to size for the local backup storage system, archival is done is the cloud.
  2. With all hidden costs of tape systems included like offsite processing, storage on cloud is very likely to be always cheaper than any on-premises storage.
  3. You can easily test restoring data in a separate and isolated environment.
  4. You can easily backup files on servers and client with a small backup agent
  5. You can easily backup your applications running on Hyper-V on Vmware with Azure Backup Server.

Here’s what you need to get started building solutions on Azure:

Overview video

Overview article

Training Videos:

Pricing reference:

Technical References:

Azure Virtual Machine Backup:

Microsoft Azure Backup:

Microsoft Azure Backup Server:

Architecture references:

Azure Backup Limitations –

Security features for protecting hybrid backups using Azure Backup –

Third parties’ backup solutions supporting Azure

Commvault –

Veaam –

Veritas –

Service updates information

When you have deployed the solution and want to go further with Automation, there’s a pretty nice course on Microsoft OpenEDX: 

If you want to get started on Azure the good way, you can register to IT Pro Cloud Essentials, it includes online trainings, MCP vouchers and  monthly free credits to use Azure: 

Feel free to connect with me and provide feedbacks!


Getting started with – Azure Site Recovery

<updated 14th march 2017>


In this series of “Getting Started” articles, I will post the most up-to-date information I use with Microsoft Partners and customers when enabling them with Azure infrastructure services. I follows the same structure which is: getting started, training videos if available, then reference architectures, capacity planning and pricing information.

Disaster Recovery Plans aka DRP is one the most ungrateful work in IT. Because basically you are going to prepare for some situations that will be painful and difficult. However, this is a good exercise to protect against one of the most prevalent laws in IT: “Anything (Everything) will fail at some point, and very likely at the worst time”.

It puts you in a state of mind that most of people don’t like.and you will ask your boss money for something that you hope will never be used.

That’s where the cloud can help, for both virtualized and non virtualized workloads. Here’s how in 4 easy steps:

  1. First step consists of replicating your production workloads as they are running.
  2. Second step is to automating the disaster recovery plan execution.
  3. Run the workloads in Azure.
  4. Replicate your virtual machines back to your datacenter.

Overview video

Overview article

Training Videos

Technical References

Azure Site Recovery support matrix –

Prepare for Azure Site Recovery deployment –

Migrate AWS workloads to Azure –

Architecture references

VMware and Physical Servers to Azure –

Hyper-V to Azure –

VMM to Azure –

Network planning for disaster recovery:

Workload guidance

What workloads can you protect with Azure Site Recovery? –

Active directory and DNS

SQL Server


Dynamics AX



Running automation in ASR – 

Sizing & capacity planning

Capacity planning:

Azure Site Recovery Deployment Planner: 

Pricing reference

Service updates information

When you have put the infrastructure in place and are in the process of fully automating the disaster recovery plan, you need skills on Azure Automation. There’s a pretty nice course on Microsoft OpenEDX: 

Feel free to connect with me and provide feedbacks!


Preparation guide for 70-743 – Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA: Windows Server 2016


If you are MCSA certified on Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008, you might want to upgrade your certification to Windows Server 2016. Fortunately you don’t have to go through the whole curriculum again and can just upgrade to MCSA Windows Server 2016 with one exam.

As an upgrade certification, 70-473 mainly verifies that you know the new features and differences compared to Windows Server 2012, so a very nice starting point is to review all the “What’s new in Windows Server 2016” sections for the different technologies and study their prerequisites, deployments methods and management techniques. The outline of this certification is located here:

Generally speaking the Windows Server 2016 docs center is a wealth of information and you can access it here:

Below is my list of links mapping to the different exam categories. This list is here to help you review before going to the exam, but of course is not sufficient to pass and you will need some hands-on experience to succeed.


Install Windows Servers in host and compute environments

There has been some significant improvements in the toolset you use to manage Windows, including a whole set of commands to manage the new DIY edition of Windows: Nano Server. In this area we check your basic knowledge of DSC to manage configurations of Windows, and let me remind you that you cannot anymore switch from graphical to core editions of Windows and vice/versa. Very importantly we want to make sure you know how to service images online or offline.

General changes related to installation and management are documented here –

Install, upgrade, and migrate servers and workloads

Install and configure Nano Server

Create, manage, and maintain images for deployment


Implement storage solutions

In this section we verify that you know how to configure a resilient storage infrastructure including support for DCB, Multipath IO and SMB 3.0. We verify that you know the scenarios and mechanisms for Storage replica server to server, cluster-to-cluster and in stretch cluster topology.

General changes related to storage are documented here: What’s new in storage in Windows Server 2016 –

Implement Server Storage

Implement Data Deduplication


Implement Hyper-V

Hyper-V has evolved and now allows nested virtualization, secure boot with Linux VM, and PowerShell direct. Production checkpoints allows to do VM “snapshots” that are using VSS providers so that you can use that as a valid “backup”. Shielded VM (preventing the fabric administrator to access the VM data and to run the VM in another fabric.) are also a topic to work before you go to the exam.

All the details are here: What’s new on Hyper-V on Windows Server 2016 –

Install and configure Hyper-V

Configure virtual machine (VM) settings

Configure Hyper-V storage

Configure Hyper-V networking


Implement Windows containers

Containers is a new way to deploy and manage applications in Windows. You can deploy and manage containers using Docker on Windows as on Linux.

Windows Containers Documentation –

Deploy Windows containers

Manage Windows containers


Implement high availability

Just to name a few important features to work on: Cluster Operating System Rolling Upgrade, Storage Replica and cloud witness

What’s new in Failover Clustering in Windows Server 2016 –

Implement high availability and disaster recovery options in Hyper-V

Implement failover clustering

Implement Storage Spaces Direct

Manage failover clustering

Manage VM movement in clustered nodes


Implement Domain Name System (DNS)

The DNS service in Windows Server 2016 implements a couple of new features like policies which allows you to send different results to client request based on criteria like subnets or hour of the day. It allows also to query IPv6 root hints by default and has a request pacer to limit request-intensive clients.

What’s new in DNS in Windows Server 2016 –

Install and configure DNS servers


Implement IP Address Management (IPAM)

Windows IPAM has new scenarios and integrated management possibilities. It will basically allows you to manage more efficiently your DNS and DHCP infrastructure without having the need to logon to the different consoles and granting you a better view on the whole infrastructure, physical or virtualized with VMM.

What’s new in IPAM –

Install and configure IPAM

Manage DNS and DHCP using IPAM


Implement network connectivity and remote access solutions

DirectAcccess had no major evolution in Windows Server 2016, so you can rely on your Windows Server 2012 R2 knowledge. Most of the new features are related to SDN multi-tenant gateway implementation and BGP support.

Implement virtual private network (VPN) and DirectAccess solutions


Implement an advanced network infrastructure

In this section, we evaluate your knowledge of the new SDN architecture of Windows Server 2016. It now has a real SDN controller which is acting as a central point to manage and deploy network definitions and policies via software calls.

Windows Server 2016 Supported Networking Scenarios –

Implement high performance network solutions

Determine scenarios and requirements for implementing software-defined networking (SDN)


Install and configure Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)

AD has new features mainly related to Azure AD integration, better security and Just in Time Admin concepts. For the exam, we will also check that you know how to administer replication topology and FSMO roles operations in PowerShell.

What’s new in Active Directory Domain Services for Windows Server 2016 –

Install and configure domain controllers

Implement identity federation and access solutions

In this section, we exam the new features and mostly evaluate your PowerShell skills as most of the configuration happens here in scripting.

Install and configure Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS)

Implement Web Application Proxy (WAP)


Good luck for the exam! Would be happy to hear if that helped you pass!