Backups for Azure VMs

You can perform backups automatically based on the configuration for a hypervisor or VM group, or manually for a VM group or a specific VM.

The first backup of a VM is always a full backup. By default, all subsequent backups are incremental, capturing any changes to VM data since the last backup.

You can recover virtual machine data, even when the most recent backup was incremental.

Backups run based on the following options:

  • Initial full backup: When you use Guided setup to set up the Virtualization solution, use the Back up now option to perform a backup for the default VM group.

  • Scheduled incremental backups: The server backup plan that is assigned to a VM group includes a schedule for ongoing incremental backups. Those backups are performed automatically based on the schedule, without requiring any user action.

  • Manual backups: You can perform on-demand backups for a VM group or for a specific VM.

If backups cannot start immediately, the backup jobs are queued.


If a VM fails to back up during an IntelliSnap backup of a VM group, the backup job is marked as completed with errors.

What Gets Backed Up

  • Azure Generation 1 and Azure Generation 2 virtual machines.

  • Disks configured by users through the Azure portal, including disks configured on Standard and Premium storage accounts.

  • For Azure Resource Manager deployments, virtual machines that are configured with Azure unmanaged and managed disks. From these backups, you can restore full virtual machines and restore guest files and folders.

  • You can back up and restore Azure managed disks that are up to 8 TB.

  • Unmanaged and managed disks with Changed Block Tracking (CBT) enabled

    For more information, see Changed Block Tracking for Azure (CBT).

  • Virtual machines (VMs) with encrypted blobs. These VMs can be protected and fully recovered. However, guest file recovery of these VMs is not currently supported.

    Virtual machines that are encrypted by Azure Key Vault. Backups of these VMs can include the operating system information, the data disks information, secrets (for example, token and password information), and encryption keys (for example, algorithm information). The encryption keys can be managed by Microsoft or by customers.

  • For Azure-managed disks, information about the configured Availability Zones, which are specific (physical) locations within an Azure region.

  • Azure-managed disks that are enabled with encryption at the host, on Windows or Linux VMs.


Locked Azure resource groups can prevent the creation and deletion of snapshots during backup. To enable backups and restores for a VM in a locked resource group, select an alternative, unlocked resource group in the VM group settings. For more information, see the following:

What Does Not Get Backed Up

  • Temporary disks that are automatically configured by Azure when a virtual machine is created

  • Files or network drives that are shared in Azure and mounted on a virtual machine

  • Azure Ultra SSD-managed disks

    Due to a Microsoft limitation, snapshots of Ultra SSD-managed disks are not supported. When Ultra SSD-managed disks reside on a virtual machine with other supported disks, during backups, the Ultra SSD-managed disks are skipped. The other disks on the virtual machine are backed up.

    You can back up your Ultra SSD-managed disks using the Windows File System Agent. For more information, see Backups Using the Windows File System Agent.

Known Issues

  • Azure snapshots that were taken with a locked resource group cannot be deleted.